Tuck into a desi meal on wheels


Tuck into a desi meal on wheels
Mouthwatering delights

Check out these Indian food trucks in Dubai that are full of nostalgia and have parked themselves firmly in the minds of foodies

By Deepa Narwani

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Published: Thu 25 Jan 2018, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 26 Jan 2018, 1:10 PM

One of the most striking sights in India are the trucks seen all across the country. These are more than just a mode of transportation and boast of a kaleidoscope of colours, slogans, and intricately painted symbols that often reflect the interests of its driver. On the other hand, Indian cuisine is one of the most loved in the world, and you are bound to find an Indian restaurant tucked away even in the remotest of locales. So, it would only make sense to combine the two and offer a slice of a truly Indian experience, and perhaps that's why Indian food trucks have popped up all over the world and are renowned for their flavourful dishes. Food trucks are all the rage in Dubai, with four dedicated food truck parks in the city, as well as a number of food truck events take place at regular intervals all around town. These trucks serve everything from burgers to pasta, and whip up delicious meals at reasonable prices to a generation of hungry and inquisitive foodies. In the spirit of Republic Day, here's a look at Indian food trucks in Dubai that are full of nostalgia and have parked themselves firmly in the minds of food lovers in the city:
Explosion of colour and culture 
Jaldi Jaldi is a homegrown concept that first opened at the Last Exit Al Qudra in early 2017. The second truck opened at Last Exit Al Khawaneej, while the latest addition opened its doors later last year at the Last Exit MAD X. 
Michel Chalfoun, Senior Executive Manager, F&B Operations, Meraas, highlights: "Jaldi Jaldi is an urban Indian street food concept with a playful twist. It fuses together the zesty flavours, the playfulness of the street food blasts of colour that are found across India and which come to life through a delicious selection of parathas."
The truck serves mouth-watering paneer and chicken tikkas as well as lamb kababs with either paratha or naan, dishes you can devour in your car or at the funky dining areas available at the venues. If you are peckish and want a quick bite, stop by for their vegetable samosa or chaat masala fries that are sure to keep you fuelled until the end of your trip.
Chalfoun adds: "Our trucks have a unique identity; they are painted with bright colours, funky murals and embellished with ornaments. They are inspired by a vibrant explosion of colours and culture, and are reminiscent of life on the road."
Co-founders Tesh and Shyair with the team 
Bollywood buzz
Everyone in Dubai loves Indian culture and nothing is as famous as Bollywood. Dubai is the only city in the world to have its own Bollywood theme park and superstar Shah Rukh Khan is the official brand ambassador for the city. Being inspired by all things Bollywood, a themed truck has been launched in the city with favourite Bollywood characters and dialogues finding a place all over the truck. Catering to those who love a dose of drama in both their food and films, Bolly DXB is a sure hit with Bollywood fans. The truck is dotted with famous film dialogues, but with a quirky twist such as "Kabab ko ignore karna mushkil hi nahin, namumkin hai" and "Kaun hai yeh jisne dobara mudke order nahi kiya?"
Shyair Ganglani, Co-founder, Bolly DXB shares: "Like all Indians in Dubai, Bolly DXB is the perfect blend of Indian street and Dubai chic. Our idea was to infuse our homegrown traditions with the flare of Dubai.
"My sister's love for cooking definitely played a role in launching it, but believe it or not it was my Nigerian friend and co-founder, Tesh, who came up with the idea. He loves Bollywood as much as I love experimenting with food."
The truck was launched in November and had a successful first season at the Truckers Carnival at Ibn Battuta Mall. Some of their popular dishes include the cheese burst vada pavs and butter chicken sliders that come in melt-in-your-mouth buns and tender chicken. 
When asked what his favourite dish was, Ganglani says, "That's as difficult as trying to pick your favourite Bollywood movie! For me, it would be a tie between the Bakhra Swag (lamb kabab slider) and the Nutella Lotus samosas. From the sound the food makes to the colour of the buns, every dish here is as much about drama as it is about the taste."
Currently, the truck is catering across town and will soon set up a base in Town Square by NSHAMA. "We definitely want to grow Bolly into a regional brand and want to spread the love for Indian food and cinema across the GCC," he concludes.
Delicious dhaba fare  
Located at the picturesque Kite Beach, Umm Suqeim, Vicki Da Dhaba serves authentically Indian food, evoking memories of dining at a proper roadside dhaba in India. Fun fact - this is probably the only Tata truck in the world that has been turned into a kitchen!
Vicki Khubchand Odhrani, General Manager, shares: "This truck is an antique from 1985 and it took us two and a half months to source it from India.
"We came up with the idea to start a food truck in August last year and launched it in December. Most of the trucks sell pre-made or frozen food and we wanted to serve freshly prepared dishes. In fact, we have put in a tandoor and a tawa. We are unique in the sense that not many food trucks here do live food."
The bestselling dishes include vada pav, keema roll, tawa masala pulao, aloo parathas, and oats koki (a Sindhi speciality). The chefs bring in hot food, which is 70 per cent prepared in their central kitchen, while the rest 30 per cent is readied at the truck. The food is brought neutral from the kitchen and spice levels are customised according to the diner's preferences. There are plans in the pipeline to open the truck in Abu Dhabi and Oman in the near future.
Odhrani, who is born and raised in Dubai, says, "My mother, sister and I are into cooking and I thought why don't I put my mother's recipes into action? I myself am not an Indian chef, as my forte is French food (his French food truck La Vedette Café is right next door). We serve five different achars that are homemade recipes. My mom's chicken kathi roll, which we serve here, is a dish she is very famous for in her community. We also serve the rolls in mutton and paneer options."
The artwork takes inspiration from the trucks of India and features the country's national symbols such as the tiger and lotus. Plus, the seating area features custom-made khats and the tables have board games such as snakes and ladders, ludo and chess. Odhrani highlights that the idea behind this was so that people could relax and have a fun-filled time. They also came up with their own slogans, such as Wallahi Whatte Yummy, Keep Calm and Curry On, and Khaana Ok Please that adorn the walls.
Odhrani says, "The truck is open till 2am or 3am on the weekends, as a lot of people request music and continue the after-party here." 

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