Man Food: The Chinese Sausage-Stuffed Steamed Bun at the Staff Meal Food Truck
Welcome to Man Food, where burger pro Richard Chudy steps away from his usual beat to explore food challenges, street eats, and other gut-busting delights. Ladies are welcome, of course.
With the addition of new food truck vending spaces everywhere from Bay Village to the Seaport District, truck-side eats seem to be here to stay. Now, you can find everything from lobster rolls to cupcakes to fall-apart ribs from mobile eateries. While well-known trucks like the Clover Food Lab, Roxy’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese and Bon Me may be the current darlings of the street food scene, we’d like to throw another contender into the ring: Staff Meal.
Chefs Patrick Gilmartin and Adam Gendreau come from a fine-dining background, having done time everywhere from Bravo at the MFA to Bistro du Midi, but their truck is decidedly bare-bones — Gilmartin and Gendreau, in fact, look more like the bros you’d find tailgating at a football game than those you’d expect to be dishing up gourmet fare. Their globally-influenced menu is equal parts playful and serious: expect a mix of Asian and Latin flavors, mixed with riffs on American classics like hot dogs or steak and cheese sandwiches.
One of my favorites so far is their “Chinese Sausage in Steamed Bun,” a perfect balance of sweet, salty, and sticky — and for $4, a downright bargain. It’s sophisticated “man food,” perhaps, but we say that the concept of meat on a bun is universal. The version here is as good as any that you’d find in Chinatown, with the cured sausage filling off-set by an assertive dose of fermented black bean aioli. The steamed bun plays as much of a starring role as the flavor-packed filling; soft and airy, it’s the ideal foundation for the street food snack.
Gambling on gourmet food served in a space smaller than a dorm room isn’t for everyone. There are no tables here, and there isn’t anyone around to refill your water glass. Consistency, I think, is going to be the biggest obstacle for the first onslaught of Boston food trucks. Luckily, Staff Meal is well on their way. (Visit staffmealboston.com for full menu, locations, dates, and times.)
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