Review: Flyin’ Hawaiian food truck

After many missed opportunities, I was finally able to catch up with Lethbridge’s first food truck — the Flyin’ Hawaiian. I had been lamenting for the last few months on social media about how they would be nearby, but I just couldn’t slip away due to one commitment or another. Because of the mobile nature of food trucks, you just have to be in the right place at the right time. But with all the rave reviews I heard from other people, I just had to track them down to see what the fuss was all about.

When approaching the food truck, you can clearly see that it is a family endeavour. They all work together seamlessly to keep the truck run smoothly, and it’s all done in a polite and friendly manner. Work is done like a finely tuned machine. You approach the order taker, who writes your order on a pad of paper, then relays the order to the rest of the crew. Even though I was about the eighth person in line, I got to the front in no time at all! After my order was taken and cash was exchanged, I only had to wait a minute or two before I had a piña colada, pulled pork sandwich, and a container of Hawaiian doughnuts in my hands.

Now, I am not the biggest connoisseur of piña coladas, alcoholic or not, so I didn’t have any preconceptions before my first sip. Thankfully the drink wasn’t overly sweet because the sweetness from the pineapple juice was all it needed with a nice hint of coconut. I also enjoyed this drink because they included a little paper umbrella. More drinks need little paper umbrellas, I say.

After a few more pleasant sips, I dug into my pulled pork sandwich. The main thing I noticed was that the sandwich was very clean in that the sauces for the pork and the coleslaw were not heavy and dripping over the sides of the bun. I appreciated this because I was eating while sitting on the grass, and I only took a few napkins with me. The flavours of the pork and the coleslaw didn’t stand out on their own, but rather melded together to make one nice, simple flavour.

Finally, for dessert, I opened the container that held my Hawaiian doughnuts… and stared at them in horror.

They are SO BIG! I had never had a Hawaiian doughnut before, and had only seen photos of them online, so I was expecting something the size of a Timbit. Nope! These things are about three times the size of a Timbit, and are generously doused in powdered sugar. I use the word “horror” because I had made the mistake of ordering 12 of these monsters for just me and my husband. There was NO way we could finish them all in one sitting!

They use a yeast dough for the doughnuts that I thought made them taste a lot like a dense pancake, and they are served with a coconut sauce. I didn’t taste any extra sweetness from the coconut sauce, which is good because the powdered sugar was sweet enough. Just don’t be surprised if you end up looking like Al Pacino from Scarface afterward.

Find out where the Flyin’ Hawaiian will land next! Follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Have you been able to track down the Flyin’ Hawaiian food truck? What did you think?

More food trucks have hit the streets of Lethbridge recently. What type of food truck would you like to see?

“Say hello to my little friend!” (Hahaha! Sorry, I just had to do that.)

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My Canadian food booth

Did you make it out to the Heritage Day festivities on Monday?

My husband and I were in line a little after 10 a.m. and shared the front of the line with my friends, Kim and Mary, and their children, so we were able to chat to pass the time. A little before 11 a.m., the line-up had stretched out to the middle of the south parking lot of Exhibition Park, so we were all glad we were in line as early as we were.

This year, we indulged in cabbage rolls and pirogi (a must since I’m half Polish), butter chicken and jasmine rice, my husband enjoyed a sausage roll while I savoured a croquette (which I haven’t had since we were in Europe last year) from the Dutch Canadian Club booth. After all that, we took another walk around the pavilion to see if there was anything else that called out to us, but our stomachs were full enough and we thought it was time for the great escape.

While surveying the remaining food booths during our last lap, I started to think about our heritage as Canadians and the foods unique to our country that I enjoy. I know we have Canada Day to celebrate our culture, but what if we added one more food booth on Heritage Day that celebrates our unique Canadian cuisine?

The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. We are a melting pot nation, one that enjoys a varied and wonderful selection of ethnic cuisine, so why shouldn’t we have our own iconic foods available at Heritage Day? I suppose it might be a bit tongue and cheek to put up a Canadian booth, but I think we can all appreciate how delicious an idea this is.

So what foods would be included as part of a Canadian food booth?

Poutine is a must! That’s pretty much a given. French fries sprinkled with cheese curd and smothered with gravy. Throw out the diet for the day! It won’t kill you! It is a popular icon of Canadian heritage that is known all around the world. A Montreal smoked meat sandwich would go very well served up right beside it!

For sweets, I would serve Nanaimo bars (made with maple-flavoured icing, of course) and Saskatoon berry tarts, since I know local cartoonist, Eric Dyck, enjoys these quaint little berries that are native to our area. And to wash it all down? A nice, cold can of Canada Dry ginger ale.

I wonder if maybe next year some enterprising individuals will venture into the delicious, then we can all have an authentic Canadian poutine!

What would your Canadian food booth serve?

Five tips on navigating the Heritage Day food booths

One of the things I look forward to the most about Heritage Day (aside from having the day off from work) is attending the festivities in the South Pavilion at Exhibition Park and sampling the different ethnic foods available from the vendors. It’s great how you can sample various delicacies from all over the world in just one place!

But obtaining your delicious bounty can be quite tricky for the first-time attendee when trying to navigate the crowds and various food lines. Luckily, I have some tips you can use to score the best food the vendors have to offer, and I’m going to let you in on a few of them so you can get the most out of your food fair experience.

1. Know What Food is Available — The Southern Alberta Ethnic Association’s website (www.saeamulticultural.org) has posted a list of the groups who will be selling food at this year’s festivities. View this list ahead of time and decide which booths you are interested in purchasing from, and which ones to skip.

2. Bring Cash — Even though many of us are use to paying by debit or credit card, most (if not all) of the food vendors you visit will only take cash. So make sure you stop by a bank or ATM and obtain smaller bills, not just twenties. Other people might also bring twenties, and this forces vendors to run out of change quickly.

3. Arrive Early — The doors to the pavilion will open at 11 a.m, but you will need to be there by at least 10 a.m. to get a spot as close to the front of the line as possible. If you can, go as a group and divide into two teams, each team with a cell phone. Have one team stand in line and one sit in your vehicle. Rotate in shifts to ensure everyone gets a chance to sit during the hour-long wait.

4. Plan your Attack — If you’ve been to the ethnic food fair before, you will know that the Polish table sells out of cabbage rolls and pirogi quite quickly, so you want to hit it first. If you go with your family, it is best to split up and have someone go to the Polish booth and have someone else go to the Blackfoot booth to pick up an Indian Taco or two.

5. Speed Walk, if Possible — Depending on where you were able to get a place in line outside, once you get through the doors and pay your admission, you will want to walk (or run, depending on how much attention you want to draw to yourself) as fast as you can to the first booth on your list.

Hopefully these tips will help you navigate the food booths a bit easier this year, and the first-timers will be able to enjoy the experience a bit better than just going in blind.

With that, I bid you all good luck in your pursuit of delectable delicacies. Happy Heritage Day!

Which ethnic foods do you look forward to sampling on Heritage Day?