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Behind the scenes: Foodtrucking through Jozi

This article is a peak into the quirky and interesting things I learn behind the scenes…

Food trucks are a fairly new concept on the South African food scene, but over the last three years, the trend has boomed in some of the country’s largest cities.

Cape Town is originally synonymous with the trend and for most foodies who visit the city, or who live there, going in search of delicious eats from a food truck is a must. More recently though, the fad has picked up in Johannesburg and some of the city’s most popular trucks include Culture Kitchen, Balkan Burger, the Bearded Fella, The Filthy Moustache, Knickerbocker Ice Cream Company, and The Brohemian.

The offerings from these food trucks represent a range of options from eggs benedict to pizza, sushi, artisanal coffee, churros and ice cream – oh, and let us not forget that the food that is served up is made in a custom-built kitchen at the back of the truck.

Planning and shooting this feature was such fun, but equally hard work – three days, three individual interviews, many hours of post-production. However, it was incredible to see how creatively people from different cultures express their heritage and inspiration for food, drinks and dessert. Each of my interviewees had a story, and they were interesting to say the least…

Balkan Burger

Lidija and Bojan Ivanovic are siblings who run Balkan Burger. They are Serbian. Lidija is a qualified attorney and Bojan is an IT guru. They both had successful careers in their respective fields but clearly had a greater love for making Balkan burgers – traditional Serbian burgers. Behind the scenes, I get to interact with my interviewees so much more. Delving into each individual’s story is something I love doing as a journalist, and the Ivanovic’s let me in on a few interesting facts about their food and business:

  • They named their business after the Balkan region in Serbia.
  • The burger bun is elongated unlike a conventional round bun. Traditionally it’s called a somun bun and you won’t find it anywhere else in the country as it’s a unique Serbian concept and recipe.
  • They have patented the Balkan burger.
  • Pljeskavica is the traditional name for a Balkan burger.
  • There are only three options on the menu, but for the few Serbs who are in South Africa, the Ivanovic’s will make Cevapcici (small skinless sausages) on request. I’m told these are a very popular snack while drinking copious amounts of alcohol!

Culture Kitchen

The husband and wife duo at Culture Kitchen was delightful. Both are connected to the food industry, but have slightly different backgrounds. Mark Dorward says he always had an interest in food. He is a former restaurateur, however when he sold the business, his dream of owning a food truck materialised – he insists his desire to own a food truck was way before the movie Chef.

Mark married professional chef Vanessa Marx along the way and customised his food truck kitchen around her (romantic much?!). They moved from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg and have seen much success – contracting an entire team of professional chefs – within a year of being in the big city.

Knickerbocker Ice Cream Company

As for the family of ice cream makers, Andrew Hollick has his wife, sons and daughter-in-law behind him. Altogether they truly do make some of the richest, most delectable ice creams – and it was well worth crashing a corporate function to sneak in some interviews. I taste tested way too much, but it was worth every last lick. My favourites included the double chocolate ice cream. It was dark, rich and perfectly creamy. Their strawberry waffle is also an instant winner. It’s a light waffle topped with strawberry ice cream, dollops of fresh cream, a drizzle of strawberry coulis and a sprinkle of chocolate chips! Yummmmy!

Watch the video below to see how it all came together!

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