NYC Food Truck Lunch: Asian Tapas From Shanghai Sogo
Perry, the voice behind New York Street Food, brings you his latest review on New York City food trucks.
We have another new food truck for you this week, and it’s fairly unique. Shanghai Sogo just hit the NYC streets this week, and they serve “Asian tapas.”
As you probably know, tapas are very popular in Spain and Portugal, and consist mainly of smaller dishes, so you get to sample several different things for a meal instead of one large dish. Actually, they aren’t even meant to be a meal, but a few bites to go along with with wine or a drink.
While you may be able to get a couple of the menu items at Shanghai Sogo on other NYC food trucks, most of the menu is not found on any other NYC food truck.
We spoke with the owner Ding, who explained the concept behind Shanghai Sogo. He wanted to serve dishes from several different Asian countries, including China, Japan, Korea and Thailand.
With that in mind, we ordered 3 different dishes, which totaled $12. It was more than enough for lunch.
As a new food truck, Shanghai Sogo has been very free with samples. They put out tastes of a number of different things for people to try, including spring rolls, rocket shrimp, dried plums and hawberry flakes.
After getting our order, the first thing we tried was zong zi. Zong zi is sometimes referred to as a Chinese tamale, since it’s wrapped in a leaf and steamed. It cost $4.
Inside the bamboo leaf was sticky rice, with a few other bits and bobs. We like to get Chinese sausage, but the zong zi served by Shanghai Sogo is vegetarian, so there were peanuts and a couple of other things. It’s still mainly a rice dish.
The zong zi came with a small container of powder that we sprinkled on. The powder tasted like crushed peanuts mixed with a little sugar. It went well on the zong zi, adding some sweetness and nuttiness to the sticky rice dish.
The next item we tried combined two of our favorite things: hard-boiled eggs and 5-spice powder, and it cost $2. To say we enjoyed it was an understatement.
Hard-boiled eggs are yummy all by themselves, but adding spices makes them even better, whether it’s a little salt, deviled eggs, or 5-spice powder. Suffice it to say that 5-spice powder was much better than just adding a little salt.
On the Japanese front, Shanghai Sogo served cold buckwheat noodles for $6. This dish had 3 distinct flavors, and that doesn’t even count the peanut sauce. You couldn’t even see the noodles without digging under shredded seaweed on one side, and spicy, vinegary, pickled cabbage on the other.
Once you got under the toppings, the cold, slippery, square (!) noodles were in a light sesame sauce. By themselves, the noodles could have been bland, but mixed with the pickled cabbage and shredded seaweed, there was no danger of that happening, especially once we emptied the small peanut sauce container.
One nice thing about Shanghai Sogo is you can sample a few things, but if you don’t feel like it, the noodle dishes would be enough for most people for lunch. They only cost $6, but you can get chicken, beef or duck added to the dish for $3-5 more, which guarantees you will not be hungry until dinner.
Shanghai Sogo can be found on Twitter here.