1540 N. Martin Luther King • Lake Charles
Let’s face it, COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere. We are going to be dealing with this for a long time. Everybody is familiar with the fact that in late March, statewide closure was mandated. Every restaurant had to change just about every way they went about business. Some temporarily closed; some added drive-through capability; some made take-out and curbside delivery the only option. Those which stayed open found ways to get their food to people.
However, one aspect of food service didn’t have to change much at all … the food truck. Everything the brick and mortars were changing the trucks already had. Gloves, check. Face mask, no problem. 50 percent capacity, easy. Social distancing — business as usual: take your order and leave. Most trucks don’t set up tables for you to linger at, and those that did just stopped bringing them.
Here we are, in Phase 2, and we’re in a quagmire. Why? Because the positive cases are rising. Restaurants are voluntarily closing their doors once again for safety. It appears some industry employees counteract the protective recommendations for the workplace by hitting up social venues that aren’t practicing the guidelines. These people have tested positive. Basically, they’ve sabotaged their place of employment and the people they work with.
This round of foodie pleasure comes from the Mi So Hungry truck and dinette located on 171 just north of I-10. Dinette? Yes! As far as I know, it’s the only food truck in the area which regularly anchors its location alongside a building, and has an indoor seating area. It’s super cute, quaint and seats 10 people, tops.
It’s a great little nook where you can take your food to a nice air conditioned spot.
When my wife is not able to join me, it’s almost impossible for me to order many things and give a fair assessment. So, sometimes it takes a couple of visits to be able to compile a review.
My first encounter involved picking up a staple dish — one which most Thai cuisine can be judged by … Pad Thai with shrimp. I arrived just before the lunch hour rush, and I’m glad I did. Every minute that passed, the line was getting a bit longer.
Each dish is made to order, and it is certainly not fast food being pumped out on an assembly line and slung out some side window. I waited patiently for my name to be called.
Once I grabbed my little bag of food, I was certainly impressed by the weight that I was walking away with, and eager to dive in. The dish was visually enticing. I ordered the Pad Thai extra spicy and the amount of pepper was reflective of this request.
So, let’s get to the actual flavor of the food. This was arguably the freshest flavor I’ve had, especially since we’ve been accustomed to boxed to-go food. When I say fresh, I mean the sweet and crisp green beans and cabbage. The plump shrimp and onions had a vibrant, exuberant flavor that was not masked by salt, MSG or anything that would hide anything about this dish. With the proportionate amount of sauce, it was fresh on fresh. The extra spice I requested wasn’t so overpowering that it was all about heat, but it enhanced the rest of the flavors.
During my subsequent return, I had my mind set on something I’d seen earlier online: steak on fries. It’s exactly what it sounds like — pan-grilled steak over french fries and a beautiful chimichurri sauce.
However, as I was standing in line waiting to place my order, I watched through the screened windows as a worker ladled a special concoction from a simmering pan. It looked delicious. I asked her what she was serving. Her reply, muffled by the noise of passing cars and trucks, sounded like “green curry chicken.” And I knew I had to sample this. And, what the heck, throw in an order of rice paper rolls.
The rice paper rolls were literally made before my eyes. The rice paper was separated and softened by hydration. It was then rolled with fresh cucumber, rice noodles and julienned carrots, boiled shrimp and onion. The flavor was very subtle. But once I dipped these into the creamy peanut sauce, the overall flavor was transformed. The sauce’s peanut butter coupled with jalapeños created a heat and sweet contradiction that made sense.
Then, there was the green curry chicken — thinly sliced chicken breast simmered in green curry sauce with eggplant, Thai basil, kaffir lime leaves and snow peas with coconut milk. I love spice and heat. However, I’ve moved away from that whole “the hotter the better” challenge that plagued us for years. For me, it’s about heat and spice that allows the true flavor to come through. This dish delivered. Each bite of this curry added a step of intensity, but never lost the overall flavor spectrum.
I’m thoroughly impressed. From the smiles and happy-go-lucky people who create these meals to the food itself, Mi So Hungry is definitely worth the visit.