UPDATE 12/27/2012 Three Little Pigs Burglarized! Chef Tatum got cleaned out on Christmas night. Brigands battered the door to the food truck down and stole all his meat and his cash register. There’s an especially hot circle in Hell for people who behave this way. We know where we’re having supper tonight. Grab some chow from 3 Little Pigs and help a veteran chef rebuild his business y’all.
Forty years in the restaurant kitchens of Austin, Texas is a long time. Raymond Tatum’s been on the range since 1972.
After all, it takes a few decades to be able to coalesce all the skills the chef displays at his nose to tail pork truck: Three Little Pigs, which (famously) sits just behind East End Wines in burgeoning East Austin. Tatum has basically invented his own genre: International Soul Food-mining the flavors of Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Alabama, Texas and Mexico.
I took a globe-trotting friend of mine there last week to get her take on the food trailer. A high-roller in the tech industry who travels for work and eats her way through 40-50 cities across Asia, Europe and the Americas annually-she was staggered by the food.
We drank a few bottles of wine and just let the courses come at the chef’s leisure. Pork soup, followed by pork belly, handmade sausage, pork fried rice and finally a slab of coconut pie that tasted like it came out of the oven of the best pastry chef in Texas.
“I can’t believe he’s stayed in Austin” was the quote of the night.
Our city is filled with food trucks. The last count I read indicated that there are 1261 licensed mobile operations in Travis County. I’ve eaten at dozens of them with results ranging from sublime (La Canaria) to pathetic (too many to mention) with most falling squarely in between.
Inventiveness, consistency, value and flavor were the metrics we used to determine what we feel is the food trailer of the year. Raymond Tatum’s Three Little Pigs.
Disclosure: As many readers of this site are aware, this trailer is one of the locations of our Scrumptious Chef Pop Up Restaurant series.
Full Austin food truck coverage: