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Momo Goose Truck: Affordable pan-Asian fare


Entrée with white rice and salad: $5

Optional rice: $1 extra

Soup: $3

Bowls, sandwiches, and sides are also available.

PROS: Affordability, decent value for quantity

CONS: "Buffet" quality, food not very warm or spicy

TOSS-UP: Non-traditional ingredients

Buying from a truck vendor means the food is most likely not cooked to order as it would be in a storefront operation; there is simply not enough room in the truck for a functional restaurant kitchen. This benefits the business insofar as its overhead is much lower than a fully-staffed storefront; and it benefits the customer when these savings are passed on.

The downside is that, at least for warm dishes, the quality suffers; instead of something "hot from the oven" you get something akin to an all-you-can-eat buffet. Not that there's anything necessarily wrong with a buffet so long as you are not expecting cooked-to-order quality from something in a warming tray.

I think I had reasonable expectations when I decided to try the Momo Goose truck.

At my first visit I ordered: Orange-flavor chicken over white rice ($5) and a "cup" of wonton soup ($3):

The chicken was disappointing in that it was limp, heavily breaded, and borderline soggy. "Orange-flavor" dishes are a staple at Chinese and pan-Asian restaurants, and the meat is typically lightly-breaded then seared in a wok, leading to a crispy texture even when served in sauce. This dish was more like microwaved chicken fingers, and we all know what happens in a microwave oven to things that should be fried. Also the sauce was lacking in detectable orange flavor. Oddly, this was served with sliced and quartered carrots; perhaps it should be called: "Chicken with Orange Color". (BTW I'm okay with carrots.)

The white rice was sufficiently sticky to facilitate use of chopsticks. The side salad was simple (iceberg lettuce, onion) and notably contained a couple of cold (presumably parboiled) broccoli florets. Even at my second visit I forgot to check if dressing was available, and I can confirm that it is not standard. I consider this a plus since even supposedly "lite" dressings can be loaded with fat and sodium; I prefer choosing my own over "mystery dressing".

The wonton soup I will order again; it too had a little broccoli as well as chopped scallions and greens. The wontons were crimped (I.E.: small ravioli style rather than big-folded-noodle style) and were supplemented with spaghetti-like noodles. The "cup" seemed more than a cup in capacity, at least as much as a can of soup. (Next time I will squirt some mustard in there because I like things a bit spicy.) Regrettably the soup and entrée were lukewarm.

Regardless of my disappointment I ate every bite of this meal and my hunger was satisfied; although clearly it was the addition of the soup that tipped the balance. If I were watching my intake and/or my wallet, the entrée would have been okay.

Second visit: Koran BBQ chicken ($5) over brown rice ($1) and a cup of Viet Pho! Soup ($3)… there was no additional charge for the exclamation point.

The skinless chicken bits had taste and texture, were far better than the "fingers" noted above, and were nicely complemented by the sauce. Instead of carrots this included sliced and quartered zucchini; and even though I'm not particularly fond of squash, I barely noticed. This was not nearly as spicy as my prior experiences with Korean BBQ but it was indeed satisfying.

For me it was worth the buck for the brown rice. White rice is typically "refined", having a polished appeared that is almost entirely starch. Brown rice has a bit more texture, as well as more fiber (and magnesium). According to a recent study by Harvard School of Public Health researchers, a diet high in white rice correlates with higher risk for type-2 diabetes. Fortunately for me I just like brown rice better.

The Viet Pho! soup was enjoyable albeit it was the first time I had tried it anywhere. With shredded chicken, fettuccine-style noodles, cracked black peppercorns, and a sprig of fresh mint, it was a nice surprise. It too could have been warmer and might be well served by a squirt of mustard.

This second visit was more enjoyable than the first and I will give them another try.

Although supposedly pan-Asian, I either know or suspect that the fare is far more "American fast food" than "traditional"; sort of like going to a Chinese restaurant where they put a basket of bread on the table. (Sadly, exotic paper-parasol cocktails are not on the menu.) Still there is some value to be found here, even if it's just a cup of soup as one is walking by.

MADG :coolshades:


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