Street Food Profiles: Don Chow Tacos in Los Angeles, California

"Everyone likes Mexican food and everyone likes Chinese food, so why not combine forces?"

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[Flickr: R. E. ~]

Name: Don Chow Tacos
Vendors: Dominic Lau and Lawrence Lie.
What do you sell? Chinese-Mexican fusion
Twitter: @donchowtacos
Location and hours: For now, Thursday through Saturday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., but we are looking to expand.

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Tacos. [Flickr: R. E. ~]

How long have you been street fooding? About eight months.

How has Twitter affected business? Twitter is definitely a great communication tool that's changed the way people communicate—but the food is still the most important part. It's safe to say that Twitter has helped us attract a tech-savvy audience who can know exactly when and where we are at a moment's notice.

Why a mobile business over brick-and-mortar? People now are always on the move—going somewhere, meeting someone, doing something. To cater to that lifestyle, we needed to have a food establishment that's also mobile, flexible, and convenient.

Who are your typical customers? They range from teenagers who found us on Facebook to young professionals who follow us on Twitter to grandparents who discovered us on their daily walks. There's no one type of customer.

Describe an average day from start to finish. It consists of updating our Twitter page with whereabouts information, setting up and preparing the kitchen, stocking the kitchen with the day's supplies, stocking the beverage display, then hitting the road for our next stop.

What were you doing before this? Dom still works full-time job in the IT industry and Lawrence helps run a family business in the food industry. This all really started as an experiment to see how people would react to the food. Since we've been well-received, we still do it for fun.

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Chow Fun. [Flickr: R. E. ~]

What's the Mexi-Asian fusion all about? Everyone likes Mexican food and everyone likes Chinese food, so why not combine forces? Take our Chinese barbecue pork tacos for example: soft corn tortillas topped with our Chinese barbecue pork, onion, cilantro, and traditional salsa. So when you see it, you recognize it as a "traditional" taco. When you eat it, you taste the familiar taco ingredients, then you're hit with the Chinese barbecue pork that you recognize, but never had inside a taco.

Thoughts on Kogi? Kogi deserves a lot of credit for the mobile food truck "revolution." While they weren't the first food truck to roam the streets of Los Angeles they've definitely given mobile food trucks a new level of visibility and acceptance. We certainly thank them for their efforts in bringing mobile food trucks into the spotlight.

Isn't your concept pretty similar? Our menus are different. For example, we have a chimale (Chinese tamale), carne asada chow fun, Kung Pao chicken taco, and carne molida potstickers.

How would you define "street food"? It uses simple and basic ingredients cooked in a way that's affordable, comforting, no-fuss, and of course, delicious.

The best street food city and why. Beijing or Hong Kong (where they can transform anything into a gastronomical masterpiece!). Stinky tofu should only be made outdoors and scorpions, to my knowledge, can only be found in China.

Your comfort food after a long day? Dom: Too many to list, but it can range from a plate of Chinese roast pork on rice to mac and cheese. Lawrence: Hong Kong-style roast pork, barbecue pork, and roast duck served over a bed of rice with extra sauce smothered on top.

Previously

Nom Nom Truck in Los Angeles, California
Only Burger in Durham, North Carolina
Wy'east Pizza, Portland, Oregon

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