TJ and Chucky

A couple of weeks ago, I got a message from three guys, Nhon, Chucky, and TJ; apparently they had basically read my mind. We, on the east coast, are sick of waiting for the Kogi BBQ Truck to come here! The three friends took matters into their own hands and decided to launch their own Korean BBQ Truck in Jersey City as “The Krave”. I complained a whole lot about them not being in Manhattan, whined and sulked, but gathered up my strength last night and took the Path train to the Pavonia/Newport station.  Lon and Janny picked me up since they were coming up from Folica’s Dayton, NJ office. The exact truck parking location hadn’t been announced yet on their site, however, in two serendipitous moments: first, Lon spotted their truck coming off Route 9 as he headed down 78.  Humorously, Lon noted to Janny, “Wouldn’t that be funny if it was The Krave truck?  IT IS!!!!”  Then, after I was picked up, while we waited for The Krave’s site to update we spotted them again, but this time, we followed that bright green truck in hot pursuit.

The Krave Truck 1Following The Krave 3
Following The Krave 2
Following The Krave 5
Following The Krave 4
Following The Krave 6

As we drove, we realized Jersey City had several food trucks within just three blocks. We noticed Lucinda, Banana Leaf, and Taste of India…. score! We’d get four tastes for the price (well, travel time) of one.

Lucinda Truck 2Banana Leaf Truck
Taste of India

Since The Krave needed time to set up, we actually tried Lucinda first, where our biggest complaint is the 25 minute wait. Isn’t the first rule of truck service, be fast? It’s not like there were many people on line either.


Lucinda’s Famous Fish Tacos didn’t seem to deserve any fame. It was drenched in sauce and the corn tortilla was a bit dry. For $3.50, it was skimpy looking.

fish taco

The two meat tacos were filled more. The Fire-Grilled Skirt Steak was tasty, but pricey at $3.50 and the Chipotle chicken was forgettable and also over-priced at $2.75

steak and chipotle chicken tacos

While Janny and I were waiting forever for those tacos (did I mention: 25 MINUTES), Lon went half a block down to Taste of India and spoke with the Indo-Chinese vendor, who every patron knew by name.  He told Lon all about how he was the first truck in the area, and how he had pioneered and battled for the rights to park there. He was telling the story to all that would listen, seeming a bit bitter about the new-comers.

In fact, it seems the street vendors are still under harassment in the area.  While we waited for The Krave, two security officers (non-police) came up and forced them to move; causing them to loose several customers, including Janny).  With a quick bit of research there are several online petitions being worked on to help the Jersey Food Trucks avoid harassment, such as this one and this one.

Taste of India

Back to Taste of India.  For $5, Lon got a Chicken Tikka Kati (Kathi) Roll with nicely spiced, moist chunks of chicken. The wrap dough was fresh with a nice pull to it. The meaty filling was a reasonable quantity for the price, but it was notably under-seasoned.

Chicken Tikka Kati Roll

Next we wandered diagonally across the street to, Banana Leaf, where there was quite a large group of Indians, waiting for food.  Lon noted how at each cuisine there seemed to be a density of the related culture: Mexicans ordering at Lucinda, Indians at Banana Leaf and Taste of India, and Koreans at The Krave.  Well, at this Indian stand, despite three guys working in there, it seemed rather slow.

Banana Leaf vedor

The Pepper Chicken Kati Roll ($5) was a disappointment. It was nice that they used roti instead of tortilla to wrap the food, but there’s not much you can do to save dry chicken meat.

Pepper Chicken Kati

The Chickpea Kati Roll ($4.50) was a lot better.  It was saucy, spicy, and bold, and again wrapped in the nice roti.

chickpeas Kati Roll

We finally headed back to The Krave truck, just in time. (As mentioned, others were less fortunate and didn’t get food before security chased them away.) We got one of each taco: kalbi, pork, and chicken. They all tasted as expected, sweet Korean BBQ meat chopped up and placed in a nice soft flour tortilla. (Good move guys. I like flour tortillas more than corn tortillas.) The onions and cilantro are nice as well with crisp flavors. They were simple, served with a perfect squeeze of lime, and good, and importantly, reasonable at $2.50 each.

Kalbi Tacopork taco
chicken taco

The Kimchee Quesadilla can be made with any meat. I chose Kalbi. It’s a strangely good combination of flavors and I think I could get pretty addicted. The serving size is big and decently priced at $6.

Kimchee Quesadilla with Kalbi

The Krave Truck is pretty good and we’re glad we tried it, but it’s not special enough to go back for, considering the travel. However, on their third night on the road, they were beating the local competitors. Only time will tell if the food is good enough to get a cult following. I’m curious to see how it stacks up against The Kogi Truck, and we’ll soon know cause we’ll be in LA in September!

Overall, it was a fun night of truck hopping, which might be a cool casual date idea. It only takes about 15 minutes to get there from 14th street and 6th avenue, and I have to admit that it wasn’t that bad to leave the city.

posted by jessica at 08:23 AM Filed under Restaurants, Take-out/Delivery. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.