The Columbus Food Truck Festival, which started at noon today at the Columbus Commons and will continue through 6 p.m. Sunday, exists for one reason and one reason only: to allow people like me to discover, once again, how many great food trucks are patrolling the world out there. Today, the happy discovery was of Umami Bites.
The Origamist, the Brussels Sprouts Addict, and I walked down to the Commons on an absolutely perfect day. We arrived at about 12:15, and the Festival was already packed, with long lines in front of many of the food trucks. We strolled around, looking for something new that we hadn’t tried before, and found Umami Bites at the end of one of the food truck rows. (To make this post as educational as possible, I should note that the Umami Bites truck explained that “umami” is one of the five basic tastes, along with sweet, sour, salty, and bitter, and means “pleasantly savory.” The Origamist and I were drawn by the pork belly wonton tacos; the BSA, predictable and misguided soul that he is, locked on to the flash-fried Brussels Sprouts.
Umami Bites is well named, because the pork belly wonton tacos were fantastic. In fact, they were so good that you wonder why someone didn’t invent them, say, during the Middle Ages. It’s one of those dishes that somehow combines the best of different cultures and cuisines, with the hearty pork belly liberally doused in a sweet chili sauce, some freshly chopped pickled red onion adding some tang, and the taco shell made of the whatever the heck wontons are made of, which gave the tacos a delicious and very satisfying crunch. Just thinking about them makes me wish I had another serving right now. I mean, right now!
I have to admit that the BSA’s offering looked pretty good too, with a neat presentation that featured chopsticks and a quasi-Chinese carry-out container. It was hard to tell, however, because the BSA consumed the dish so quickly that the chopsticks rubbing together risked becoming a fire hazard. And it was fun sitting out on the Commons grounds with my friends, enjoying the sunshine and the passing crowds and then graciously yielding our seats to other diners in a show of basic Midwestern friendliness.
This is the fifth year of the Columbus Food Truck Festival, and it gets better every year. Bigger, too, I think — there’s actually another part of it, across Third Street, with an entire parking lot filled with more fantastic food truck fare. If you’re in Columbus this weekend and have a hankering for some adventurous grub, do yourself a favor and stop by.