By Justin Cox - 05/12/10 11:01 PM EDT
Most people hear the term “food truck” and think of rubbery hot dogs, stale buns and runny condiments. But the Sauca food trucks, or “Saucamobiles,” might be changing that perception for Washingtonians seeking a quick and affordable bite.
The two trucks, known for now as “Saucamobile1” and “Saucamobile2,” bring internationally inspired cuisine to various hustle-and-bustle locations around the city.
Everything rings up between $4 and $7.50.
On a recent weekday, the bamboo-colored Saucamobile1 perched at the corner of 14th and K streets NW during its lunch hours (11 a.m.-2 p.m.), attracting a steady flow of customers.
Despite a line of almost a dozen people at times, no one waited more than 10 minutes to order.
Several enjoyed the Mumbai Butter Chicken sandwich — cardamon- and curry-seasoned chunks of sauteed, tender white meat topped with basmati rice and toasted cashews. Another popular ticket was the Mexicali Fish Taco — cilantro-marinated grilled tilapia seasoned in homemade chili sauce and layered with crisp cabbage and mango pico de gallo.
Adding to the eclectic feel, the truck broadcast Putumayo World Music and patrons dressed their sandwiches — wrapped in foil and served on cardboard cover-trays — with one or more of the 20-plus imaginative sauces offered at a self-serve counter outside the truck. Such concoctions included Passion Fruit Mayo, Indian Mint Chili and Charred Tomato Salsa.
To wash it all down, guests took in a variety of drink options for $2.50 or less, such as sodas, waters, coffee, organic tea and Sauca’s Signature Limunad, a citrus blend made distinct by its light pulp and cool, minty aftertaste.
Aside from serving novel lunches, the food trucks have succeeded in getting people out of their offices. On this warm and sunny day, diners squatted on curbs or took to the grass and benches of nearby Franklin Square Park. Others took advantage of the convenience and went quickly on their way.
The mobile eateries are easy to find. Customers can follow them via their Twitter feed, “wheresauca,” or through the Sauca website, www.eatsauca.com. The Saucamobiles have recently made stops on Capitol Hill and at surrounding locations, such as Barracks Row, Gallery Place-Chinatown, Federal Center SW, L’Enfant Plaza, McPherson Square and Farragut Square.