I have been involved in my own private love affair with food trucks for quite some time now. Our relationship is exciting and ever changing. Yes, sometimes food trucks let me down, and of course we have problems just like everyone else. But we always seem to bounce back and I frequently find myself returned to the warm embrace of the ever-welcoming food truck community.
My relationship with these rolling restaurants didn’t begin with Yellow Vendor, but since first having it a while back, the sparsely adorned bright yellow truck has sat on page one of my little black book. I don’t want to name any truck my favorite, since there are so many I love, but if I were forced to, Yellow Vendor would be it. In fact, when attending the weekly food truck extravaganza at Farragut Fridays, I find myself struggling to buy food from any other venue.
Yellow Vendor, for those who don’t know, is a purveyor of some bitchin’ Korean food. The truck is an offshoot of the Yellow Bulgogi Cart, a formerly stationary location at 14th and L. Yellow Vendor is run by Andy Kim, who previously worked the stationary cart with his mother (who now operates the confusingly named 1st Yellow Vendor). Andy is great, and ever since I began visiting his truck during my days at GWU he has recognized me as a frequent customer and welcomes me with his signature big smile and enthusiasm. It is only then that Andy and his magical meat wand (my title for the serving utensil he uses, a mix between a ladle and a giant fork) work their magic.
In bold red letters on the back of his truck, Andy tells you exactly what you can get. Bulgogi beef. Teriyaki chicken. Bibimbab. It is a limited menu, but you do have choices. The standard lunch box contains either one large order of chicken or beef, half an order of each type of meat, or a meat and and order of bibimbab. The protein option is served either spicy or mild, with generous bed of white rice. The bibimbab is comprised of julienned veggies and bean sprouts, and you are given the option of including kimchi and a fried egg. Take it. The box comes standard with two sides and Andy will inevitable ask you which you would like, as he does every customer: kimchi, salad, or both?
My go to meal at the Yellow Vendor is the spicy combo, meaning generous portions of the spicy chicken and spicy bulgogi beef. I also opt out of the salad and double up on the kimchi. The ‘salad’ is perhaps the weakest aspect of the truck’s offerings. A small serving of fresh iceberg lettuce gets splashed with a bit of light oil dressing. I have been told by proponents that the salad provides a fresh alternative to the otherwise heavy and flavor blasted aspects of the lunch box. I personally find it unnecessary, especially when I can ditch it get two scoops of Kimchi.
Kimchi. It is one of those super foods you always hear about. This Korean staple is a national pastime. It is so important that when the Korean cabbage crop suffered in 2010, the government of South Korea reduced import tariffs to prevent protests. There are folks who grew up with kimchi and are extremely particular about flavor and variety. I am no expert, but Yellow Vendor’s kimchi is delicious. It brings the heat and has that perfect pickled flavor going on.
Did I mention that this lunch box can get spicy? When you eat it like I do (with maximized spice and extreme vigor), you may find yourself covered in the meat’s messy red sauce. It is important to note though, that the spice does not mask the flavorful proteins. The beef is tender and so deliciously seasoned that you will be begging for more. The standout however, is actually the chicken, which is something that you may never hear me say again. It comes in perfect bite sized chunks and is insanely tender. A pair of chopsticks filled with one of these savory morsels and some of the spice drenched rice seems to melt in your mouth. I am getting hungry typing this. The deliciousness is crippling.
The pricing for Yellow Vendor is simple. Lunch costs $8. This is pretty run of the mill pricing for food trucks these days, and Andy gives you a whole lot of delicious food so it is well worth the expenditure. He also offers some sodas and the like for a dollar, so you wont get stuck thirsty and overheated. You can often find Yellow vendor near GWU, L’enfant Plaza, Union Station and of course over at Farragut Square almost every Friday.
Check Andy out, tell him we here at Eat The District are huge fans. One small warning, after you have eaten at Yellow Vendor, you may have trouble choosing anything else.