Every other Friday this summer, KB, AM and I would go enjoy the nice weather and stop by a food truck for lunch. When it was my turn to pick, I suggested Vij’s Railway Express.
If you are slightly into food, you would know Vikram Vij. Regrettably, I have never been to Vij’s Restaurant or even Rangoli; so when I heard that Vij’s mobile truck is just around the corner of my office, it immediately got on my “hit list”.
Having heard that line-ups could be long, we got there just after 11:30am and there’s already a line formed. The line never got any shorter from that point on. There was constantly 15 or so people waiting in line. We waited 10 minutes to place our order, and another 10 minutes for food. I really hoped that the food was worth the 20-minute wait.
The food of Vij’s Railway Express is inspired by the railway journey in India. The menu changes on a regular basis, featuring items that represent different regions of India.
I ordered the Lucknow Lamb Kebabs, which has spicy ground lamb kebabs wrapped in a chapati, a thin Indian flatbread.
This was really good! The ground meat was very juicy, with a nice kick to it thanks to the spices in the mix. The kebab has a nice char on the outside which helped lock in the moisture as well. The chapati was grilled so it’s slightly crispy. I like that the meal came with a few slices of cucumber to cool down your palate as you take bites of the lamb kebab. The good thing is that they didn’t cheap out on the size of the kebab; it filled the chapati from one end to the other. I could have more of these!
For beverage, I chose Iced Chai, partly due to its presentation. It’s served in a plastic bag with a straw. Now, my co-workers were giving me a hard time when I brought it back to the office. But come on, if I was willing to drink iced coffee out of a glass flask, you knew I would drink something out of a plastic bag!
It’s designed in such a way that you can hold it with the little plastic string attached to it. Like a purse, as Vikram described it as he talked to us while we were waiting for our food. I’m not a huge chai person, but I found the flavour to be on the mild side. Perhaps it’s because it’s iced. While I don’t mind it being a light, refreshing drink, I would probably still want this to have a stronger cardamom flavour.
Overall I thought my meal was pretty good. I truly enjoyed the flavours in the lamb kebabs, but for $10.50 they were a bit too small on the portion size. It was barely enough for me, so I can’t imagine a guy can last very long having this for lunch.
And that’s why KB and AM ordered the Halibut in Coconut Masala Curry. It comes with rice and naan. While they weren’t stuffed afterwards, at least they felt like there was enough food to last them through the afternoon. According to KB and AM, it has a nice heat to it and they both really enjoyed the dish. Probably one of the best food truck meals, if not the best, they’ve had thus far.
While we were waiting for our food, we were also given samples to try. The Ginger Citrus Drink was very refreshing. I couldn’t taste much of the ginger, but it’s a nice summery drink.
The Cassava Fries were seasoned with seasoning salt, pepper and lime; while it’s a bit too salty for my liking, I thought they were pretty good. It has a nice crunch and bite to it. The actual order comes with a tamarind and date chutney. I wonder how well they go together.
For a food truck, I thought it’s very well-staffed. There were 4 people working inside the food truck, including a food expediter and one that goes in and out serving drinks. There is one more person standing outside of the truck, specifically to deliver the food to the anxious crowd. It’s a nice system given that there is always a line up and it helps get the food out quicker and more efficiently. I also like that they stick with the tradition, and hand out samples to the people waiting in line. It helps engaging them and potentially drives more business.
Vikram Vij himself was working there as well! Apparently he would be working at the truck until the overall service is smooth like a well-oiled machine. In the sun, he was out shaking everyone’s hand, chatting with them. He would even go over to where people sit, thanking them for their business, and then collect the food containers from them. It’s a very touch, since most people are there because of him, and his reputation for delivering exceptional food. Of course, I didn’t pass up on the opportunity to grab a picture with him! =)
This menu no doubt is on the pricey side, but when you combine the food and experience, it was definitely worth the 20-minute wait and the $15 that I spent. It lives up to my expectations, and I’m now ready to go line up at Vij’s!
Vij’s Railway Express
On West Georgia, between Burrard and Thurlow, Vancouver