One of the great advantages of food trucks is that owners are on the truck daily. This brings a tight bond between the owner and their hungry patrons. Since many of us only get that small time between ordering and grabbing our food, I wanted to help bring us together. That’s when I got the idea, Behind The Wheel. Gets me back to telling the story and further enjoying – being around food trucks. This week I highlight Bam Pow Chow.
As I stood outside Bam Pow Chow jotting notes down with Chef Sean and his wife Lauire (pronounced Lori/Lorie, but uniquely spelled), I am quickly reminded why I started “Behind The Wheel.” I recall back when I first came to the Lonerider Brewing to be one of the first to try Bam Pow Chow. There they were, the whole family preparing for tonight’s evening gig. That recollection came back, as my pen scribbled illegible notes that not even I can reread, because I recall both times the family supported each other.
Within minutes, Sean is already cool in my book. A Florida transplant, quoting movies that re-run on basic television, and someone who is mad creative in the kitchen. Sean comes to the Triangle with 12 years of fine dining experience from the creative Sarasota area. His cooking style is taking those fine dining experiences and deconstructing them into his unique edible vessels, wonton tacos.
My first question before I dive deep was Why the
wonton spring roll wrapper for a taco shell?
Update: I called it a wonton taco, but Chef Sean called it a spring roll. When I met up with him again, we laughed about it. This is now a joke between the McCoys and I.
Sean easily answers this. Not only does it make Bam Pow Chow’s tacos have an unique flair, it also holds food better than a soft tortilla. He also mentions the
wonton taco spring roll wrapper helps defy traditional taco logic when creating the entrees. It also brings good value and stays crisp.
Sean is also meticulous about the number 3, hence 3 tacos within each order. I would also assume this is why orders of wings are 6 and 12. Ironically, this is also the 9th Behind the Wheel post.
How did the food truck idea come to fruition?
The food truck took two years to get from start to finish. The truck was previously a welding truck that was nowhere near mint condition. First, Sean drove the truck in low gear from Miami to Sarasota. At top speeds of 45 miles per hour, a trip that probably takes a few hours took several. As he told this story, I chuckled and imagine the single fingers he probably saw down the wide-open and desolate highway, Alligator Alley, between Fort Lauderdale and Naples (drivers rarely go under 70 miles per hour here). He did all the work himself from fabrication as he highlights having to build the propane tank fasteners on the truck.
He wanted the truck because he described chefs have happy feet. Once things become complacent, the muscle twitches and they need a new challenge. This why he looked at food truck versus a restaurant. Also, with a restaurant their was far more at risk and higher chance of failure.
Why not start the truck in Sarasota?
Sarasota was very restrictive. Downtown and the beaches, places where most people are, food trucks were not allowed. In addition festivals where trucks could be at were passed over by concession and fair food vendors. Sean began researching and discussed his food truck idea with a friend in Portland. Those who know food trucks, Portland is a hot bed of food cart activity. They advised him to seek the “Research Triangle.”
Both Sean and Lauire researched the cities in the Triangle and decided to move to Raleigh.
What do you think of the Triangle?
There is a lot to love about the area. They really focused on family and community, which they said is very strong in the Triangle area. For instance, when they brought their kids to Deep River, they were amazed on how family-friendly the brewery was. When the McCoys made the move to Raleigh, Lauire was hoping to focus more on being a mom as well as being able work. She gets the feeling that she can accomplish that here, because how local area emphasizes family.
I know the truck is only one month old, any ideas on the menu
As the temperature cools, some of the summer items will start to come off. Today, Chef Sean has a Shrimp Ceviche, a smoked local catfish, and Angus Beef Bacon taco.
If you like Shrimp and Ceviche, you may want to find Bam Pow Chow now. The ceviche is a citrus juice cocktail with a hint of sriracha drizzled with an avocado cream sauce. The sriracha sneaks up on you, which is by design. Chef Sean’s creations are like rubix cubes for the taste buds. You keep turning and tasting trying to determine what is that taste. For instance, the Cilantro but Deadly looks filled with Cilantro, but Jalapeño is also mixed in there to give it a bit more heat.
Chef Sean has looking at his past creations and looking to incorporate them into the menu. It is very possible to see a Pork Shoulder taco with a jicama slaw. Also possible is a Turkey Bacon Brie and a change on the catfish with a romanesco sauce. He also mentions possibly looking into using wild boar.
What is your favorite?
The Angus Beef Taco with Bacon and Smoked Tomato Mayo. I had this and it really is good. The beef is slow cooked using French cooking techniques.
Chef Sean points out that people shouldn’t shy away from the mayo, because they don’t like mayo. It really is more of a dressing, which I agree as you taste more smoky and tomato then anything else. The funniest story revolving around the mayo, one kid bit another kid for the beef taco. The kid originally didn’t get a taco, because he didn’t like mayo. I assume one taste and he had to sink his teeth into something.
What to follow them?