Tyson Bees: What’s the Buzz?

If there is one food truck that I frequent the most, it would probably be Tyson Bees on 33rd and Spruce. This colorful truck hasn’t been open for long but has already become one of the most widely acclaimed trucks in the area, winning Appetizer of the Year at Philly Cookout 2010 with its popular steamed pork buns.

Tyson Bees

The Experience
I always enjoy my visits to Tyson Bees. Even though they’re serving a big crowd for dinner (which is when I usually go) , I still get my food in five to fifteen minutes. They have a really efficient way of  differentiating orders — playing cards. They’ll give you a card when you order and pay (I got the two of spades) and when your food is ready they’ll call out the card. So much easier than them shouting “pork bun!” and having twelve people running up to the counter. This time, I was the only customer. It was around 5:30PM so it might have been a little early for dinner. The staff are super friendly, and I got my food in probably three minutes.

The Food
I got the 1 Taco + 1 Pork Bun + 1 Thai Tea or Iced Coffee combo ($8), with the Korean BBQ Short Rib Beef Taco and Thai Tea. I should tell you that whenever I go to any dining establishment (whether it’s a truck or restaurant) more than once, I always try to get something different. But with Tyson Bees, I always get the pork bun. Every single time. It’s essential to the Tyson Bees experience, in my opinion. anyway, the pork bun didn’t disappoint as usual. A chunky piece of slow-cooked pork belly with cucumber, cilantro and sweet-and-salty hoisin sauce over a soft doughy bun–so simple, but so good. The Taco wasn’t bad, but I probably wouldn’t get it again. The beef is cooked perfectly and tastes great with the sliced radish, red cabbage and spicy sauce. It also came with a wedge of lime which gave it a little kick. Even though it still tasted great, it’s not the best thing I’ve eaten from Tyson Bees.

Korean BBQ Short Rib Taco and Steamed Pork Bun

I’ve had Thai Iced Tea probably at least three times this week. But I’ve learned this year that if I consume any coffee after 3PM, I get dizzy and my hands start shaking a little. So I went with the Thai Tea. It’s similar to that of Cucina Zapata’s, but it’s less creamy and has less ice. I like CZ’s creaminess, but I like how TB’s isn’t so diluted with ice.

Thai Iced Tea

Final Thoughts
I love Tyson Bees.  It’s very difficult for me to say anything bad about it. The service is friendly and fast, and although the food may cost a little more than other food truck options, the quality is just incomparable.

Cucina Zapata: Tacos With a Twist

I’m a huge fan of fusion food, so when my friend Andrew told me about a new food truck that served Thai-Mexican cuisine, I couldn’t wait to try it out.  When I found Cucina Zapata at the end of the so-called “Engineering Line” (aka 31st and Ludlow, right behind the Main Building), I couldn’t believe I had never seen or heard of it before. The brightly colored truck was pretty hard to miss, and it definitely stood out among the line of plain silver or white trucks.

Cucina Zapata

The Experience
I went around noon, so I expected a large crowd. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s so new (they opened about a month and a half ago) or maybe it’s because it’s all the way at the end by 31st Street, but there were only six people before me. I placed my order pretty quickly, and sat down on one of many crates stacked up against the wall—a simple, but brilliant idea. I got my Thai Iced Tea ($2) in two minutes and the Thai Taco and Chicken Satay Taco (one for $3, two for $5) in ten.

The Food
The Thai Taco and Chicken Satay Taco tasted just as good as they looked, if not better. Both had lettuce, carrots, red cabbage, tomatoes and avocado, but they each had a unique taste thanks to the different sauces on top. The tacos were a little spicy, just enough to excite the palate without overwhelming the flavors of the Asian-inspired slaw and strips of meat. The Thai Iced Tea—a sweet and creamy blend of black tea, condensed milk and half-and-half—was a great complement to the zesty tacos, and a great refreshment for a hot day.

Thai Iced Tea

L: Thai Taco. R: Chicken Satay Taco

I could barely finish the tacos, but I forced myself to because I didn’t think that they would taste as good later. Who knew $7 could be so filling?

Final Thoughts
Personally, I think that Cucina Zapata is just what the Drexel food truck scene needed. It definitely offers something that I’ve never seen elsewhere on campus (maybe with the exception of Honest Tom’s or La Dominique). The food is delicious (and of great quality), and I will most certainly be back to try some of their other dishes, such as the Chicken Curry, or the Tilapia Katsu Taco. I highly recommend this food truck—the food may cost a little more than what you’re used to but it is completely worth it. The owners are friendly and more than willing to help you out if you’re new to Thai cuisine, so stop by between classes for a great meal! Make sure you ask for extra napkins, though—the tacos can get messy!