Hiyaaa! is either a popular truck, or I just got there too late. They were out of everything, and so I settled…was forced to settle on curry. But, that’s all right because I don’t know how many times I have said this, but curry is good. It’s one of those one-pot meals, that is nourishing to the body, and if done right, nourishing to the soul. Everyone’s recipe is different and somehow the same. If you’re broke (which I am most of the time) and grew up on rice and beans (which I did most of the time) curry is the alternative wallet stretcher. Unless you’re paying $9 for a bowl when you’re out and about.
Most people, like Hiyaaa!, know that the secret to one-pot meals is the layering of flavors. You start with searing off your proteins in a fat, turning the outside monochromatic flesh into a food photographer’s crusty wet dream. Then you add your aromatics to your now crusty flesh bits at the bottom of the pan. Your aromatics might be: onions, garlic, ginger, carrots and celery. You add some form of liquid: water, stock, crushed tomatoes, unicorn tears. You reintroduce your protein, add some new and shiny vegetables, put the lid on, set it and forget it. It ain’t rocket science.
What you should end up with is this beautiful labour of love. Something that brutally smells of someone’s grandma’s kitchen. Something that looks like an exotic trip to a country that consists of too many ethnicities to keep track. It’s reduced (or not) until it reaches the viscosity that clings for dear life and yet gently coats your rice. And something that tastes like liberation, oppression and a grandma’s hug.
Hiyaaa!’s curry bowl comes with a little refreshing side salad of mesclun mix, radicchio, cucumber, shredded carrots and some salty sweet sour dressing. Delicious. I’d love to track them down again for that salad. Their curry was a thick mass of shredded chicken bits and two thick pieces of rondelle-cut carrot over a sticky mass of mushy white rice. There was something not pleasingly funky about the curry. I just couldn’t pinpoint it. It was as if there might have been too much cumin in it, that gives a sort of armpit flavor on the buds. There was also a bitter burnt taste, which might have been from reducing too much over the day in the warming vessel. Again, I got there near closing time.
I did not feel enraptured in a hug. But, it’s definitely worth another try. For the salad shows that there could be promise in the other items on the menu that the vultures consumed before me. However, I could make an entire week’s worth of curry for $9. That’s all I’m saying.
Hiyaaa! Food Truck
326 Shaw Road
South San Francisco
Featured photo courtesy of Hiyaaa! website