The first ever Food Truck Rumble was on Sunday, part of this year’s Eat Drink Perth. The Rumble was the vision of Ai-Ling Truong who, with the support of the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority and a volunteer crew, did an amazing job in bringing together 17 food trucks (one pulled out at late notice due to a medical emergency) and a pop-up bar for an all-day festival at the Perth Cultural Centre.
Last year, Ai-Ling was chair of the Eat Drink Blog conference committee that organised a wonderful pop-up food truck dinner for delegates. Food trucks have risen in prominence and popularity in Perth over the past couple of years, with highly successful food truck initiatives at our universities, including Park’d at Curtin; regular appearances at different street festivals, farmers markets and street food markets in the city and around the suburbs; and the establishment of Perth Gourmet Food Van, promoting and driving support for food trucks in Perth. Local councils are becoming more open to food trucks – in particular, the City of Fremantle and the City of Perth have been keen to revitalise under-utilised and ‘forgotten’ public spaces and look at ways to allow food trucks to operate. With all of this interest, it’s no surprise the Food Truck Rumble was enthusiastically received.
I started my Rumble with a salted malted caramel popsicle from the Delish Ice pop van but I was soon blissfully caught up taking photographs and chatting with friends and blog readers. When I finally thought about getting something to eat, I realised I’d left my lunch run much too late – there were long lines at every truck I was interested in, with a minimum wait of anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour in the blazing sun. I had a sense of deja vu from the first Yum Cha in the Park in Northbridge a couple of years ago, where the relentless lines and lack of shade were energy sappers. Other events held on the same day brought lots of punters to the city – Perth Home Grown Market and the Young Butchers Picnic at Forrest Place, and the Perth Wildcats versus Adelaide 36ers grand final decider at Perth Arena, for example. I’d hate to think how much bigger the crowd might’ve been had the weather been cooler! But this is life in Perth, and I’d choose a scorcher over rain for an outdoor festival any day. Considering that Eat Drink Perth 2014 has taken place a whole month later than in previous years, outdoor events such as this have been blessed with sunshine.
Some of the vendors seemed overwhelmed by the response, appeared to have underestimated Perth’s voracious appetite and ran out of stock; some were able to restock while other trucks had little choice but cease trading much earlier than the advertised end-time.
Certainly if there were more trucks there on the day, there would’ve been lines at them too, but it’s always a challenge to balance the number of vendors with sufficient walkways, entrance/exit points, open space, and suitable places to sit and eat. In public open spaces such as this, the capacity to support vendors is also dependent on available power and water sources. All of this I have no doubt had been carefully considered in the planning of the event.
I’m not going to harp on about what could be improved. There’s been plenty of feedback posted at the Food Truck Rumble’s Facebook page, with people sharing their impressions from the day. Like any first-time event, there were lessons to be learned, but I hope Ai-Ling, our food truck rumblers and all involved have been encouraged by the experience and response – and that this will be the first of many more Rumbles.
My favourite photos from the day are below. I took some of the pictures early in the day, before the crowds arrived.
Food Truck Rumble was held on Sunday 13 April, 11am to 8pm in Perth Cultural Centre. The Eat Drink Perth festival continues throughout April 2014, with its final event Taste of Perth on the first weekend in May.
The food truck rumblers were:
- Churro Central
- Cocktail Gastronomy
- Comida do Sul
- Delish Ice
- Franklin Foodies (Ffoodies)
- Hey Pesto
- Kustom Cupcakes
- Lil Tortilla Boi
- Little Caesars Pizzette
- Miam Miam
- Mojito Cantina
- Miss Tartufo Gelati
- The Juicist
- The Merrywell
- Vince’s Mobile Wood Fire Pizza