Food Truck Rumble 2015

The second Food Truck Rumble was held at the Perth Cultural Centre on 12 April 2015. This year, I was one of the official photographers for the event. My assignment was to photograph all the trucks, the pop-up bar and dining areas, and take food pictures too.

I know a great deal of hard work, thought and planning went into this year’s event, and feedback from the first Food Truck Rumble was addressed wherever possible. Last year, there were 17 trucks; this year, there were 29 trucks. The trucks were more spread out, located along Museum Plaza, in the Urban Orchard, the Amphitheatre, Central Square and next to the State Library, and on James Street – making better use of the entire Cultural Centre space. The breakdancing competition attracted massive crowds. There were more dining areas, with shade/shelter, tables and chairs. Rope barriers were used to manage some of the longer queues to help keep walkways clear.

A lot has been said online about the queues and long waits for food. It was pretty reasonable for the first hour or so, but the queues kept growing and didn’t let up. If a food truck can take orders much faster than it can cook and serve them, they’ll quickly bank up, and that was the story for many.

I arrived before the official start time of 11am and had barely snapped my first pictures when a heavy burst of rain fell – I’m sure everyone involved shared the same sinking feeling that the weather might ruin the Rumble. I’d come prepared – a raincoat for me and my trusty plastic bags to protect my cameras. Thankfully, the rest of the day was mainly fine with bright blue skies and very brief, mostly light showers.

In my post about Food Truck Rumble last year I mentioned the rise of food trucks in Perth, and initiatives such as Park’d at Curtin and Perth Food Van (both still going strong) and local council programs to revitalise under-utilised and ‘forgotten’ public spaces, with genuine efforts being made to find ways to allow food trucks to operate without threatening established food businesses. The City of Perth’s Food Truck Trial has been running since 1 February and will finish at the end of May. The City of South Perth’s StrEATS trial has seen a regular gathering of food trucks at approved locations along the South Perth foreshore during summer. Food trucks have been trading at the 140 precinct in Perth city and have been a part of the Twilight Hawkers Market in Forrest Place and various hawker markets in the Perth suburbs. Food trucks are here to stay.

Crowds always make photography a challenge but I think I captured everything on my list well – apart from the food. I didn’t approach any of the food trucks ahead of time to organise food specifically for photographs (perhaps I should’ve), and so I was at the mercy of the queues just like everyone else. I photographed my own food, friends’ food and got permission from a couple of kind strangers to photograph their food, but to be honest, I didn’t really feel comfortable asking most people if I could photograph their food after they’d been waiting an eternity for it. If I get the opportunity to do it again I’ll certainly approach the task differently. I had lessons to learn from the day too.

  • Food Truck Rumble 2015 was held on Sunday 12 April, 11am to 8pm at the Perth Cultural Centre, part of this year’s Eat Drink Perth festival.
  • Social media was the best way to get latest updates on the event, including on the day itself. Food Truck Rumble organiser Ai-Ling Truong posted this update on Facebook following the event.
  • Take the 5-10 minute feedback survey to help improve future Rumbles.

My pictures below show the food trucks from different times of the day, before it got busy and during the more crowded times. You can see an album with more of my pictures at Food Truck Rumble’s Facebook page.

Imagine if the day had been like this...  Wicked WafflesSeeking shelter at Wicked Waffles and Ice Cream. Imagine if the rain had continued like this…

Chico Gelato Chico Gelato‘s flavours for the day included a Food Truck Rumble special, green tea with rose chocolate drizzle.

Comida do Sul and Soul Provider Comida do Sul and Soul Provider – behind the trucks, ‘My Home is Your Home’ by Ken Unsworth, which you may recognise if you went to this year’s Sculpture by the Sea.

Soul Provider Soul Provider

Pulled pork bun with Cajun mayo Pulled pork bun with Cajun mayo from Soul Provider.

Tropico - Pash

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Smokin' BBQ Bus Smokin’ BBQ Bus – at the beginning of the day, before the queue began.

DSCF9202And once the queue began, it was relentless!

The crowd at Museum Plaza. The crowd at Museum Plaza.

Pauly K's Kitchen I grabbed lunch at Pauly K’s Kitchen. Although some of my photos here don’t show long lines, believe me – every truck had them. Over the course of the day, Pauly K’s Kitchen sold 720 BBQ pork buns, 400 curry puffs and 300 servings each of BBQ pork noodles and Hainanese chicken rice.

BBQ pork noodles from Pauly K's KitchenBBQ pork noodles from Pauly K’s Kitchen. The flavours of the BBQ pork and noodles were spot-on, but the pork was a little dry.

DSCF9180Juice Face, where I got a refreshing Pink Crush – frozen watermelon, mint and apple juice.

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Delish Ice Delish Ice was where I grabbed a ginger beer, lime and mint pop in the late afternoon.

The Gift of Taste hot donuts sold like hot cakes... I mean hot donuts! The Gift of Taste hot donuts sold like hot cakes… I mean hot donuts! The breakdancing competition inspired kids to do some breakdancing of their own.

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Grilled to the Mac Grilled to the Mac‘s signature grilled mac n cheese sandwiches were a huge hit.

Mr Flippy, What The Flip Mr Flippy at What The Flip

My Caramel Assault being made. In the crepe is Pink Himalayan salted caramel with whipped cream. My Caramel Assault being made. In the crepe is Pink Himalayan salted caramel with whipped cream.

I caught Jerry Fraser putting  on his oyster tie. I caught King of Oysters Jerry Fraser putting on his oyster tie at the Lot 20 pop-up stall on James Street. He always greets me so warmly, even though he knows I detest oysters.

Austin midnight slider and St Louis-style ribs Austin midnight slider and St Louis-style ribs from Lot 20. They weren’t counted among the 29 food trucks but had a pop-up stall.

The King of Oysters in action The King of Oysters in action

Wassup Dog's 'Best Dog' Wassup Dog’s ‘Best Dog’ fresh off the grill.

The queue for Wassup Dog. The queue for Wassup Dog.

Espresso martiniCocktail Gastronomy’s famous Liquid Nitrogen Espresso Martini, made with vanilla vodka, cacao, Kahlua, Espresso and sherry & mascarpone cream

Truck Rumble Bar The Truck Rumble Bar served locally produced beverages – Custard & Co Cider, The West Winds Gin, Eagle Bay Brewing Co and cold-pressed juices by The Juicist.

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Urban Orchard Urban Orchard

Urban Orchard Urban Orchard

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  • Craig Hind

    I have to say I think Perth has done food trucks much better than Sydney has.

    When they were first announced I was quite excited at the possibilities of going to what I remember from the UK as the typical American ‘chuck wagon’, but we have none of that. In my opinion Sydney’s food truck scene is nowhere near as varied as yours seems to be, and I find ours far too wanky, and as usual far too expensive for what you’re getting. I also understand that food trucks being mobile can’t just park on another restaurants doorstep and canvas for customers, but you never seem to see them around other than at specific activities, and when you do they’re usually the same boring ones. Why can’t we just have one or two that just serves good old, but not too fancy street food, instead of the expensive, poncified foods? Sigh…

    So yeah, it looks like Perth has done it much better. Hopefully the next time we’re in the area we can go and find some food trucks and see how they compare first hand!

    • We do have some really great food trucks and with the various food truck trials being run by different councils and permission being granted for trucks to trade at specific locations it has been much easier to find them outside of the context of special events. Yes, next time you come visit I’d love to take you to try out some of the food trucks.