Get Ready: Truck Stop
Published Apr 1, 2010 9:00 AM
"Nom Nom" is the sound you hear at UCLA these days as Bruins gobble down meals from lunch trucks temporarily replacing the Bombshelter eatery. But the Vietnamese fusion Nom Nom Truck — run by Bruins and named after the lip-smacking noises made by happy lunchers (and profiled in our January issue) — is just one of the insanely popular meals-on-wheels debuting on campus.
With construction crews demolishing the 40-year-old Bombshelter to build a new Court of Sciences Student Center by spring 2011, ASUCLA Food Service Director Cindy Bolton '91 needed a temporary replacement. That's when the Associated Students of UCLA decided to jump on the high-concept fusion and gourmet food truck bandwagon, contracting with more than a dozen trucks and allowing them to drive on campus instead of hovering at its boundaries.
Since January, the Court of Sciences has hosted an ever-changing roster of two trucks — and long lines — each day at lunch. One day might feature Indian dosas and Thai curry bowls; the next, the organic Green Truck. Their popularity even surprises the servers. During Nom Nom's first visit, they ran out of their signature barbecue pork, as the cashier flashed a daunting stack of receipts and noted, "This is twice as many as we normally have by this time."
Many of the trucks post their schedules via Twitter. Several make a point to tweet upcoming visits to UCLA and, naturally, answer Twinterview questions.
"We love UCLA's setup," tweets Frysmith, which serves variations on chili-cheese fries, such as cheesy pork-and-kimchi fries. "Haven't heard of other schools doing food-truck contracting yet, but it's probably just a matter of time."
"I haven't experienced feedback this strong on any of our programs before," Bolton says. "But in Westwood, they're always hungry for something new."
Every weekday at lunch, Monday-Friday, except holidays. 10:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. ASUCLA Twitter and Facebook accounts post which trucks are coming, but beware: They only give a few hours’ warning. Visit ASUCLA on Twitter via @FoodTrucksUCLA or on Facebook at Food Trucks at UCLA.