Curries, Parathas, Samosas & More, the India Jones Chow Truck is Spicing up L.A.'s Streets

Chef Sumant Pardal only first heard of the Twittering designer food truck craze this summer. But when he heard the concept, it sparked an idea and in ten days, his India Jones Chow Truck was on the road.

"What we've created in five weeks is phenomenal," Pardal explained from his truck parked in North Hollywood last Saturday. "It was the fastest business I've ever opened in my life."

Between India and Los Angeles, Pardal has been in the restaurant business for 33 years, most notably owning the East India Grill chain and the recently closed (due to landlord issues, he says) Tiger Lili in Los Feliz. Not wanting to lose the freedom of being his own boss and looking for a start-up business that wasn't going to take a lot of funding, he quickly adopted the Twitter food truck model and it has been a smash hit since, creating a good deal of buzz on the streets and on the net.

It's been going so well--he's gained popularity at MySpace's headquarters, USC and Honda's Torrance headquarters--that the business-savvy Pardal is planning to put a few more trucks out with the same brand name. "This business is very intense, I can't drive this truck all the time," he explained. "Once we're ready, we'll be looking for driver-cooks."

Part of being competitive in the business is serving up quality food that is not only delicious, but can be served fast and that can be stored efficiently so food does not run out while hungry customers wait in line. "On a truck you've got to invent the menu according to the kitchen, not have a menu and then try to find a kitchen," he explained with excitement. "It has to be fast, functional and delicious."

And that's where his most popular menu item, the Frankie, came about. Hailing from Bombay, the quick-to-make Frankie is the indian burrito, if you will. Wrapped in a roti--a wrap, or tortilla--it comes filled with beef, lamb, cheese, fish or shrimp. Pardal says most people have one and come back for another and that it only takes about 45 seconds to make.

Other popular items include his Baby Back Ribs, topped with mango chutney BBQ sauce and served with grilled onions, all atop naan bread. Parathas (indian stuffed flast bread), curries, chana masala and appetizers like samosa spring rolls round out the menu. And all of it is damn good.

You can follow the India Jones Chow Truck at @indiajonesct.

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