Even though the summer sessions at West Chester University are only lightly attended, a few food trucks still line the shady streets. I’d heard the rumors of a new food truck which featured Korean goodies, so I thought I’d make my way over to campus and see what’s cooking. I found a few dining options right in the middle of campus.
Positioned along South Church Street on WCU’s campus sits the Ka’Chi food truck, serving tacos, cheesesteaks and rice bowls along with a wide assortment of hot sauces. Emblazoned on the side of the Ka’Chi truck is their catchphrase, “Korean with a Twist.”
Sung-Yoon Kang and his wife Dawn Kang just launched Ka’Chi in March of 2012, and have received rave reviews from students and festival-goers throughout the region. The menu choices are fairly simple. Order a taco, cheesesteak or rice bowl. Choose from the Kalbi Short Ribs, Ginger Soy Chicken, Daegi Bulgogi Spicy Pork, or Tofu. They also offer the option to “kick it up a notch and kimchify your order for .50 cents more.”
For my lunchtime trip, I took a connoisseur of food trucks with me. My son Jay is home from Temple University, where he has dined at some of the city’s best food trucks. We decided to split a cheesesteak and a rice bowl for lunch.
Our cheesesteak (pictured, to left) had chunks of very tender marinated “Kalbi” short ribs on a beautiful roll that was slightly crunchy on the outside but chewy on the inside. Turns out “Kalbi” means short ribs in Korean. Sung-Yoon explained the meat is marinated anywhere from 2-5 days using a family recipe. I’m a “with” guy, but my son goes “without,” so my half of the cheesesteak was slathered with sauteed onions. We both agreed it was a very delectable cheesesteak.
Ka’Chi offers an assortment of hot sauces that can be drizzled over and of the meals. “All the sauces are homemade, though some are more traditional,” Sung-Yoon noted. The hottest is the Persimmon Habanero Sauce while the coolest choice is the Roasted Tomatillo Salsa. There’s a sauce for everyone, and it’s fun to drip a little of each into a rice bowl and sample them all.
My son and I did just that with our chicken and rice bowl (pictured, to left), which came with a plentiful helping of shredded cabbage. The chicken is marinated in ginger and lime, and the rice was fluffy and absorbed our hot sauces well.
Sung-Yoon explained that the spring session at WCU went well, but that “with summer, we’re finding alternative homes.” He was surprised to find several festivals were already filled for the summer, but they have been able to sign up for a few. They have been frequenting the Swingin’ Summer Thursdays, the Vintage Garage Sale and also making occasional trips to Philadelphia.
After making a few more orders for the students taking summer classes, Sung-Yoon explained how they started operating a food truck. “I did a lot of odd jobs, graduated from school in Massachusetts and I was in banking for two and half years. One weekend on a trip to New York, the idea got hatched.” Sung-Yoon is from Boston, but his wife Dawn went to West Chester University and they decided to locate their business here in Chester County.
The most popular item varies – based on the heat of the day and time of day. At lunchtime, they serve a lot of tacos, while at dinner time, the rice bowls seem to be more popular.
The Lunch Box
On a more traditional note, The Lunch Box serves up burgers, hoagies, chicken, cheesesteaks and melts from their extensive menu. Matt Gourley and his wife Tew own the bright red food truck parked along University Street, offering diverse option to hungry students, faculty and townsfolk.
While they often change up the menu, Matt tells me the regulars often go “off menu” for their favorites and he’s happy to oblige when he has the ingredients. Their most popular sandwich is the Bánh mì hoagie, which has chicken, cucumber, jalapeno, spicy mayo.
Varsity Dawg is a traditional hot dog stand that usually parks right at the corner of Church and University Streets. The hot dogs are made with Vienna All Beef Premium franks, which have been made from the same recipe since 1893. Owner Gary Rogers claims “they are the best hot dogs you can get,” and they were voted “The Country’s Best Hot Dog” in 2006 by Gourmet Magazine. Varsity Dawg is also known for breakfast bagels and sandwiches, as well as kielbasa and chili. You can follow Varsity Dawg on Facebook.