Hot Indian Food Truck
While I’m waiting in line at the Hot Indian food truck in downtown Minneapolis, at least three groups of people pass by and murmur, “Oh, look! They have Limca!” Limca (with a hard “c”), I now know, is a lemon-lime soda beloved in India, sticky sweet with a bitter edge.
Nobody says, “Oh, look! They have Indurritos!” Because, really, what the hell is an Indurrito?
An Indurrito is the sort of idea that’s so simple and ingenious that it will have you smacking your forehead: all the goodness of a plate of Indian food — the flavored rice, the curry, the vegetables — wrapped up in a giant flour tortilla. Of course. And it’s the sole item on Hot Indian’s menu. (You can also ask for it deconstructed, on a rice bowl.)
On any given weekday, with the truck parked in either of the downtown business districts, owner Amol Dixit is outside the truck, taking orders and greeting customers like old friends. He is grinning and looks like the guy who has landed the best job in the world.
Packs of office workers in red and khaki (we’re outside Target headquarters, naturally) step up and order chicken, lamb, paneer, or vegan Indurritos. The line grows ever longer behind them. I have the Spinach Paneer Indurrito with a side of Indi Fries and — by this time feeling a strange transferred nostalgia for it, myself — a Limca.
The Indurrito is smaller — thank heavens — than the mammoth Chipotle burrito, and much closer to the size a human of normal appetite might eat for lunch, tightly and expertly rolled. It is sweeter and lighter on the greens than I like, a bit ketchup-y, even, but there’s the fresh crunch of cabbage and carrots and the texture of the rice and paneer is perfect. And the fries — a battered and spiced mixture of white and sweet potatoes, with a garlicky mayonnaise for dipping — are exactly what you might crave on a random weekday when you need some salty indulgence.
And you see that note on the bottom of the menu that says, “Ask for extra spice”? Take that as a command, rather than a suggestion, because if you don’t ask for extra spice, you get no spice at all.
Hot Indian has perfected the food truck menu: essentially one item that can be ordered a handful of ways. Pick one of four or so fillings. Have it in a wrap or on a rice bowl. Add fries and a drink, or don’t. That elegantly covers nearly every culinary base.
Even so, Dixit hasn’t managed to beat the twin scourges of food trucks all over the cities: long lines and relatively high prices. Indurritos cost $9 or $10 depending on the filling, $13 with fries and a drink. And you don’t even get a place to sit.
And, even with Dixit out front masterfully taking orders and swiping cards on his Square and with two burrito — sorry, Indurrito — makers moving in a rapid-fire do-si-do inside the truck, 30 minutes passed between the moment I stepped into line and when I took my first bite of Indian fusion.
But, then, there’s the spectral microeconomist reading over my shoulder, eager to remind me that if the lines are long, the prices aren’t too high. And the spectral foodie looking over the other reminding me that quality is worth paying for. And the Limca nostalgists who joined the line and are now thoroughly enjoying their Indurritos. And Dixit’s infectious energy, both at the truck and online. And all that makes me a new fan of Hot Indian.
Hot Indian Food Truck
Indian food truck in Minneapolis-St. Paul
OWNER / CHEF: Amol Dixit / Janene Holig
HOURS: Mon-Fri 11am-1:30pm
RESERVATIONS / RECOMMENDED?: No
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / Yes
ENTREE RANGE: $9-10