Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Meet the IZ IT Taco Truck: Chinese Fried Chicken, Spam Musubi, and a Family Legacy

Posted By on Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 12:07 PM

click to enlarge The menu blends owner Kamyn Kong's Hawaiian and Chinese American pedigree. - IZ IT
  • IZ IT
  • The menu blends owner Kamyn Kong's Hawaiian and Chinese American pedigree.
Like Broadway shows, some of the best food trucks open out of town. In Brisbane yesterday, IZ IT Fresh Grill was merely the latest to make its debut. The mobile startup is specializing in Chinese-style fried chicken drumsticks it calls "the Icon," Spam musubi ("Spammers"), and tacos named "Kickers" that take look to Hawaii for inspiration.

click to enlarge The Icon, i.e. fried chicken drumsticks. - AMBER-LEIGH/FACEBOOK
  • Amber-Leigh/Facebook
  • The Icon, i.e. fried chicken drumsticks.
That's entirely appropriate, given the owner's pedigree. Kamyn Kong grew up in Honolulu, while her husband had grandparents whose Clement Street deli ― Kwong Shing Market ― achieved modest local fame for its five-spice-scented fried chicken, the same recipe Kong revived for IZ IT. (Kwong Shing shuttered some five years ago.) "The recipe's been in the family for over 50 years," says Ed Chui, Kong's brother-in-law, and co-proprietor of street-food vendor Adobo Hobo.

click to enlarge Spammers (Spam musubi). - AMBER-LEIGH/FACEBOOK
  • Amber-Leigh/Facebook
  • Spammers (Spam musubi).
As for IZ IT's Kickers, its tacos, the meat has what Chui calls a Hawaiian marinade, topped with tomato salsa spiked with fish sauce and sesame oil. Spam for the musubi Spammers, too, takes a turn in the marinade, before meeting up with rice and furikake. Look for IZ IT to roll out a tsukemono-inspired Japanese cabbage salad in coming weeks, as well as a rice platter with chicken.

Chui and his Adobo Hobo partner, Jason Rotairo, helped out on the truck for IZ IT's rollout yesterday ― Chui says they're weighing some sort of future collaboration. Meanwhile, Adobo Hobo's on board for Friday's second installment of Off the Grid at Fort Mason. As for IZ IT, it's working to get its S.F. permits lined up for a future city debut. The truck's taking a break today, but plans to roll out again on the Peninsula tomorrow ― find out where via Twitter. Find it on Facebook, too.

And the name? Chui says it's a nod to S.F. slang. "It's what you say instead of 'Really?' when somebody tell you something. You say, 'Iz it?'" Really?

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie. Contact me at John.Birdsall@SFWeekly.com

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , , ,

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook

Slideshows

  • Nevada City and the South Yuba River: A gold country getaway

    Nestled in the green pine-covered hills of the Northern Sierra Nevada is the Gold Rush town of Nevada City. Beautiful Victorian houses line the streets, keeping the old-time charm alive, and a vibrant downtown is home to world-class art, theater and music. The nearby South Yuba River State Park is known for its emerald swimming holes during the summer and radiant leaf colors during autumn. These days the gold panning is more for tourists than prospectors, but the gold miner spirit is still in the air.

    South Yuba River State Park and Swimming Holes:
    The park runs along and below 20 miles of the South Yuba River, offering hiking, mountain biking, gold panning and swimming. The Highway 49 bridge swimming hole is seven-miles northwest of Nevada City where Highway 49 crosses the South Yuba River. Parking is readily available and it is a short, steep hike to a stunning swimming hole beneath a footbridge. For the more intrepid, trails extend along the river with access to secluded swim spots. The Bridgeport swimming hole has calm waters and a sandy beach -- good for families and cookouts -- and is located 14 miles northwest of Nevada City. Be sure to write down directions before heading out, GPS may not be available. Most swimming holes on the South Yuba River are best from July to September, while winter and spring can bring dangerous rapids. Always know the current before jumping in!

    Downtown Nevada City
    The welcoming, walkable downtown of Nevada City is laid back, yet full of life. Start your day at the cozy South Pine Cafe (110 S Pine St.) with a lobster benedict or a spicy Jamaican tofu scramble. Then stroll the streets and stop into the shop Kitkitdizzi (423 Broad St.) for handcrafted goods unique to the region, vintage wears and local art “all with California gold rush swagger,” as stated by owners Carrie Hawthorne and Kira Westly. Surrounded by Gold Rush history, modern gold jewelry is made from locally found nuggets and is found at Utopian Stone Custom Jewelers (301 Broad St.). For a coffee shop with Victorian charm try The Curly Wolf (217 Broad St.), an espresso house and music venue with German pastries and light fare. A perfect way to cool down during the hot summer months can be found at Treats (110 York St.) , an artisan ice cream shop with flavors like pear ginger sorbet or vegan chai coconut. Nightlife is aplenty with music halls, alehouses or dive bars like the Mine Shaft Saloon (222 Broad St.).

    The Willo Steakhouse (16898 State Hwy 49, Nevada City)
    Along Highway 49, just west of Nevada City, is The Willo, a classic roadhouse and bar where you’re welcomed by the smell of steak and a dining room full of locals. In 1947 a Quonset hut (a semi-cylindrical building) was purchased from the US Army and transported to its current location, and opened as a bar, which became popular with lumberjacks and miners. The bar was passed down through the decades and a covered structure was added to enlarge the bar and create a dining area. The original Quonset beams are still visible in the bar and current owners Mike Byrne and Nancy Wilson keep the roadhouse tradition going with carefully aged New York steaks and house made ingredients. Pair your steak or fish with a local wine, such as the Rough and Ready Red, or bring your own for a small corkage fee. Check the website for specials, such as rib-eye on Fridays.

    Outside Inn (575 E Broad St.)
    A 16-room motel a short walk from downtown, each room features a unique décor, such as the Paddlers’ Suite or the Wildflower Room. A friendly staff and an office full of information about local trails, swimming and biking gets you started on your outdoor exploration. Amenities include an outdoor shower, a summer swimming pool and picnic tables and barbeques. Don’t miss the free vegetable cart just outside the motel in the mornings.

    Written and photographed by Beth LaBerge for the SF Weekly.

  • Arcade Fire at Shoreline
    Arcade Fire opened their US tour at Shoreline Amphitheater to a full house who was there in support of their album "Reflector," which was released last fall. Dan Deacon opened the show to a happily surprised early audience and got the crowd actively dancing and warmed up. DEVO was originally on the bill to support Arcade Fire but a kayak accident last week had sidelined lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh and the duration of the west coast leg of the tour. Win Butler did a homage to DEVO by performing Uncontrollable Urge.