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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

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