The Fojol Bros. food truck may be one of the most unique traveling eateries around DC. A self-described “traveling culinary carnival,” the truck’s back-story is as fantastical and colorful as the cast of characters who serve up its Indian and Ethiopian-based cuisine.
While decked out in eclectic garb (which can include turbans, tutus and faux mustaches), the staff serves up food from Merlindia and Benethiopia, Fojol-created “lands” that fit the truck’s playful theme.
The Merlindian menu consists of traditional Indian dishes such as buttered chicken, chicken masala, spinach and cheese and chicken curry, all served over basmati rice. Items on the Benethiopia menu, on the other hand, are Ethiopian-inspired and are served with injera, the traditional Ethiopian bread.
For a better look into the Fojol Bros.’ world, Huda Fojol answered some of Metrocurean’s questions about what it takes to run a culinary carnival.
Q: When did your truck first hit the road?
A: Jan. 20, 2009 — Obama’s Inauguration Day.
Q: Why did you want to open a food truck?
A: We wanted to be a traveling culinary carnival, so we had to be mobile.
Q: Why do your menu items work, sold from a food truck?
A: Our Merlindian and Benethiopian items are tasty, high quality and sold at an affordable price point. They are also ethnic and hot, hearty foods — a rarity to find on the go in downtown D.C.
Q: What is your most popular item?
A: People have traveled from California and Sweden to Merlindia to try the butter chicken and spinach and cheese. Benethiopia has a strong beef berbere following, while the split peas are a vegetarian favorite.
Q: How do you anticipate the crowds each day?
A: Months and months and months of statistical analysis.
Q: Where and how do you prep your food?
A: We prep each cuisine in their prospective lands.
Q: What kinds of hygienic guidelines do you follow?
A: In order to be a mobile vender serving in the district, you must be approved by the DC Health Department. We are randomly inspected by DC Health Department during peak hours of business. We must be up to code or else we can be shut down.
Q: As opposed to a stationary restaurant, what’s the best thing about a food truck from the operator’s perspective?
A: The best thing about being an operator of a traveling culinary carnival is bringing curry and happiness to different people in different settings throughout the city.
Q: Ever gotten any parking tickets?
A: Yes, but the Fojols are great negotiators.
Q: Where do you go to the bathroom when you’re out on the road?
A: Generally we’re close to a Subway or Starbucks. Kipoto love their iced mochas.
Q: Where do you park your truck at night?
A: Fojol Island
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Katie Bascuas has lived in D.C. for the past year and a half, and when she isn’t working or traveling, she loves exploring new restaurants, farmers markets and bars in the city. A graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Katie also enjoys writing about food and is excited to be contributing to Metrocurean.
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