Philly Food Truck: Samosa Deb (Gourmet Indian Cuisine)

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Truck Design by Brands Imaging

In May (2013) I started a food truck series with Farm Truck and went to New York to feature The Ditch Witch. Then I got rather busy interviewing Lee Daniels, Cuba Gooding, Jr and Yaya Alafia for the movie The Butler, and other great film/movie posts happened, and so, it's taken me this long to get back to my Food Truck series.

Debbie Dasani - Owner/Operator/Chef of Samosa Deb
It gives me great pleasure to continue The Tinsel & Tine Food Truck Series with a new truck in Philly - SAMOSA DEB. I had a truly warm & delicious visit with Debbie Dasani at Temple University on Norris Street in front of 1940 Residents Hall and Peabody Hall.  She's only been parking the Samosa Deb truck there a week, but so far the response from the students has been really positive.  While I was there sampling and taking pictures, several passersby expressed excitement at finding a food truck that sells Indian cuisine.

Chicken Tika Masala

This is not a fast food version of Indian food.  This is the real thing! Debbie's heritage goes back to a generation that migrated from India to settle in Guyana in South America.
She married a man born in India; she explained to me her husband is accustomed to Indian dishes with a sweeter flavor. Debbie is used to a spicier, savory way of cooking.  She enjoys creating recipes that blend these two Indian traditions.  Either way, there's no short cut to making good Indian food. Each dish requires a myriad of spices, not always easily obtainable, and a considerable amount of prep time. Debbie has figured out how to offer dishes that take a long time to make, but are ready to serve in minutes - not easy, but for Debbie it's a labor of love. In 2008 she realized this was her passion and creative outlet and therefore should be her business:

Mixture of Saag Paneer & Channa Chaat

T&T: How long have you been in the food industry? When and Why did you decide to start a food truck?

SD: Going on five years. But my food truck is only 2 months old! Both my husband and I got tired of working 9-5 jobs, so we bought a convenience store in South Philly in 2008. I started with samosas and some sweet breads. The convenience store customers enjoyed them and asked for more dishes. However, the biggest challenge was no kitchen on the premises. I tried offering the food cold to go, and it was well received, but our customers kept nagging me to consider serving it hot or to open a restaurant. So I did a bit of test driving and offered hot food at the annual Italian Market festival and it was a big hit!

Debbie is trying to keep her menu prices low for a student's budget

I knew I did not want to be stuck in a kitchen 15 hours a day, with no customer contact or interaction, so I started paying attention to food trucks and did a few Night Markets and was convinced a food truck was the way to go. I love the concept of a mobile kitchen. It allows me to be creative and have constant customer interaction. It really gets my creative juices flowing.  I don't want to be making the same dishes day in and out. My menu is very customer driven, I like to do fusion blends of different cooking styles. Best of all, the food truck allows me to move around in different neighborhoods. I learn so much from my customers, they are the ones making up the menus.  It is hard work, but I am having so much fun it does not seem too hard. One has to have a passion for food to do a food truck. Like any job if you don't work, you don't get paid. What is so rewarding for me is I have fun cooking and now I get paid to do it.

Samosa: Whole Wheat pockets filled with potatoes, peas & corn (drizzle of Tamarind Sauce)

T&T: Best elevator pitch - What sets your food truck cuisine apart from others? And what's unique about your truck itself?

SD: I am the only Indian food truck in the city of Philadelphia.

Pakora Chaat: crunchy battered vegetables 

You can also get Samosa Deb's cuisine through Legit Delivery - a delivery service currently concentrating on connecting food trucks on Temple University’s campus with the students.  Founded by current students, specialize in swift bicycle delivery on a daily basis as well as large catering orders upon special request. Their website is currenlty being updated to allow online orders -  / twitter @legitdelivery

T&T: What do you wish the City would change about Food Truck Vending in Philadelphia?

SD: It's great that Temple's campus is not restricted like University City. I'm hoping that doesn't change. I also suggest a few food trucks get together and rent a parking lot once a month.
Vermicelli rice pudding: creamy comfort food, mildly sweet.

T&T: Who's the most famous person to come up to your truck? And/or at what events do you do the most business?

SD: No famous person has come by yet. The Italian Market and Night Market have been great!
This is something you have to try! Sweet Samosa filled with cheesecake brownie and blueberries

T&T: We always add a little Tinsel into our Tine, so what's your favorite movie genre and favorite movie from that genre?

SD: The Godfather is my favorite movie.

****When you visit Samosa Deb and mention you read this post on Tinsel & Tine you will receive $2 off a Mango Lassi or a Thai Ice Tea - offer expires 10/31/13****

Prime Stache - Pulled Pork, Burgers Dia Doce - Gourmet Cupcakes
Vendy Awards - The equivalent of the Oscars for Food Trucks

If you are or know of a Philly Food Truck that should be featured on Tinsel & Tine please drop me an email

Samosa Deb on Foodio54

Samosa Deb on Urbanspoon

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About This Blog

is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?
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