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, Legitdelivery.com 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 - facebook.com/LegitDelivery  / 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****
 

****Samosa Deb is looking for some part-time help. If you are a student with some experience in Indian cooking, contact her at samosadeb1@gmail.com****

You can also find Samosa Deb:
7th Sept - Haverford Music Festival  
19th  Sept - Mt. Airy Street Fare
21st Sept - Manayunk SteEAT Festival


If you are or know of a Philly Food Truck that should be featured on Tinsel & Tine please drop me an email tinseltine@gmail.com
Mt. Airy.com has a really big food event on tap for September 19, 2013. It's a Street Fare (Night Market event) taking place on Germantown Avenue, between Sedgwick and W. Mt. Airy Avenues - "Sip, Savor, Stroll" along the Avenue to enjoy Gourmet eats and drinks from 40+ food trucks, carts, restaurants and bars - including many Vendy award winners. It is a night to experience the best of the best in regional cuisine!

Samosa Deb on Foodio54

Samosa Deb on Urbanspoon

Philly Food Blog

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NEWS: MS Walk

NEWS: MS Walk
In Support of my friend and fellow blogger/journalist Thomasena Farrar of MusicMoviesThoughts who is a "thriver" with MS. I am doing the MS Walk in Philly on May 3rd. I'm trying to raise $150 for the cause.

We'd love our readers support, please click MS Walk Donation or the image above.

Donations of any amount are welcome.

MMT is currently featuring celebrity interviews of those either with MS or close ties to someone with the illness. Read Interview with the late comedian Richard Pryor's daughter Rain PryorJennifer Holiday and Eric Roberson
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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.
-tinseltine@gmail.com


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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