Five years ago, the Little Green Cyclo truck was just a big dream in the hearts and minds of founders Monica, Quynh & Susie, three successful career women in very diverse industries. Monica’s family opened the first Chinese restaurant in Boston, while she spent several years as a portfolio manager in the finance industry. Quynh was a webmaster for an executive chef at Gumbo Jumbo in San Jose and Susie owned a deli in North Berkeley before becoming a senior business analyst for a tech company in New York City.
After a year of throwing around ideas, the three friends decided it was time for a career change. No one expected to get back into the food industry, however, things came full circle when they realized the Bay Area was in a need of a healthier version of the popular Vietnamese street food scene. They developed a menu focusing on locally-sourced, homemade, hormone and M.S.G.-free products. The meats from Mindful Meats as well as Wagyu beef are organic and non-GMO. All of the marinades and dipping sauces are homemade and gluten free and their noodles and baquettes are sourced locally and delivered fresh daily. More over, The Green Cyclo is 80% sustainable, as they only utilize reusable, recyclable or compostable products with a portion of their monthly proceeds being donated to various local charities.
At the time of the Little Green Cyclo’s launch, the San Francisco food truck scene was just beginning, but now S.F. has over 180 food trucks, three of which belong to Monica, Quynh & Susie. Two savory trucks that serve fresh Vietnamese street food and T.ephiphany, the Bay Area’s only boba tea and dessert truck. In addition to the trucks, they also opened L.G.C. Culinary Labs, their very own custom built commercial kitchen.
While I was visiting the truck, I had the opportunity to try the masami free range lemongrass grilled pork with jasmine rice, lettuce, pickled carrots and daikon, cucumbers, cilantro and bean sprouts that came with a gluten-free soy sauce vinaigrette on the side. With every bite, I could literally taste the difference high quality ingredients made. It was extremely fresh, flavorful and clean.
Along with the food trucks, the Little Green Cyclo has started jarring their housemade marinades and dipping sauces, that can be purchased either directly from the truck or at select gourmet markets in the San Francisco area. I was kindly given a jar of the garlic chili sauce to try at home and I have to say, it is probably the best chili sauce I’ve ever had.
Looking to the future, most food trucks have a goal of opening a brick-and-mortar location, but the Little Green Cyclo has already had an interim shop last year as part of a temporary gourmet pop-up market called, “The Hall.” They’re now focusing on opening a few more trucks, to meet their catering demands, while also expanding their line of retail marinades and dipping sauces.
– Bay Area Contributor, Brian Chan