On a sad Tuesday, my roommate invited me out to go to a trailer for food and a review to cheer me up. Apparently, this trailer is another of Austin’s unique food trailer businesses that combines some pretty discrete cuisines into a tasty combination.
This particular trailer, Chi’lantro, is a mix of Korean and Mexican food by taking Korean ingredients and presenting it in a more familiar Mexican vehicle. The name actually comes from a combination of the two cultures: kimchi and cilantro, which are key ingredients to the flavor of these unique burritos.
What is interesting about this trailer is its mobility. Some trailers stay in one place or some alternate every other week, but you never know where the Chi’lantro BBQ trailer is going to be. Once a week, the website updates to let you know where the trailer plans on being that week or you can join their Twitter or Facebook to stay constantly updated. They also only accept cash so be careful. Don’t be caught in the rain and be prepared before going!
When we arrived to get our food, the trailer was actually a little late. You can see a picture of us watching it drive into the parking lot behind the Co-op. From the impression of the trailer, it actually looks pretty neat and clean for a food trailer. The numerous windows create an airy feel and the drinks and counters were clean and presentable. From a hygiene standpoint, I think Chi’lantro is above the usual food trailer cleanliness level.
Trying to decide what to get was a hard choice, but somehow we all ended up with a beef burrito. You can look at their menu on the website to find out all the ingredients, but I am only able to analyze the taste and balance of the ingredients in the burrito. Other menu choices include tacos, quesadillas, hamburgers, and bowls. I don’t know about the latter two choices, but the tacos are tasty and small (picture provided) and quesadillas, from reviews of others, seem to be just average. However, I think both must taste fine if you are interested in sampling the particular cuisine, but especially for the tacos, you get what you pay for. They also provide a variety of chips, soft drinks, bottles of water and even coffee! They even have a small trash disposal on the side for the trash from stuffing yourself with food.
When we ordered, the guy who took our orders was quite nice. There was only him and one other person in the back and I wondered how they handled large numbers of people, but they seemed friendly and the food came quickly. We waited only a little over 5 minutes after ordering before the food started coming out. The order goes by the number you get on a receipt and it’s called out so you pick up your food at a separate window. Now, onto the burrito!
Marinated beef was good and there’s a fair amount. I liked the sweetness of the marinated meat to balance out the salty and savory tastes of the burrito. The cilantro-lime rice used as filler really doesn’t match up with Chipotle’s and that may be because the rice is drowned out by the salsa and other tastes of the food. The spiciness and flavor of the burrito mainly comes from its salsa, lettuce, and their aromatics/trinity/mirepoix of onions, cilantro, and green onions. If you don’t like spicy, you can try taking out the salsa or lettuce which brings the heat to the burrito. I find the spiciness of the burrito to be bearable creating a sort of tickle while you eat, but I definitely suggest a drink when you eat here. I liked the addition of the roasted sesame seeds, but I can’t quite taste it separately from the burrito. Yet I can tell it adds an extra flavor that enhances the burrito as a whole. The citrus is also a background note, but good and also enhances the flavor. There is also a small surprise of a large egg wrapped into the burrito, giving extra flavor and savory taste. The $5 seems a little much for what you get, but it’s slightly over fair price and the food is definitely something you can’t get anywhere else.
Overall, Chi’lantro is a cool place to get some unique Austin food for a fair price. The burritos are definitely tasty and you can certainly get your fill from just one, if not two burritos. There are also a lot of other food choices and apparently Chi’lantro is planning on a huge revamp so be on the look-out for that. I definitely suggest that if you’re tired of the usual stuff on the Drag, come try this place out. It’s only near campus for a short while and, most importantly, bring cash.
Rating: 😛 😛 😛 😛 ½, only thing keeping this from being 5 tongues is because it might not be for everyone and there could be slight improvements on customizability. Example: some commented on having the ability to add a sweet sauce.