Sunday, November 7, 2010

dosa truck - sd copper chimney

From dosa truck

[[Update (4/2011) - Copper Chimney has moved inside! Check their website for more info]]

Aw man I know this cool truck dude it has the most authentic Oaxacan Mayan Wrapped Banana Chutney you have JUST got to try it man, the thing is it's sooo underground nobody like you would ever go there, it's only for those in the know.  You know?

I'm tired of these kind of things and posts and food places.  Whenever I read them I go there and there are like 30 hipsters with beards and scarves on milling around sulking about how authentic everything is at the truck and how nobody else in the world gets them or gets how good this food is.  And the food isn't usually out of this world.

From dosa truck

Enter Dosa Truck San Diego aka Copper Chimney San Diego.  OK OK on where you should never go for recommendations because there are only 5 people who post things they say this truck is really good.  It's true it's good.  But why do you have to say how authentically South Indian it is?  Whoever posts this kind of garbage is the reason the Internet cannot be trusted to do anything useful.  You don't have to make yourself feel good about yourself because you say "wow, I have been looking and looking for some real authentic Hyderabad cuisine ever since I read the wikipedia article on Hyderabad cooking..." - it's either some hipster who likes to look for the most random food type they can find or it's a person from Hyderabad who has it in for Punjabi food taking over most people's concept of what Indian food is or who is just angry that Hyderabad gets shafted in the USA because nobody knows what it is.  Or it's one of those vegetarian anarchists who smoke, you know, there is so much to be said about vegetarian anarchists who smoke, maybe another time.

From dosa truck

What is it about Indian restaurants in the USA?  There must be a book somewhere that every person who opens an Indian restaurant reads and in it it must say something like:  "Americans only like food without spice or flavor.  Americans only eat food they know so only offer Chicken Tikka and Chicken Tikka Masala.  Americans will only eat Indian food if the entree is $13.95 or higher."

Everytime I go to Fillipi's in Little Italy I see tourists from either Japan or Europe with a guidebook that probably says "for authentic Italian food go to Filippi's in Little Italy."  Is it the same for Indian restaurants?

In Dubai there's a district called Karama that has like 6000 Indian restaurants, though maybe "sub-continent" is a better term because each restaurant has a different focus for their food, most anyway.  I know that the UAE has a lot of Indian/Western Asian folks in it, I used to live there, and accordingly they have an incredible number of incredible Indian/SC restaurants, the best in the world I'd risk to say, but...the USA also has some people of Indian/subcontinent persuasion/extraction and some people who've been out of the country for enough time to develop a decidedly non-vanilla palate but why are there never any decent Indian restaurants?

From dosa truck

I've looked!  NYC, LA, the Bay Area and now my new home San Diego, there are none.  NONE!

Why does Emirates airlines Indian lentil breakfast beat the pants out of anything I've had here in the States?  It's airplane food!  But it does, sadly, by far.

From dosa truck

Why complain?  In the hopes that someone tells me:  NO!  What are you crazy, haven't you ever eaten at XYZ restaurant??  Or in the hopes that someone says:  you are right, I know Indian food, I will open a restaurant tomorrow!

This is a very long introduction to the Dosa Truck.  An experience of good/great proportion and a welcome sight in SD.

Allen runs it.  He told me he's from South India, and serves Southern Indian food.

From dosa truck

The first time I went there I asked him for a spicy dosa and told him to make it extra spicy.  His eyes widened and he asked are you sure?  I told him please.  I grew up in Dubai.  He told me "No problem, when you eat this you will close your eyes and when you open them you'll see the Taj Mahal."

I'm not going to say the spicy dosa was out of this world but it was pretty delicious and very spicy (though far from some of the London/Dubai spice levels I've had even without asking to make it extra spicy).

From dosa truck

The spicy dosa is quite good, it has a chili pepper and onion filling and tastes just like that, chili paste and onion wrapped up in a semi-crunchy crepe like dosa (rice flour crepe basically) and served with a selection of dipping sauces and gravy.  The sauces range from spicy chili based ones to sweet coconut ones and all will make you go "what spice is that! it's strange and good!"

From dosa truck

Get a spicy dosa!

From dosa truck

I've also had the Masala Dosa, with the intention of comparing several around SD but I'm super lazy.  I'm not usually a fan of the masala dosa, though it looks really cool, a long hard dosa crepe rolled like an architecture student's portfolio bag and filled in the center with a very slightly spiced (almost imperceptible yet still delicious) potato mixture.  The potatoes are not mashed completely but are a bit and fluffed, though the bits of whole potatoes are cooked so well they melt in your mouth.  This is also served with the sauces and gravy.  Tear some off, dip, eat, do what you like, nobody really cares.

Masala Dosa!

From dosa truck

The Dosa truck is open sporadically and you should call Allen to make sure he's there (619 997 6946).  It's a truck on the side of the road with some grassy areas where you can sit and eat.

From dosa truck

It's got a haphazard way of running things, you go up, hope to be noticed, order, hang out somewhere, think that you've been forgotten, then get served, eat, clean up, then pay (or not!).

Allen has a unique payment system as well - if you are a student who doesn't have a lot of cash, he says to eat for free now and pay him when you get a job later in life.  A good system!

From dosa truck

It's a unique truck too.  He has a changing menu, usually a couple of biryanis (chicken and rice dish) and several Chinese dishes with Indian twists (one Indian American girl was commenting on eating it outside the truck:  "this is just like Chinese food from Mumbai")

The crowd is a mix of Indian patrons and random food people/med students who are still clinging on to coolness while in residency.

From dosa truck

When I was there two different Indian people approached me, surprised, and asked if I really liked Indian food (in a nice way, I guess they haven't talked to many non-Indians who dig it?).

I love Indian food.  I love good food.

Keralan, Goan, Hyderabadi, Sri Lankan, Northern, Mugul, Pashtun, Gujarati, Chinese, Sikh, whatever.

From dosa truck

Go get some from Allen.  If you don't have money pay him later.

Here's his website and his contact information:

"Truck This Week Near AM/PM Black Mtn /Kearny Villa/ Caroll centre Inter-section.
Monday Dinner5pm/9pm 
Fridays   5pm/900pm! 
Saturdays    1pm/9 00pm! 
Sundays 1pm to 4pm.
Please come very Hungry.  
Other Weekdays Closed for caterings.
 Call Allen 619 997 6946"

From dosa truck


  1. As a physician still clinging on to coolness (and shreds of my Indian heritage), I need to fly down there STAT and eat some dosa on the grass. I'll dress as a hipster just for you.

  2. Spice is not flavor you freaks! Flavor is flavor. Spice is for clearing sinuses. Maybe if you hadn't burned off your tastebuds you could still appreciate the taste of things.

    Indian food is delicious, especially south indian, but geez it only needs a dash of chili, not the whole bottle.

    - Americans

  3. Spice is very much about flavor, Anonymous 1.

    - Other Americans

  4. You should give Sarati Farsan Market a try for some Indian snack food.
    The US is pretty much a complete wasteland when it comes to Indian food and San Diego is balls. Sarati and Punjab are the way to go.
    The mysore masala dosa at Sarati makes me happy though.