ChikChak food truck is rolling all over downtown Boston bringing their kosher and authentic Israeli/Middle Eastern fresh foods such as falafel, shawarma, homemade hummus, and much more – the best part is they bring the taste of Israel right into your neighborhood.
Matthew Pultman, co-owner of Boston’s ChikChak Food Truck (formerly Rami’s Food Truck) with Ari Kendall shares what makes their food so special and where they got that name
How’d you and Ari decide to start a kosher food truck?
After college, Ari and I went back to our roots and lived in Israel for a few years. This is where we fell in love with Middle Eastern food. Ari graduated from Le Cordon Bleu and was working as a chef in a vacation hotel there.
We were both longtime fans of Haim Cohen’s Israeli/Middle Eastern restaurant in Brookline, Massachusetts – Rami’s. With the owner’s permission, just over a year ago, we licensed our truck under Rami’s name and started serving a simplified version of their original menu on the Boston streets.
Our customers loved it! We quickly outgrew Rami’s and needed a bigger kitchen to support the volume of falafel and shawarma we were handing out every day. This is when we decided to branch off on our own, build a new kitchen in Brookline, and update the name to ChikChak.
What exactly is “ChikChak”?
“ChikChak” is Hebrew for wanting something done quickly, in a flash – like fast food. When customers come to the food truck they can grab healthy food – on the go.
What inspires the flavor profile at ChikChak?
Our recipes are all authentic and passed down from generations. The food reminds Ari and I of our trips to Israel. Falafel is definitely the most popular seller on the truck, followed by our chicken schnitzel – super thin, breaded and deep fried. Our turkey shawarma is also really popular.
We see so many variations of falafel – what’s the right way to make it?
We’re on a mission to bring the best falafel to Boston – so we take this pretty seriously. Making the perfect falafel means you need to start from scratch. We soak our dried chickpeas overnight in water for at least 12 hours. Then we grind them perfectly and blend in our secret spice mix.
Our standards are ridiculously high. We’re in the kitchen by 8:00 every morning preparing falafel, and all our food fresh from scratch – we make everything in-house right down to our hummus and sauces.
What’s a common misconception about Middle Eastern food?
People often mix up Middle Eastern food with Greek food – sometimes customers will try to order a gyros with a pita. The two cuisines are quite different with different spices, seasonings, and sauces.
ChikChak is exceptionally popular in Boston, what’s next for you guys?
We’re adding a second truck in April and branching out to do more catering. You’ll also catch us on the Chicago food truck scene in the next year, so we’re brushing up on the Chicago food truck scene – it’s a lot different than in Boston! In Boston, food trucks have designed spots regulated by the city – so customers always know where to find us – even in the winter. Unlike Chicago, where you need to fight for your space starting at 4am.
What advice do you have for food truck owners?
You need to know what you’re getting into – get ready for 80-hour weeks. As food truck owners, we’re all entrepreneurial-minded, and we see some owners wanting to cut corners. You need people doing a great job running both the kitchen and the food truck.
A ChikChak thanks to Matthew for our falafel-fix. Learn more about the ChikChak food truck, in this fun video, and track their location on Twitter at @ChikChakBoston.