Rolling Sushi: A Peek Into The Funcitonality Of Food Trucks

29 May

Saturday had approached and I was in a situation that most other students and professionals would admire: I had no plans for obligations for the day.  With this in mind I headed down to my home town in Orange County, Huntington Beach, with a friend who had stayed over the night before.  Stomach’s grumbling and fresh sushi on our minds, I decided we go to a sushi truck that is propped up right on Pacific Coast Highway called Rolling Sushi, a truck offering sushi favorites and frozen yogurt.  The environment was ideal for my observation seeing as how the area was littered with a diverse crowd taking advantage of the mild and sunny weather along the coast.  Before approaching the food truck several anthropological prerequisites raced through my mind.  Being sure to be reflexive in my thoughts, I decided to take a more etic positionality, one that is more detached and that includes less interaction with the subjects (the other customers).  One of the first phenomena that I noticed and that was very prevalent was related to the ergonomics of dining at a food truck.  With bags, frisbees, towels and the like, beach-goers had trouble juggling (no pun intended) their items while handling their orders.  This issue didn’t end at the food truck, though.  The next task was to find a place to consume their cold rolls, with most leaving my field of vision to find a place.  Some propped themselves up on various statues and staircases, as I did while I ate my spicy cucumber roll which was tasty and perfectly filling.  When reflecting on this seemingly detrimental problem of ergonomics, I found that it really is a classic pro/con situation.  Food trucks have the highly valuable asset of being quick, convenient and approachable.  There is no one waiting on you and you can literally depart to your next destination seconds after receiving your food and even eat it on the way, something I also observed; several patrons returned to the beach after receiving their sushi and yogurt treats.  On the other hand, when you already have items in your possession (ie a briefcase, bag, package, etc.), in this case beach materials, it is quite a hassle to deal with your items as you squint at the menu and find a free hand to handle your sushi…and miso soup if your confident as a balancing act.  All in all, it seems as if the pros outweigh the cons among hungry passers-by.  A better conclusion could be made, though, if I also observed the restaurant experience as well.

-Evan Weiner


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