Food Network’s “Eat St.” will be in the area for several days beginning Friday to film some of our food trucks. The first to be featured is Bem Bom, the Portuguese food truck with chef Francisco “Chico” Mendonca behind the wheel and in front of the stove. I hopped on board the other day to discuss the shoot with Mendonca and to sample some of the specialities he plans to cook at Friday’s shoot.
"Chico" Mendonca takes his time making each dish perfect.Mendonca, who grew up in the Azores of Portugal, has had the truck for two years. Prior to that he was the chef at the nonmoving Cocina 214 in Winter Park, and before that he worked in the actual 214 area code -- Dallas -- at Clair de Lune and Voltaire. He says he prefers cooking in the food truck to cooking in a conventional restaurant. “I like the freedom,” he told me.
Bem Bom (long O on the Bom) means good good in Portuguese, a response to the question “how does it taste?” After sampling some of the food from this truck, I think the name should be adjusted a bit. What’s the Portuguese word for crazy? Because my response to everything I ate was, “This is crazy good good.”
The reason that everything is so delicious is because of the painstaking care Mendonca takes in preparing the food to order. Sometimes people mistakenly equate food trucks with fast food. That may be true for some trucks, but you’d better be ready to idle your engine a bit when you order from Bem Bom. Trust me, it’s going to be worth the wait.