Recap: Ginger Beef Throwdown

Last Friday, we kicked off our 2013 What the Truck?! season with a Ginger Beef Throwdown. Partnering with the Royal Alberta Museum , the event was organized in conjunction with the current Chop Suey on the Prairies exhibit, which examines the history of Chinese restaurants in our province in the twentieth century.

Although we knew the event would draw a crowd, we never anticipated the sheer number of early birds that staked out a place in line well before the start time. The glorious weather definitely helped, as did the scheduling just before the long weekend, but most of all, I think it speaks to the fact that Edmontonians love food trucks!

Truck Stop: Ginger Beef Throwdown

The line

I have already written about the rationale for our food ticketing system and the “intentional bottleneck” that we created, and in spite of fielding many complaints, I don’t think we could have done it any other way. Given the constraints of the museum space, as well as a desire to streamline food access to enable sampling of multiple dishes, we were happy with how things worked out overall. That said, we could have done a better job in communicating the reasoning behind the system – hopefully those that left hungry and frustrated will give future What the Truck?! events another chance.

Truck Stop: Ginger Beef Throwdown

Controlled chaos

It also bears saying that the trucks just rocked it that night. They pumped out servings like nobody’s business, and continued to push the limits of their capacity. Thanks to The Act , Bully, The Lingnan Express and Smokehouse BBQ for a memorable start to the season!

Truck Stop: Ginger Beef Throwdown

The trucks

As for the food, while we didn’t vote ourselves (The Lingnan took home the crown), we were able to sample Bully’s BLT and The Lingnan’s traditional ginger beef. After the craziness, they really hit the spot! For a more comprehensive look at the dishes that night, check out Teresa and Diane’s posts.

Truck Stop: Ginger Beef Throwdown

Bully’s BLT and The Lingnan’s ginger beef

Partnerships have been vital to What the Truck?! from the beginning, so we appreciated the opportunity to work with the Royal Alberta Museum for the first time. With over 400 people who checked out the exhibit that night, it was counted as a definite success for the RAM!

Without question, this was our most labour-intensive event to date, as we not only had to facilitate the food tickets, but also drink sales. Because of these responsibilities, we could not have run the event on our own, and were indebted to the generosity of our volunteers. Thanks to my Mum, Dad, Felicia, Caleng, Linda, Phil and Robyn for all of your help!

Lastly, thanks to everyone who came – we hope you had fun! We are already in the throes of planning for the next What the Truck?!, which will take place south of the river in June. Stay tuned for more details next week!

5 thoughts on “Recap: Ginger Beef Throwdown

  1. It was great fun, and I thought it was actually very well organized despite the long wait in line. Any other way would have been even more chaotic and frustrating for everyone.

    I voted for the Bully BLT – it sounded so pedestrian, so I was pretty surprised when I found myself realizing it was my favourite of the evening.

    Great job putting this together, you guys. It never ceases to amaze me how you two can come up with an idea, organize the event, and do what seems like little advertising outside of Twitter and Facebook, and then manage to attract such enormous crowds. Thanks, and great work!

  2. I thought this was really well organized as well. My parents were visiting from out of town, so this was a great opportunity to show them the museum (we went early to check out the other exhibits) and a taste of Edmonton’s food truck culture. The ticketing system worked well, and after the initial long line, the waits at the food trucks were short and we were able to sample everything.

  3. Thanks for the kind words, Dave. I am glad you had a great time!
    What the Truck?! is very lucky to have the support from the community that we do. But we only do a part of the work – the hard part is left up to the trucks themselves to cook fantastic food, and they all knock it out of the park!

  4. Thanks for coming out and bringing your family, Sandra! Glad to hear you had the chance to take in the exhibit as well, something I hope to do before it wraps up next year!

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