|Yes, you read that right: Irish-Eritrean.|
Alan Hyland, who originally comes from a small town near Galway, had spent the past couple of years bouncing around the idea of starting up a food truck specializing in Irish food -- "sort of like a chippie," he explains, the kind of food stand you find parked outside the bars, filling up drinkers mid-session.
Along the way, Hyland began chatting about his plans with an Eritrean guy in his apartment building named Absulam Abdai, who himself was plotting out his own ideas for an Eritrean food truck. "Just the effort to get going, and the need to pool resources, had us saying, 'Let's team up and we'll see where it gets us,'" Hyland says.
This is how Éire Trea, the world's first Irish-Eritrean food truck, came to be. Since November, Hyland and Abdai have been making irregular appearances so far while they wait for the DPW to issue their permits to park on the street. So far, Éire Trea has popped up at places like the Lunch Box (a food-truck pod at First and Mission streets) and outside Danny Coyle's. The pair are looking for other spots near Irish bars, as well as in Oakland, the heart of the Bay Area's Eritrean community.
So far, there's very little fusing of the two cuisines. The menu lists dishes like battered sausages, Irish curry with chips -- Irish curry tastes similar to Japanese curry, Hyland says -- and shepherd's pie, alongside chicken doro-wat or vegetable stew served over injera bread. They've attempted a couple of fusion experiments, such as shiro (ground-chickpea stew) nachos, and have a few more ideas they're playing around with, but it's still early days. Abdai and Hyland just moved into a new commercial kitchen shared by an Irish baker, so they may start selling fresh baked goods as well.
With no regular parking spots to date, you'll have to follow Éire Trea on Facebook
to track them down. And if you've tried their food, let us know -- SFoodie confesses our minds are still blown by the concept of Irish-Eritrean fusion.