When it comes to convenient and delicious Chinese food, many Columbians have high praise for HyVee. Now the brick-and-mortar HyVee stores have gone mobile, thanks to HyChi, HyVee’s Chinese food truck, which rolled out last September.
HyChi manager Scott Jose says there are four HyChi trucks in other states, but that Columbia has the first one in Missouri.
“Everyone that sees the truck is really excited about it. There’s a lot of disbelief,” Jose says. People often take pictures of the truck to share on social media.
HyChi serves a few in-store items, including the two most popular entrees, sesame and General Tso’s chickens, along with crab rangoon and egg rolls. But it also offers truck-only items with a street-food spin, such as stir fry bowls. They also feature dishes such as Mongolian chicken or Korean BBQ beef with rice or noodles.
“They’re easy to walk around with and eat,” says Jose. “But most importantly, they taste good.”
HyChi also has four sushi options: a California roll, crunchy shrimp, salmon roll, and spicy tuna. Don’t have a taste for Chinese? HyChi offers three salads — a Cobb, chicken Caesar, and berry chicken with strawberries. And yes, you get a fortune cookie.
HyChi can be found during lunch hours at various Columbia businesses. At night, you’ll find the truck downtown, catering to the late night crowd of bar goers and night owls. The truck’s evening hours are 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. You can find the truck’s location via Twitter at the handle @hychi_columbia.
Manzo’s Wood-Fired Pizza
Columbia’s other new food truck is Manzo’s Wood-Fired Pizza. It opened in August of last year.
Frequently found at Macadoodles, the truck also travels and is available for events, says part-owner, chef, and managing partner of the truck Aaron Saeler.
Manzo’s is currently the only pizza food truck in town, though technically, it’s a trailer rather than a truck. Owner Aaron Jurgensmeyer had a company in Connecticut build a wood-fired pizza oven into the trailer. Saeler says that even though there are plenty of pizza places in Columbia, wood-fired ones are not the norm.
As you’d expect from the name, Manzo’s serves up hot-from-the-oven wood-fired pizza. Its most popular pie is the Manzo — pepperoni, sausage, ham, mushrooms, onions, black olives, and jalepeños on cheese in secret recipe red sauce.
Manzo’s also serves a calzone creation called the Manzoni, which is kind of like an inside-out pizza. Sub sandwiches, such as a meatball sub named the Gut Check, are another staple.
In addition, the truck offers daily specials such as lasagna and oven-roasted wings coated with a specially blended rub, meant to be enjoyed sans sauce.
“We have a ‘voodoo rub,’ ” says Saeler, “It’s a little sweet and spicy.” He says he’ll continue to experiment and create new daily specials.
Saeler says the response to the truck has been overwhelmingly positive.
“We’re getting more and more repeat customers.”
You can track the truck’s whereabouts on Twitter at the handle @manzospizza or on Facebook.
CoMo Food Trucks
On Twitter @hychi_columbia.
Manzo’s Wood-Fired Pizza
On Twitter @manzospizza. On Facebook. Phone: 573-338-4270.
Jamaican Jerk Hut
(Will reopen in mid March)
On Twitter @JamJerkHut. On Facebook. Phone: 573-694-6086 or 573-353-3664.
Kona Ice Como
On Twitter @COMOKonaIce. On Facebook. Phone: 573-819-5432.
The Big Cheeze
On Twitter @The_BigCheeze. On Facebook. Phone: 573-356-3089.
(Will reopen in early April)
On Twitter @grillabros. On Facebook. Phone: 573-808-6870.
On Twitter @LillysCantina. On Facebook. Phone: 573-355-4831.