A new food truck opened last Wednesday behind the University Co-op, bringing the taste of African cuisine closer to campus.
African Delights offers a small, seasonal menu of West African cuisine and operates between 11:30 a.m. and 2:45 p.m., according to a sign on the front of the food truck. The owner of African Delights could not be reached to comment on their business. The current menu includes items such as Senegalese yassa chicken, fish ball stew and beef patties. Rheal Zackaria, African Student Organization outreach officer, said these are typical West African comfort foods.
“This is the kind of stuff you make for close family and friends,” Zackaria, an economics and Arabic sophomore, said. “My mom sometimes makes chicken yassa when I come back to visit, almost like a welcome home thing.”
Zackaria said the arrival of the food truck makes African culture more available to students, since there are not as many African food options available near campus.
“I know Austin is really well-known for food trucks and everything, but it’s more multicultural around here than I think students realize just because it’s not readily accessible,” Zackaria said. “I’d love to see more food trucks that show off just how diverse Austin is.”
Computer science junior Audra Collins said she tried African Delights earlier this week because she heard good things from friends about the truck.
“I love that it’s a black-owned business bringing something new to the community,” Collins said. “It’s more representation, which is always good.”
Collins said she looked forward to seeing seasonal changes in the menu in the future,because she likes to see local chefs demonstrating knowledge of their food.
“I’ve had a lot of food trucks before, and these people really know their stuff,” Collins said. “I don’t think a lot of people understand how much work it is to produce any menu in a really small space like (food trucks), which is awesome.”
Art history freshman Belle Walston said her visit to the truck made her eager to try it again.
“My friends and I were kind of just rushing for lunch when we tried it, but I’m really glad we did,” Walston said. “The portion was a good size, and it came out really quickly.”
Walston said anyone nervous about trying the food truck should start with the beef patties because they resemble empanadas.
“When I saw them, I thought they were folded kind of the same way and it seemed like one of the more approachable options,” Walston said. “My friends and I were able to share a little bit of everything, and I’m glad we did.”
Zackaria said she recognizes students may be confused, because the truck is not offering foods like collard greens or potato salad, which is often identified with black food culture in America. She hopes the addition of the food truck will allow students to see the diversity within black culture.
“I think there’s a disconnect between how people see black culture in America and black culture across the globe,” Zackaria said. “A lot of people think of black culture as one thing, like it’s just the music and the fashion and those things. There’s more than just black culture in America to celebrate.”