Asian-Fusion Food Truck Hits Manhattan

It only takes three minutes to satisfy an Asian-fusion craving at Sweet Chili, a 1968 Chevy kitchen-on-wheels that recently began service, but it's sweet and spicy recipes have been a lifetime in the making.

Adrian Fussell for The Wall Street Journal

The Sweet Chili food truck.

Adrian Fussell for The Wall Street Journal

A Vietnamese coffee with a plate of sweet chili chicken and bean sprout salad.

Chef and owner Lisa Fernandes, who was also a runner-up recently on Top Chef Chicago, started cooking at 9 years old with her flavor-savvy mother. She has been creating and refining recipes ever since.

Ms. Fernandes describes her cuisine as "Thaietnamese." For $9 customers get jasmine rice with a salad and a protein. Try the Thai-inspired sweet chili chicken: house sweet-chili sauce served over tender chicken that has been seared, stewed until near-braised and topped with scallions. Just a few mouthfuls will leave a slow, lasting burn.

The salads have less kick than some restaurants, but not necessarily for the heat-shy. Try the bean sprouts, garnished with a cool mint-cilantro medley that adds a decidedly traditional complexity. Ask for extra rice to soak up the sauce and an iced Vietnamese coffee for immediate sweet relief— infused with chicory, it's strong, and cheaper than Starbucks SBUX +0.50% .

—Angela Hunt

Sweet Chili; follow @sweetchilinyc on Twitter or visit for locations; serving lunch between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.


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