The PhoWheels food truck is bringing to the Taste of Annandale Vietnamese food with a Texas accent.
The owners, Kimberly Nguyen and her brother Huy, live in Anndandale but hail from Houston, which boasts the second-largest Vietnamese community in the country.
Their most popular items are tacos – with pork belly, garlic chicken, or mushroom and tofu; plus pickled radish and carrots, cilantro, and sriracha lime aioli – served in a roti, which is a flaky, buttery version of a soft taco shell.
“Our food is not necessarily authentic Vietnamese,” Kimberly says. “We use a lot of the same ingredients but it’s prepared differently.”
Their banh mi sandwich comes on a French sub or custom-ordered croissant. Fillings include a choice of protein, plus cilantro, cucumber, garlic aioli, and pickled carrots and daikon.
Options for the Vietnamese soup known as pho include eye round steak, meatballs, or chicken. Basil, onions, lime, noodles, beef-bone broth, and spices round out the dish. Extras include shrimp chips and eggrolls.
The Nguyens launched the PhoWheels food truck in 2012. It circulates around the entire Washington, D.C., region, with frequent lunchtime stops in Clarendon, Tysons Corner, Reston, Herndon, and Fairfax.
They also own Balo Kitchen, one of the eateries in the food hall, known as The Block, next to the Annandale Kmart. PhoWheels used to park by the Kmart regularly, but no longer does so as the Nguyens don’t want to compete with Balo Kitchen, although the two have entirely different menus.
In addition to a regular daily route, PhoWheels also stops at swimming pools, including the Annandale Swim & Tennis Club; outdoor movie nights in Arlington and D.C.; and, of course, community festivals, like the Taste of Annandale. “We’re everywhere,” says Kimberly.