A relatively new food truck to the Champaign-Urbana scene is Maria’s Kitchen which offers Filipino-American cuisine. I found the truck serving dinner in the parking lot at Riggs Brewing Company in Urbana one Saturday night.
I wanted to try a little of everything from Maria’s Kitchen, so I ordered the rangoon appetizer, a combo platter, teriyaki chicken kabobs, three kinds of lumpia, and pancit.
First, I tried the cream cheese rangoons ($2). The crispy, airy wrappers had a little bit of cream cheese inside that had melted to gooey deliciousness. As I ate, the crunchy wonton flaked into tasty chips. The three mini rangoons had a little bit of a soft bottom (probably softened during the drive to my house), but the folds were super crispy. The rangoons were quite small, but they were really good and very easy to eat. The accompanying sauce was a tangy-sweet thick dip, and it was great.
I tried Maria’s Combo ($12.50) which came with a choice of kabob (pork, chicken teriyaki, or shrimp) with two eggrolls, a side of fried rice, and a cup of sweet and sour sauce. I ordered my combo with pork kabobs and added an extra order of chicken kabobs ($6). The pork had several pieces of sweet, chewy meat on a wooden stick. The searing was excellent with incredible bites of rendered fat and a sweet marinaded flavor. The teriyaki chicken kabobs had so much flavor that it was hard to share. There was a wonderful soy flavor without being salty, and the savory chicken had a sweet teriyaki finish. The sticky sauce from the kabobs soaked the rice beneath giving it more flavor.
The fried rice that was included in Maria’s combo was fluffy and not oily at all. The short grain rice was soft and tasted a little bland even with cubed carrots, squishy peas, and tiny egg bites. It was a huge portion of rice, and it was an okay side.
Lumpia is a signature dish for Maria’s Kitchen. The lumpia offerings were beef, pork, chicken, and vegetable. I ordered beef for the two included with my combo, and I added one pork and one veggie ($2.50 for two). All three flavors of lumpia were rolled the same way: very tight and skinny. The beef lumpia had a ground beef middle with specks of carrot. The exterior was wonderfully crisp with an audible crunch, and the inner layers of the wrap had a nice bready chew. The pork one had a big flavors of teriyaki pork with little bits of carrot and green bell peppers. The veggie was awesome; it tasted a lot like the meat ones with hearty, savory flavors and the same pressed texture of the filling but with — obviously — lots more carrots.
I also ordered the pancit ($5.50) which was a lot like lo mein, according to the truck’s cashier. The pancit from Maria’s Kitchen was a good portion of short, soft noodles with a mild oil taste that was delicious. The dish consisted of mostly noodles; there were a few veggies throughout: thinly sliced bell peppers, carrots, and cabbage with an awesome crunch. This was total comfort food, and if you like mild noodles, you’ll love this pancit.
Overall, Maria’s Kitchen is a welcome addition to the Champaign-Urbana food truck scene. Everything I tried from the truck was tasty — and still hot even after a drive home. If you see Maria’s Kitchen parked somewhere near you, go try it.