I can admit when I have a problem. Connecticut has several great food trucks, and I social media stalk a bunch of them. The addiction is obviously the food, then there’s this game of being able to track down the truck or trucks in question. Will I be free? Where will the truck be? What time? And for how long will they be there?
One that I played cat and mouse with recently was The Colombian Hot Dog, a mobile trailer that specializes in Colombian fast food. They were put on my radar by a local photographer friend who spent some time shooting The Colombian Hot Dog crew in action one summer night. He suggested I check them out, but it took a while since the truck is only parked in Norwalk one night per week.
While I waited for the truck’s schedule and mine to finally match up, I made sure to do the whole Instagram follow protocol. It ended up being such a tease! Their photos of Colombian-style hot dogs and burgers stacked high with an array of ingredients captured my attention. The Colombian Hot Dog has more on their menu besides their loaded burgers and dogs; think along the lines of shredded beef or chicken arepas, salchipapas (hot dogs and fries) covered in ketchup and pink sauce, and patacones (fried plantains with beef or chicken). It all sounded (and looked) so good. Truth is, I knew I my future order way ahead of time. A Super Colombian Hot Dog and Super Colombian Burger had my name written all over them. It was all just a matter of when.
I messaged them on Instagram and asked for a few minutes to chat once our schedules coincided. Shortly thereafter, I cruised a few miles down the road to the Norwalk Public Library, where The Colombian Hot Dog parks on Friday nights starting around 6 p.m. It was there that I officially met, Juan Forero, the owner of The Colombian Hot Dog, his aunt, and a few of his cousins. His family all pitches in, in every way possible, to help him run what is a side business.
Forero—who has a full-time career as a high school Spanish teacher at Fairchild Wheeler Magnet School in Bridgeport—mentioned that the truck, now in its second full year in business, was in the works for more than a decade. It all started for Forero—who always loved his country’s take on fast food—when he heard that John F. Kennedy Stadium in Bridgeport had an open concession stand for soccer season. “They were looking for vendors to sell Colombian food, and me being on the Board of Education, I knew about it, so that led to me putting in one of the first bids on the food stand,” he said. “Me being passionate about the fast food industry in Colombia, I knew it was too good of an idea to let go of, so my family and I gave it a shot.”
Building from there, Forero kept the dream alive by selling Colombian hot dogs on weekends at his aunt’s restaurant at 563 Park Avenue in Bridgeport, where The Colombian Hot Dog parks on Saturday nights from 6 – 10 p.m.
If you’ve never had a Colombian burger or hot dog, you’re in for a treat, especially if you have one (or both) from The Colombian Hot Dog. On his truck, Forero offers a standard version of a Colombian hot dog topped with crushed potato sticks, bacon, fried queso, coleslaw, ketchup, pineapple sauce, and pink sauce (mayo based). The upgrade, called The Super Colombian Hot Dog, includes all the base ingredients but piles on even more with additions of ham, shredded cheese, mustard, another “special (secret) sauce, and a hard-boiled quail egg. The best way to describe it? A pop of contrasting flavors; cheesy, creamy, salty, sweet, porky, with texture from the potato chips. The Super Colombian Burger is a fresh beef patty, griddled, topped similarly, with bonuses of lettuce, tomato, and caramelized onions. Both are deliciously messy and the perfect end-of-the-week sigh of relief.
Soon, Forero hopes to grow. “We get a lot of customers that come see us from New Haven, so our next step is to bring the truck there,” he said. “We’re looking to expand this as a family business and eventually branch out and someday get a second truck to really establish ourselves in the Stamford/Norwalk, and Bridgeport/New Haven areas.”