Simply off Freeway 99, midway between Fresno and Bakersfield, lies the small group of Goshen. It’s largely identified for its ethanol plant, however among the many warehouses and agricultural provide shops that line its business streets, there’s a jewel of a joint whose reputation goes effectively past even state traces: a meals truck that serves Lao fried hen and rice.
The truck sits within the parking zone of a giant retailer that sells plastic dinosaurs, stuffed animals, and novelty objects for merchandising machines. Girl Rooster & Rice is hand painted in candied purple letters on its entrance. Girl Rooster is known as for the lady who created the deep fried Lao hen recipe that’s so widespread right here.
“I name her Girl. She’s my Girl,” stated Bounthong Sang, who runs the enterprise. He was speaking about his spouse, Bounleuk. Bounthong did not give her the nickname, although. Fame did. Nicely, fame among the many locals right here in Goshen who love her hen.
“They didn’t know her title. They name, ‘Oh that’s Girl Rooster,’” he stated.
The meals truck serves as many as 500 clients a day. It’s open from 9 a.m. to five p.m. and features kind as quickly as the primary batch of hen is out of the fryer.
Bounthong says he’s met vacationers from as far-off as Virginia and Texas who discover rave opinions on Yelp or different meals apps. However there are additionally loads of regulars like Tony Solis, a UPS driver who comes right here not less than as soon as every week.
“Nice meals, good value, pleasant folks, superior,” Tony stated.
The pleasant folks embrace Bounthong’s staff whom he calls household regardless that they’re from Mexico and he’s from Laos. Ramona Villa, who was contained in the truck prepping the $3 plates of golden brown hen and sticky rice, stated they keep busy all day.
“We by no means cease cooking till it’s time to go residence,” she stated. Ramona has a big colourful tattoo slightly below her neck that stated Robert.
“My husband,” she stated, trying down on the phrase and smiling. Robert. Girl Rooster. Love is written throughout right here.
Talking of affection, folks additionally return for the do-it-yourself inexperienced jalapeno sauce that goes with the hen, she stated.
“Everyone all the time comes again time and again and that’s the very first thing they all the time say is, ‘the chile,’” she stated.
Villa packed two wrapped plates in a brown paper lunch bag, threw in a pair containers of sauce and handed them to Marbella Sotelo. Marbella ran the money register and took orders, typically in English and typically in Spanish.
“Un pollo con arroz, unas spring rolls, y…gracias,” she stated to a buyer.
She stated everybody who works right here is aware of how you can do all of the duties: ring up orders, make rice, deep fry the egg rolls, deep fry the hen, twice. The second time it’s fried at the next temperature to make it further crispy, she stated.
“I feel it’s the flavour you already know, they’ve bought one thing,” she stated, explaining why the hen is so widespread. “The hen, you already know, it’s a great taste and the way in which that they prepare dinner, it’s crispy, and comfortable inside. So it’s actually good.”
Other than the hen, recent spring rolls are additionally on the menu. Egg rolls, too. That’s why Erendira Aranzazu comes right here. Typically.
“Extra usually than I ought to!” she stated, laughing loudly. “Very, excellent meals. You possibly can style the authenticity of it, and my favourite are the egg rolls. Egg rolls by far are the perfect on the town. For positive. Arms down.”
A number of different clients in line shared why they go to:
“It’s shut by, the meals is nice, and the women are pleasant,” stated one lady ordering for herself and her co-workers who work at a close-by grocery retailer.
“High quality, I suppose you would say. As a result of I’ve tried quite a lot of hen and rice and it’s not the identical,” stated a younger man named Brian.
“The authenticity of it. It’s not like anything. You possibly can’t actually get this anyplace else apart from right here,” stated Jonathan Zavaleta.
Bounthong is aware of he’s bought a great factor going right here. Regulars he greets day by day, individuals who come from far-off to benefit from the meals, staff he views as household, and a preferred hen recipe created by the lady he loves. He stated he by no means stops telling her. “Oh, perhaps I say ‘Hey Girl, I really like you.’ One thing like that on a regular basis,” he stated. “Now we have to.”
Need to, he stated, as a result of how are you going to run a preferred meals truck with out letting the lady behind it know the way a lot she’s appreciated. With out Girl Rooster, he stated, there could be no Girl Rooster & Rice.