Kal and Mooy, Toronto’s only East African food truck, is bringing Somali home cooking to the sidewalks of Toronto. Ahmad Duale, a former truck driver, and his wife, Aisha Mohamed, hit the road in their little blue truck in May, finally realizing a long-held goal of taking their favourite recipes out of their kitchen and into the streets.
“It’s a dream that we’ve had, me and my wife,” Duale says. “We love cooking food. We really enjoy cooking food. This opportunity arises, and we just jump on it.”
Though the business (the name translates to ‘mortar and pestle’) is brand-new, the duo have spent years refining their favourite recipes. “It’s something we were working on all these years,” Duale says, adding they’d cook for friends’ parties, or invite them over to taste-test new recipes. “We’d cook and see what they think, how they feel, what was delicious, what’s not. So over the years, we built up a menu.”
Since their first service, they’ve been gradually tweaking their dishes further to suit Torontonians’ palates, arriving at a menu of comforting, grab-and-go food that warms your belly and sticks to your ribs. Their best-known dish: wraps assembled on sabaya, a traditional pan-fried Somali flatbread, topped with your choice of gently-spiced beef, chicken or veggies and a tangy tomato-based sauce.
That beef and chicken is also available over rice; if that sounds too bland, jazz it up at your leisure with their house-made hot sauces – a “milder” green version that puts fresh herbal flavours at the forefront and a bolder red sauce (though both of them pack a wallop). “At the beginning, we made it really, really mild, and then people said ‘Oh. it’s not hot, it’s not hot.’ So we added to it, a little bit hotter, a little bit hotter, and now I think we’ve got the perfect heat. I don’t want people losing their tastebuds, right?”
You’ll also find your choice of beef, chicken and vegetarian samosas, made with house-made dough and topped off with a little more of that fruity-spicy tomato sauce (which Duale says takes between five and 10 hours of simmering to create). “We’re not one of those people who go to warehouses and buy the food – no. Everything, we make from scratch.”
In the two months since they started serving, Duale says, business is still getting off the ground – as one of the few food trucks that shelled out for the city’s curbside parking permit, they’re having trouble finding solid spots to park – but the reaction from diners has been positive. “Every time people eat, who’ve never tasted African food, they’re really shocked. They say it’s amazing food.
“This summer, (we want to) just work on serving the people in Toronto, and introducing Somalian food to them. Hopefully they will enjoy it, and they’ll accept it as part of Canadian culture.”