Sameer Siddiqui didn’t know what to make of his wife’s screams when he heard them penetrating the fog of his sleep. It was 5:30 in the morning, and he was eventually able to make out that Meagan was jumping up and down and shouting “Oh, my God!” over and over again.
After taking a moment to get a stronger grip on consciousness and find out what was going on, he was ready to join in the screaming, too.
The couple had just learned that their food truck, Rickshaw Stop, had been named the seventh best food truck in all of America.
The honor came from the food website the Daily Meal, which selected their 101 best food trucks from all over the country. The list stretches from the best in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago to trucks rolling through smaller towns, such as Food Shark from Marfa (No. 44), the Flying Stove from Wichita, Kan. (No. 96), and Bruno’s Gastro Truck from Smith Mountain Lake, Va. (No. 86).
Meagan had been up early to get ready for her other job when she saw a tweet from someone alerting her to the list. She called it up and began going through it slowly as it appears in the story, in reserve order. “Once I got to No. 50 and didn’t see us, I thought, ‘No way. We’re only 2 years old, and they’re putting us up how high?’ Then I reached the top 10 and there were all these names I recognized and I saw ours and I couldn’t believe it. I just started screaming,” she says.
But make no mistake about it. That photo on the website is of the smiling couple as they look out the window of their stainless steel-and-green truck. It appears along with the following note of praise:
Billed as “San Antonio’s only Pakistani food truck,” Rickshaw Stop is a family-owned and operated affair run by Sameer and Meagan Siddiqui with the help of Sameer’s mother Gety, Aunt Bina, and Uncle Shabbir. “Each recipe we use has been created and approved by the entire Siddiqui/Khan family,” their site proudly notes. Rickshaw Stop’s two main items are kebabs and samosas. Sounds simple, but the simplest things sometimes require the most attention, and the Siddiqui/Khan quality assurance team has made sure of that. Rickshaw Stop marinates both their beef and chicken for at least 48 hours “to ensure all of the Pakistani flavors are distributed throughout the meat — no exceptions.” If they don’t, they’ve explained, “the flavor is completely different.” And that’s simply not acceptable. Not when they hold themselves to the standard of serving food you’ll likely only have had if you’re “friends with a Pakistani family or you’ve spent extensive time in Pakistan.” The move here is obvious. Get The Tony and ask for one of each kebab (one beef, one chicken), plus two samosas. For $6 you can get a chicken or beef kebab, marinated in a Pakistani spice mix, char-grilled over an open flame, and served taco-style in thin, flaky Pakistani paratha bread with onions, cilantro, and three sauces: Spicy (cilantro/mint), Sweet & Sour (tamarind), and Mild (yogurt/cilantro).
The writeup certainly captures the basics of the Rickshaw Stop experience, but it doesn’t take into account the work that the Siddiquis have faced in getting San Antonio to try Pakistani food. On a recent Saturday night at the Point Park and Eats on Boerne Stage Road, Meagan patiently answered a steady stream of customers’ questions about the food that ranged from the spice level to what certain food items were. Samosas are like empanadas, she told one customer, who ended up ordering a pair as part of the Tony, the truck’s best-selling item, which is a combination of two kebabs and two samosas. The kebabs are served taco-style over a flatbread with cilantro, onions and sauce.
News of the honor has passed quickly through people who patronize the truck during their weekday lunches at Port San Antonio and Rackspace, which is where Meagan works her other job. It has pleased her to read some of the internal messages people sent out about the Daily Meal’s list, because they were singing the praises of Rickshaw Stop without known Meagan’s involvement in the truck.
It’s been a busy year for the Siddiquis. Last July, they won the Boardwalk on Bulverde’s Food Truck Throwdown. At about the same time they filmed a segment for the Cooking Channel show “Eat Street,” which has aired in Canada and is set to air here later this year. And now the news from the Daily Meal has arrived like a cherry atop the kheer.
Though the couple have had a few days for the news to settle in, they still find it a little unbelievable. “We’re more in awe rather than really understanding what it all means,” she said, before pausing to help another customer.
They do understand one effect of the list: The crowd worked their way through every item on the menu that evening, resulting in a total sellout.
Rickshaw Stop will be at the Point Park and Eats, 24180 Boerne Stage Road, on most Saturdays for the next few weeks at least. To find out a full schedule, click here or follow the truck on Twitter @RickshawStopSA.