Matt Duffy waited a little too long.
He had been working on a unique taco truck — loosely based on the Korean taco trucks popular in L.A. and something Hawaii hadn’t seen — but within a year, several new ones opened up, stealing a bit of his thunder.
Not that he doesn’t have something to set him apart from the rest.
For starters, Shogunai Tacos, which opened earlier this month and sets up shop around downtown and at late-night venues, offers an international assortment of tacos, from Greek to Moroccan to Thai. Duffy has about 17 to 20 different tacos, which he rotates daily to keep the menu fresh.
Then there’s the truck itself.
Custom-made by a company in New Jersey, this food truck is as interesting (visually) as the menu.
It’s stylish and hip, with tattoo-style artwork all over it, strung together by an interpretation of Hokusai’s famous woodblock print, “The Great Wave at Kanagawa.”
Fitting for Duffy, since he spent about four years in Osaka, Japan, where he gets some of his culinary inspiration.
“I wanted to do something international,” said Duffy, 35, who’s actually a trained mortician and deejay. (Long story.) “Not just the normal tacos.”
And so far, he’s succeeded.
Here’s what our recent visit looked like:
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Shogunai Tacos,, Usually Punchbowl and Queen streets in downtown. Hours: Around 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Friday, various other venues. Follow @Shogunai_Tacos on Twitter to get updated times and locations. Phone: 808-256-4020.
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Saw this truck parked downtown last week. Tacos look good Cat. These tacos must be much bigger than Zaratez and Gogi at 3x the price. I’m really enjoying all the new food truck options popping up on Oahu. Thanks for the inspiration to check them out.
@nathankam korean taco truck has the smaller Tortilla shell. matt duffy_shogunai has the way larger Tortilla shell. Take extra napkins, you’re going to need it.
@harrycovair @nathankam Yeah the size of the tortilla Shogunai uses I think is maybe 8 inch which is more in line with what some people are used to from other places that serve tacos. Quite a few people are not used to the smaller tortillas. I say this because I have witnessed some folks kinda staring at tacos they got from Xtreme Tacos and Gogi Truck (not Zaratez, seems like customers there know what they’re getting) as if they were expecting something bigger and/or different. Just to give an example I heard a story that someone got mad at one of the trucks that they were served two of the smaller tortillas stacked in one taco. That’s how they are usually served but this person thought they were “padding” the taco. Um, no… :-\ But yeah Shogunai gives quite a bit in their tacos.
@nathankam Huge. But I still ate it all!
@Cat @808marv @harrycovair got ya. I like those smaller tacos too because they’re easy to eat. But this sounds good too. Excited to try it out. Merry Christmas!
@808marv @nathankam With Xtreme Tacos and Eat Gogi , maybe two bites and one taco is gone. With shogunai_tacos maybe 5 or 6 bites and the taco is immensely larger too.
<Twitter is over capacity again>
Had a chance to check out matt duffy_shogunai on their opening night in front of Soho. Even had the surprise of seeing poneloke there. I had the Korean Taco and fries. Loved the Korean Taco althought it could use more kick but everyone has their own tastes. I’ll definitely go back for more.
Like you said Cat, bring your appetite and take extra napkins.
I was lucky enough to have Shogunai come closer to me at UH a few weeks ago so I didn’t have to chase them down. I wanted to try the Italian but it was not on the menu that night so I opted for the Bollywood, which is chicken in a mild curry sauce with vegetables (you can go to their site for the exact description). I was surprised that it was mild actually because you always think Indian food is a little spicy/hot. But still it was very tasty wth a nice combination of ingredients. Here’s a pic of half of the Bollywood in a flour tortilla. Sorry, I was hungry and realized I hadn’t taken a pic yet. 😛 Lots o’ stuff in there and pretty filling:
I was thinking of trying another taco but opted for the Moroccan pomme frites (fries) instead since I like fries. As Cat said I was also expecting something with a little more kick but the spices added a nice subtle flavor. Unlike Cat I like big crinkly fries. 😀 It’s a pretty good sized bag too.
Anyway it was great to meet Matt and Kamal and I am definitely looking forward to trying more of the menu at Shogunai!
on my list to try: the bollywood, sicilian, ratatouille, thai khao pad. feeling full already.
@nonstopmari the bollywood one is good! and the kho pad! 🙂
@jermel_lynn @nonstopmari I wanna try the Thai. And heard he’s got some new ones to unveil!
@nonstopmari we didn’t get much of a following on the Ratatouille, so we retired it for now, Sorry Mair, but the rest will be ready for your tasting pleasure!
Thanks a ton folks for all the great comments. looking fwd to everyone giving our scrumdiddlyumptious Tacos a try!
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