Q&A With Komodo Chef Erwin On Hot Pockets’ Food Truck Bites
I have such warm memories of Hot Pockets. My mom used to make them for me when I’d come home from school and watch cartoons and Saved By The Bell, before I had to retreat and do all my homework. But these days, the warm and toasty treat can be enjoyed with a new modern twist: Hot Pockets’ new Food Truck Bites were developed by actual food trucks, infusing that cutting edge flavor into a old favorite.
One of my favorite chefs got in on the fun, too — Chef Erwin of Komodo Food, which has some of the best fusion tacos you will ever taste, period. He brought his talents to the new Hot Pockets Spicy Asian-Style Beef Rollers, which just sound so yummy. Hot Pockets also teamed with Baby’s Burgers, Toasty Cheese Mobile Eatery, and The Lobos Truck for the rest of the new Food Truck Bites lineup.
Chef Erwin was nice enough to take the time out to answer some questions for us! See the answers below.
What was the inspiration for the Spicy Asian-Style Beef Rollers for Hot Pockets?
Being a Chinese Indonesian immigrant and growing up in LA’s vibrant San Gabriel Valley, a particular region in Los Angeles with thriving authentic Asian communities, I experienced a diverse set of Asian cuisines at a young age—from Cantonese to Thai to Vietnamese. As a child, I was really fortunate to be exposed to so much rich culture and adventure through the food I consumed; Chinese thousand year old eggs, Taiwanese tofu and Cantonese-style BBQ ribs were the most memorable for me. Surely enough, when we were tasked to create a new Hot Pockets flavor, I was immediately drawn to my favorite childhood culinary adventures and aimed to create a variety that reflected the unique tastes and flavors that our fans like best. The Asian-Style Beef Roller is my interpretation of a Hong Kong-style egg roll with a Hoisin/Sriracha-based sauce. I wanted to take the Hot Pockets consumer on a flavor adventure that encompassed the familiar flavors of my childhood and channeled the Komodo menu.
What does it mean to you to have the opportunity to create a Hot Pocket recipe?
Creating a recipe for such an iconic brand like Hot Pockets is an incredible honor. Bringing the unique flavor profiles of food trucks to the masses and introducing people to my style of fusion cooking through such a prominent platform has been an amazing opportunity. What meant the most to us was being able to collaborate on a product that was woven into our childhood—a staple for so many of us over the years—and having the chance to put our signature style on it was the cherry on top.
What were some of the challenges creating a recipe for the well-known brand?
The Nestle Hot Pockets team encouraged us to create our special dish with premium ingredients in mind, so it gave us an incredible amount of creative freedom to create a great, high quality product. The one main challenge was to create a flavor profile that appealed to the general market outside of Los Angeles, but with the help of the HOT POCKETS culinary team, we made a few tweaks to our recipe to ensure our bold flavors made it to consumers and make the final product feasible for a pocket.
What are some of your favorite Hot Pockets?
Nothing beats the classic Ham and Cheese Hot Pockets. It’s my go-to and reminds me of the carefree fun of my childhood.
What are some of your favorite go-to meals?
We love a mix of fresh California cuisine with traditional Asian staples. Our go-to meals are Asian Oxtail soup, Vietnamese Banh Mi Sandwiches and authentic LA street food.