Chow Down In Milwaukee

Restaurant Reviews

Lumpia City - A Twist on Philippino Spring Rolls

On Saturday, August 26th, I went to the Lumpia City food truck, stationed that day in the parking lot of Third Space Brewing.

The owners, Samantha Kilmaszewski and Alexa Reyes, say they’ve been to quite a few micro-breweries since they debuted their truck to Milwaukee in May of this year. The Lumpia City food truck has also been featured during the Food Truck Tour, the Pabst grand opening, and the Greendale art gallery night, just to name a few.

With Samantha being from Milwaukee, and knowing that it’s a city with a growing food truck industry, both her and Alexa thought moving their truck from San Diego, California to Milwaukee, Wisconsin would be a good business move. Since arriving, they realized it was the right move after all. Samantha says that business “has been better than we ever expected. The publicity has been great and because of that, we’ve had a steady growth in business.”

Lumpia is a spring roll of Chinese origin and commonly found in the Philippines. It usually contains either meat or vegetables. Lumpia City sticks with tradition, but also puts their own twist into the mix. “We try to incorporate recipes through different cultures,” says Samantha. “We have an Italian one, the mac and cheese, which is American, we have a Greek one; we have over a dozen types of rolls that we make.”

When I visited Lumpia City, I was given the opportunity to taste their three staples: the Mac and Cheese, the Siracha Pork, and the Poblano Chicken. With those, they gave me all three of their dipping sauces: the Cilantro Lime Aioli, the Sweet Chili, and the Fry sauce, which is a mixture of ketchup and mayonnaise. Also on the side, they gave me their shoe-string fries that were topped with the fry sauce and a mixture of cheeses.

All three rolls had a crunchy, yet flaky outer layer which portrayed a light and airy feel to the roll. They’re fried just enough to achieve that beautiful golden brown outer shell.

I tried the Mac and Cheese roll first and it was delicious. The noodles were cooked to the right texture, just between soft and al dente. The cheese certainly wasn’t overpowering; it had a lighter taste, so perhaps they used a mixture of sharp cheese and smooth white cheese instead of just the full-bodied cheddar. Typically, when I eat mac and cheese, there’s never a crunch to it; but with the mac and cheese being encased in a flaky spring roll, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the noodle and crunch combination.

I then dipped it in the Cilantro Lime Aioli sauce and immediately tasted the citrus essence of the lime. The creaminess of the aioli complimented the melted cheese, while the cilantro spice definitely drew a good curve on your emblematic mac and cheese.

Next, I tasted the Siracha Pork with carrots. The pork was very tender and the siracha was a great pairing. I didn’t taste the strength of the hot sauce until after I swallowed my first bite. After that, it left the kick of heat on my tongue. If you want to cool it down a bit, dunk it in the Sweet Chili sauce; the sweetness of the sauce emerges, freshening up the heat of the siracha. In addition to the sweet chili sauce, the fry sauce is a great addition to the pork. What I liked a lot is that with every bite you get a small taste of carrot, which creates a nice crisp flavor throughout the entire roll.

Then it was time to try the Poblano Chicken with poblano peppers, corn and Mexican cheese. All these ingredients combined reminded me of a Mexican dish; it was like an ultra-miniature chimichanga. The chicken was finely shredded and had a great grilled taste to it. There wasn’t much corn, but when you did get a kernel, it popped with flavor; overall the corn mixed well with the chicken.

Because of the neutral taste of chicken, when I dipped the roll into the sweet chili sauce, I could taste both the sweetness and the semi-hotness of the sauce – I get the best of both worlds. However, for this spring roll, the Cilantro Lime Aioli is the way to go. The tang of the lime and the spice of the cilantro pair perfectly with the chicken. It heightens the flavor of the meat and you can really taste the citrusy lime flavor.

A companion of mine went with me that night; he ordered the Pizza roll, which contains sausage, pepperoni, and onion. With the first bite, I was immediately overcome by the taste of the sausage which had a hint of spiciness to it. They’re grand size chunks of sausage too, you can’t miss it. What I did struggle to find was the pepperoni. When I found a slice, I was expecting the same supreme flavor I initially got from the sausage. Instead, it seemed the sausage was masking the flavor of the pepperoni. As far as the cheese, it was melted just enough to slightly stretch when I took a bite.

Justin Gagnie says, “there’s just the right amount of marina.” I didn’t think there was much marinara at all. That’s why I wish they would offer additional sauce on the side for those who want it. Overall, the sausage reigned supreme in this roll.

Finally, we finished our meal with the shoe string fries. I always dip my fries in ketchup, but I’ve never tried dipping my fries in mayonnaise, or a mayonnaise mixture. However, the fry sauce that was drizzled over the fries was perfect. The mayo-ketchup combination worked surprisingly well. I found Justin dunking his already covered fries in more fry sauce. They were perfectly fried, not limp at all and not too crispy. If I wasn’t full already, I would have ordered another batch of fries.

Samantha and Alexa said their favorite part about owning a food truck is meeting the people from Milwaukee that don’t know much about lumpia and want to hear the story behind it, being able to move because it’s different everywhere they go, and the capability of switching up the menu.

--Amanda Maniscalco--


Traveling Food Truck
FB: @lumpiacity
Hours unavailable
Street parking or festival/grounds parking.
Reservations not required

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