Japanese Curry from an American Icon

"Tomo" owner and founder of Luckdish Curry

“Tomo” owner and founder of Luckdish Curry

It isn’t often that you see a classic Airstream trailer rolling through the streets of LA. Back in the 60’s and the 70’s it was fairly common to see this shiny aerodynamic silver bullet traveling along Interstate 5 and 10.

Imagine my surprise when I first saw this American icon converted into a mobile kitchen. Named Luckdish, this restaurant on wheels serves dishes based on the popular food staple in Japan – curry.

“To be successful, you must be daring, be first and be different.”  This famous saying was uttered many times by the late McDonald’s CEO Ray Kroc. In fact, owner Tomohiro “Tomo” Seo set foot to be daring, be first, and be different by doing business in an Airstream trailer vs a standard food truck on wheels. He has this saying posted on a sign on the inside of  his trailer reminding himself of his mission.

Since Airstream trailers are too pricey in LA, Tomo scoured the Internet and discovered an affordable 1968 Airstream trailer in Michigan. He hauled that back to LA and converted that into a mobile kitchen. Unfortunately, it took a year before the Department of Health Services certified it for use in LA.


Martel McCoy preparing the dishes as Tomo takes the orders

Martel McCoy prepares the dishes as Tomo takes the orders

Luckdish has been in business for 2 ½ years. When Tomo first started, he initially served three types of Indian curry over rice. His Japanese countenance confused his customers as some wondered why a native of Japan served Indian curry. Tomo decided to abandon Indian style curry and revert back to the type of curry he enjoyed growing up in Japan. Instead of using a mix, he created a quality version by adding specific spices and simmers that for 48 hours. He triples the normal amount of onions and adds garbanzo beans so that his curry sauce has more flavor and is thicker than most Japanese curry sauces.

Luckdish’s curry is available in varying levels of heat intensity – levels 1-5. Level 1 is regular curry. Levels 2-3 adds garlic chili oil. Level 4 includes cayenne pepper. Finally, level 5 includes the additional of a habanero sauce. Tomo admits that level 5 is too hot for him to enjoy. Toppings for the curry include grated cheese, spicy wasabi mayo, fried garlic bits, crunchy tortillas bits, guacamole and furikake.

Chicken Curry Burrito

Luckdish’s #1 Customer Favorite – Chicken Curry Burrito

Because the curry is simmered so long, it does not drip when you are eating the Curry Burrito. As a result, you are able to eat it without making a mess. Luckdish adds cilantro, lettuce and rice which makes it a Japanese Mexican fusion creation. I think the flavors and the execution works quite well.

Chicken curry tacos

Chicken Curry tacos

Chicken curry quesadillas

Chicken Curry Quesadillas

Luckdish's #2 customer favorite - Chicken Curry Bowl

Luckdish’s #2 customer favorite – Chicken Curry Bowl

If you want to experience Luckdish’s offerings, they regularly roll into the South Bay during lunch on the 2nd Monday of the month from 11:30am – 2:00pm  You can find them at Karl Storz, 2151 E Grand Ave. El Segundo. Tomo also announces the next day’s location on Twitter.

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About the Author

Follow Bryan on twitter for the latest and greatest in food trucks and street food. @btsunoda.

3 Responses to “Japanese Curry from an American Icon”

  1. Nicely written article Bryan! Thank you for another wonderful description of a great food stop!
    The Chicken Curry Bowl looks like a choice for me!

    Thanks! See you on Twitter!

  2. Big Arigato for great article Brian! I do really
    appriciate your help. Can’t wait to see you again
    at KarlStorz on next month!

  3. Thank you both for the kinds words. My goal is to write and capture via photos with the reader’s interest in mind.