Are two locations (the most recent with Waterfront dining), a packed house, and a constant line for their grub what vibrant female owners Kamala Saxton and Roz Edison had in mind when they started their Korean Hawaiian taco truck in 2009?
Labeled as the best food truck in America by Good Morning America, Marination Mobile hit the Seattle food truck scene and instantly gained popularity. I remember queuing up for one of their first Wednesday appearances at the Fremont Canal, only to find one of the Senior Vice Presidents at my company just ordered the last signature kalbi taco and kimchi rice bowl. He was clearly leading by example and I quickly learned to make an early weekly appearance at the truck to get my fill. Marination’s Wednesday Fremont stop is Saxton’s and Edison’s longest running location.
Big Blue, as the truck is affectionately referred to by their cult following, set up its first brick and mortar roots about two years ago in Capitol Hill. Marination Station, located on the corner of Pike and Broadway, has got a handful of bar stool seats surrounding the window perimeter with some outdoor seating when weather permits. The takeout joint offers the same menu items as the truck: Spicy pork tacos, kimchi quesadillas, and the occasional guest appearance of SPAM musubi. One popular addition is the spicy pork torta.
Marination Ma Kai, whose name appropriately means along, near, or by the sea, has set up shop at the West Seattle Water Taxi Loading Dock. In addition to offering the truck’s full menu, Makai offers breakfast until 2pm, an extended lunch/dinner menu, and shave ice. $6.50 gets you two breakfast sliders made with in-house Portuguese sausage, scrambled eggs, in Hawaiian sweet bun. For two bucks more, try the Loco Moco, The Hawaiian Classic: A ground beef patty served on white rice with a kalua pork gravy, and two fried eggs.
During the day, grab a seat at the bar to get your dose of sports and booze or take your drink and grub to one of the tables that overlook the water and give you one of the grandest city views in Seattle. My drink of choice is the Spicy Bloody Mary, which comes with house-infused lemograss vodka and its own cube of SPAM (olives as an accompaniment are so 2012).
Thinking Marination’s two permanent spots help take the edge off the truck lines? Optimistic thought, but after hitting up one of Big Blue’s weekly Friday appearance in the International District to test out that hypothesis, I am realizing the truck’s popularity only continues to grow. Craving seafood because you are on the water? Makai has got you covered. In fact, the fish and chips and fish tacos are my favorite items on the menu, with the mammoth-sized pork katsu as a close runner-up.
First published in Seattle Weekly’s Voracious on January 22nd, 2013.