Soca food truck: Caribbean comfort food blends spices with culture

Credit: Dayton.com

Credit: Dayton.com

A recent addition to Dayton’s food truck scene specializes in Caribbean comfort food.

Shafton Greene and his brother, Ricardo Modeste, were born in Trinidad and Tobago and have incorporated their heritage into the food.

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The truck is filled with the aroma of curried dishes cinnamon, cloves, star anise and fresh herbs they grow at home – basil, cilantro and “big leaf” thyme.

“Our passion is cooking for others to taste our culture,” said Greene.

This week we feature Soca Food Truck in our food truck spotlight to help the community get to know the stories behind some of Dayton’s most beloved food trucks.

A combination of curried potatoes, chickpeas and a choice of chicken, beef or goat is combined inside roti, a flatbread with origins in Trinidad. This is one of the Caribbean dishes sold on the Soca food truck. LISA POWELL / STAFF
A combination of curried potatoes, chickpeas and a choice of chicken, beef or goat is combined inside roti, a flatbread with origins in Trinidad. This is one of the Caribbean dishes sold on the Soca food truck. LISA POWELL / STAFF

Credit: Lisa Powell / Staff

Credit: Lisa Powell / Staff

Name of food truck: Soca Food Truck

When did business begin? The food truck started in June.

What is your signature dish and why is it special?

Our signature dishes are the Roti and the Doubles.

Roti is a Trinidad version of flatbread filled with curried potatoes and chickpeas and choice of curried chicken, beef or goat.

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Doubles are discs of flatbread made with turmeric, fried and top with curried chickpeas with shaved cucumber and shadobeni sauce (made with cilantro) tamarind sauce and Scotch Bonnet pepper sauce on the side.

The Soca food truck's Roti is flatbread folded around a combination of curried potatoes, chickpeas and choice of meat, similar to a burrito. LISA POWELL / STAFF
The Soca food truck's Roti is flatbread folded around a combination of curried potatoes, chickpeas and choice of meat, similar to a burrito. LISA POWELL / STAFF

Credit: Lisa Powell / Staff

Credit: Lisa Powell / Staff

They are special because they are our native food from Trinidad and Tobago.

You can do veg or chicken, goat, beef. Both items are made with a mild curry sauce and come with potatoes and chickpeas.

Who are the owners? (provide a little about your background/ what got you cooking)

Myself, Shafton O. Greene and my brother Ricardo Modeste are the owners.

We have over 30 years of cooking experience and management. We were both born in Trinidad and Tobago. Our passion is cooking for others to taste our culture.

Ricardo Modeste, co-owner of the Soca food truck, creates a dish. LISA POWELL / STAFF
Ricardo Modeste, co-owner of the Soca food truck, creates a dish. LISA POWELL / STAFF

Credit: Lisa Powell / Staff

Credit: Lisa Powell / Staff

What is the inspiration behind the name?

The inspiration for the name comes from our native Soca music. Soca music is a genre of music that originated in Trinidad and Tobago in the early 1970s and developed into a range of styles during the 1980s and after. Soca is an offshoot of Calypso with influences from Latin and Cadence.

What’s the make and model of your vehicle?

2001 Chevy P30. It was previously used as a linen truck.

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Best thing about operating a food truck?

The best thing about operating a food truck is that you get the chance to introduce so many people to this wonderful cultural food that they may have never got the chance to taste. We get a chance to share our culture in our food to so many people. And also run it with family.

Shafton Greene and his brother, Ricardo Modeste, were born in Trinidad and Tobago and have incorporated their heritage into their business, Soca food truck. They grow "big leaf" thyme and other spices at home to use in their dishes.  LISA POWELL / STAFF
Shafton Greene and his brother, Ricardo Modeste, were born in Trinidad and Tobago and have incorporated their heritage into their business, Soca food truck. They grow "big leaf" thyme and other spices at home to use in their dishes. LISA POWELL / STAFF

Credit: Lisa Powell / Staff

Credit: Lisa Powell / Staff

Hardest thing about operating a food truck?

I would say the hardest things are not making all the foods that we can make for our guests. We have many different foods that we would like to make. But we have to take it slow.

Some foods may be a bit much for people to try. We have to introduce them slowly.

Also, putting gas in the generator and the truck after events. We always forget to do that.

Food truck or personal motto?

It’s not just food. It’s a culture.

Shafton Greene and his brother, Ricardo Modeste, were born in Trinidad and Tobago and have incorporated their heritage into their business, Soca food trucK. LISA POWELL / STAFF
Shafton Greene and his brother, Ricardo Modeste, were born in Trinidad and Tobago and have incorporated their heritage into their business, Soca food trucK. LISA POWELL / STAFF

Credit: Lisa Powell / Staff

Credit: Lisa Powell / Staff

Do you have gluten-free/vegetarian/vegan options?

Smoked Jerk Spring Rolls (Veg/Vegan), Roti (Veg option), salads and more coming soon. Some dishes can be served with rice to make them gluten-free.

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What is the best way people can find you/contact you?

Instagram, Facebook or by phone, Shafton (937-838-1902) or Ricardo (937-239-6713).

Can organizations or neighborhoods hire you? What are the details and the cost?

Yes, they can. We negotiate the details to make both sides happy. There is no fee to show up at any venue to sell.

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