in partnership
(Image: Lisa Zack)

This Ballard Dump Truck serves up incredible Sichuan dumplings

At any given time, hundreds, if not thousands, of dump trucks are cruising around Seattle’s neighborhoods. But as far as we can tell, there’s only one we’d like to eat out of.

Appropriately named “Dump Truck,” this bright blue food truck sits at Cloudburst Brewing in Ballard. Run by Plenty of Clouds, the Dump Truck serves up some of Seattle’s best Chinese cuisine, including phenomenal pork dumplings.

Travis Post and Lisa Zack are the duo behind Plenty of Clouds in Capitol Hill. When their friends at Cloudburst Brewing were looking for a food truck to cover feeding thirsty customers, Post and Zack knew it would be a great fit.

“They make delicious beer,” Zack said. “We can't imagine a better partnership for us. We really want to like the people we're working with and share a similar ethos.”

Post and Zack searched for a truck that would work for their mobile restaurant, but the search came with one very tall hurdle. Post is six feet, three inches tall, and couldn’t stand up in most food trucks the two looked at. Enter the dump truck. A friend led them to the truck that had been renovated to include a lofted area in the front, making it look like it was a dump truck in its past life. The odd-looking addition meant that Post could stand up in the truck, and the two were sold.

“The truck is the only one we saw that Travis could stand up in,” Zack said. “So the truck is weird, but it was kind of perfect for us.”

The menu at the Dump Truck is not your standard beer garden fare. Like the Plenty of Clouds restaurant, the Dump Truck is inspired by cuisine found in Southern Central China. It’s a marriage of spice from the Sichuan area with fresh ingredients from the neighboring Yunnan province.

“We're not doing pretzels and sausages, but everything works; Even if it's unexpected,” Post said.

As we heat up in the Puget Sound area, a few different menu items shine at the Dump Truck. “Now that we're getting into the summer season, we're getting into some more interesting stuff which is fun,” Post said.

The chrysanthemum salad uses greens from the flowering plant, which Post says are a minty leaf with slightly less spice than arugula.

“It's a nice, very light spice,” he said. “It’s kind of a vinegary, peanutty salad that's definitely something unique, especially to a food truck.”

The house-made flatbread sandwich is also not one to miss, Post said. Choose between braised pork belly or mushrooms and tofu with pickled green chilies, sour cabbage, and cilantro.

Other standout menu items at the Plenty of Clouds Dump Truck are the Sichuan pork dumplings with chili oil, cilantro, and sesame. Fittingly, the dumplings are the number-one seller at the Dump Truck.

As far as naming goes, the process was pretty simple.

“No one could come up with a better name,” Zack said. “So I got to call it the Dump Truck, and it makes me laugh every time.”

Visit the Plenty of Clouds Dump Truck in the Cloudburst beer garden at 5458 Shilshole Ave NW in Ballard. It’s open for beer-garden dining or take-away seven days a week with walk-up or online ordering available. Check with the website for current opening hours.