Address: 42 Holland Ave, Ottawa, ON
Hours: 11am- 2 pm, 4pm – 6pm (Mon – Fri)
Green factor: Compostable container and utensils; recycling and composting bins. Bravo!
Not all parking lots have food trucks in them. Not all parking lots have wood-clad food trucks in them. But located steps away from the transit and civil servant hub of Tunney’s Pasture is the rustic-looking food truck Dora-Don, somewhat oddly parked in front of a small apartment building.
Dora-Don opened in spring 2018, taking over the shack-like truck from Sandwich Barn (RIP, $5 sammies). As per their name, DD’s main fare is donburi, which are Japanese rice bowls. Topped with various proteins and accoutrements, it’s a versatile MO to quickly serve food to the nearby bureaucratic masses.
In stark contrast to many of their fancy-ish, food truck brethren, Dora-Don is staying open through the winter, so I held off on visiting them until this fall. I suppose their hefty wooden exterior helps during those cold winter days.
When I stopped by, their weekly menu had a compact set of offerings – a quinoa salad, one noodle dish, and two donburi. While their pork and egg don was tempting, I had to go with okonomiyaki don ($12). This donburi take its inspiration from many of the ingredients in the traditional Japanese savoury pancake of the same name, with chicken thigh, cabbage, a soft egg, kewpie mayo, bonito flakes and pickled ginger.
I was kindly offered some green tea to keep me warm while my bowl was prepared to order, and was soon on my way, shuffling off to the food court at Holland’s Cross to take shelter from the rain and wind.
Opening the generously-filled container, I was immediately hit with the potent smell of the bonito flakes – dried shavings of a fish that’s related to mackerel. Admittedly, I’m not the biggest fan of some of the more…robust… flavours of Asian cooking, but the flavour of the bonito was more balanced out by the other ingredients than it was on the nose.
The dish was full of rich flavours, from the okonomi sauce, ooey gooey soft-cooked egg, and kewpie mayo. I appreciated the presence of chicken thigh meat over blander, prone-to-dryness breast meat, and Dora-Don cooked it perfectly.
Crunchy chunks of fried cabbage and a sprinkling of puffed rice added some much-needed textural contrast to an otherwise soft dish. And speaking of rice, the bed of medium grain rice was spot-on in its doneness, clumping together easily without being mushy. I’d say it was perfect for chopsticks, but I was given a wooden spork. My complexion does lean more towards my Caucasian half, I suppose.
While I easily demolished the sizeable portion of food, since it was my first full-sized meal of the day, I was pretty full afterward. Beware if you actually have to be productive after lunch here!
I’m not sure how the tenants at 42 Holland Avenue feel about having a food truck in their front parking lot, but if I were them, I’d be pretty darn happy.