Taco trucks in Norway’s capital: A foreign food affair / Entertainment / The Foreigner

Taco trucks in Norway’s capital: A foreign food affair. Friday night tacos have been an institution in Norway since the 1990s. Foreigners are now taking Norwegians on at their own juego (game). 400,000 Norwegians might start off each weekend with the dish, but the idea that tacos should primarily consist of fried hamburger meat doused with taco seasoning mix is becoming a thing of the past in Oslo. Numerous Mexican restaurants have opened their doors in the most popular neighborhoods of the Norwegian capital within the past few years. One may well refer to a taco wave engulfing the city, or even a taco bubble, if you prefer to speak in economic terms. So it was only a matter of time until the ultimate vehicle for tacos appeared – the taco truck.

tacos, oslo, fastfood



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Taco trucks in Norway’s capital: A foreign food affair

Published on Tuesday, 25th November, 2014 at 12:44 under the entertainment category, by Emily Williams.

Friday night tacos have been an institution in Norway since the 1990s. Foreigners are now taking Norwegians on at their own juego (game).

Two of the four gringos
From Left to Right: Abdul-Said Jama Warsame from Kenya standing in the vehicle next to Ian Samways, the Irishman behind the 4Gringos concept.Two of the four gringos
Photo: Emily Williams/©2014 The Foreigner


400,000 Norwegians might start off each weekend with the dish, but the idea that tacos should primarily consist of fried hamburger meat doused with taco seasoning mix is becoming a thing of the past in Oslo.

Numerous Mexican restaurants have opened their doors in the most popular neighborhoods of the Norwegian capital within the past few years. One may well refer to a taco wave engulfing the city, or even a taco bubble, if you prefer to speak in economic terms. So it was only a matter of time until the ultimate vehicle for tacos appeared – the taco truck.

The 4Gringos taco truck opened on downtown Oslo’s Youngstorget in late fall of this year. As the name suggests, the business is run by four non-Mexicans: an Irishman, two Poles, and a Kenyan. 4Gringos is the brainchild of Ian Samways, an Irishman who moved to Oslo from chaotic London two years ago.

Ian is standing outside the truck on a rainy Thursday evening when I meet him. The vehicle is a splash of color in a grey, wet landscape. It is painted red and green, with a sign announcing the Mexican Word of the Day and a chalkboard menu of tacos, quesadillas and burritos.

The 4 Gringos truck
The 4 Gringos truck
Emily Williams/©2014 The Foreigner
He has worked in the restaurant business his whole career, and got the idea to start a food truck in Oslo when his plan to buy a restaurant in west Oslo’s Frogner district fell through. He originally wanted to sell something like American-style hot dogs – food that is relatively simple to prepare and serve.

“I wish we’d done something easy,” says Ian with a smile, “but I’m dealing with real chefs and they’re a pain in the ass.”

The pain-in-the-asses, as he refers to them, are his three business partners: head chef Przemek Szczygielski, Dawyd Szymul, and Abdul-Said Jama Warsame. The tacos they serve aren’t your ordinary Friday night taco, though. Ian explains that he was sure they would have to make tacos to please the Norwegian palate when the idea turned into a taco truck.

“Look, it’s going to have to have cheese, it’s going to have to have sour cream,” Ian told Przemek – not to mention the cucumber, red pepper and sweet corn.

“And then [my chef] went, ‘Well I don’t care, they’re not having it.’ And we haven’t sold one, not one sour cream and cheese taco. And nobody has asked for it,” commented the Irishman. Instead, the tacos are filled with tender, marinated meat or fish and topped with fresh salsas, shredded cabbage and home-made habanero sauce.

Business has been going well for Ian and his three co-workers since the truck opened two months ago.

“I never thought we would do so well, to be honest,” he admits. The taco truck has been modestly exceeding everyone’s expectations. Soon, the four co-owners – who all have other jobs and families in addition – will be faced with the choice of whether or not to quit their daytime employment and give their all to the food truck business.

At the same time, 4Gringos has gotten rather positive reviews on their Facebook page and restaurant-reviewing site Yelp.no, but the real test will come this week. They will be competing in the Norwegian Taco Championship at Oslo’s Mathallen on Wednesday. With the goal of “challenging Norwegians’ taco-eating habits,” Mathallen is hosting a competition for the “coveted” title of Norway’s Best Taco.

But regardless of how they do in the competition, Ian promises that 4Gringos is here to stay, parked at their spot on Youngstorget. They will be serving the taco-hungry masses from lunchtime until evening; perhaps especially on Fridays…



Published on Tuesday, 25th November, 2014 at 12:44 under the entertainment category, by Emily Williams.

This post has the following tags: tacos, oslo, fastfood.


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