Best New Jersey Food Trucks: Chef J’s Latin Dragon

S.Since 2019, Chef J’s Latin Dragon has been dazzling hungry patrons with a fusion of Latin and Asian influences. Food trucks put a modern twist on classic dishes to create unique meals you won’t find anywhere else. Chef Jeremiah “Chef J” Echeandia uses his years of experience to best new jersey food trucks.

Chef J’s experience stems from his culinary studies in school and his travels throughout Asia. There he spent his time learning different cooking techniques and diverse recipes. After returning to the United States, he began working with many famous chefs in top restaurants throughout New York City. until he eventually became New Jersey’s Executive Chef.

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Although he now owns his own business, Chef J’s Latin Dragon is not a physical store. His Food His Truck offers a sophisticated “farm-to-truck” experience that combines traditional Latin and Asian cuisine. Chef J is always offering something new for the adventurous with his specials Shift, an American twist on his classics. Click here to visit Chef J’s Latin Dragon website.

best of new jersey We spoke to Chef J about his experiences, his influences, and of course his food.

Best of NJ Interviews – Chef J’s Latin Dragon

Chef J's Food Truck

Best of New Jersey: What cuisine is Chef J’s Latin Dragon known for?

Chef J: We are Asian and Latin fusion. As such, the dishes are mostly classical interpretations of modern Asian cuisine, with Latin flavors influencing each dish.

BONJ: How did your background influence the tracks and menus?

Chef J: I am very culturally mixed myself. My mother is Sicilian, Dominican and Jewish. Her paternal side is of Basque, Puerto Rican and Scottish descent. So the fusion is already there. After graduating from culinary school at Johnson & Wales, my chef was from Hong Kong, China. I traveled all over Asia with him. He was working in Dubai, so we traveled around Southeast Asia. We have been to Japan, South Korea, parts of China, Singapore, Dubai and many different regions.

I feel that Latin and Asian food go hand in hand. South America already has a lot of Asian influences such as ginger, garlic and coriander. All of these flavors really resonate with both cultures.

Dragon Buns and Power Poke Bowl
Dragon Buns (left) and Power Poke Bowl (right)

BONJ: Tell us about your cooking experience.

Chef J: I have a Bachelor’s degree in Hotel/Restaurant Management and an Associate’s degree in Culinary Arts. From there, I worked in the Hamptons, which brought me to the city. I have worked with many great chefs and have had a great influence on my Asian cuisine. I worked in various restaurants around the city and worked with David Burke at David Burke Prime. Then, after gaining experience, I worked at some really great restaurants around New Jersey. And eventually became the head chef.

BONJ: What inspired you to start a food truck?

Chef J: After all, it was not only time, but also a break from fine dining. People started visiting places that were a little trendier and simpler. comfort food etc. So I continued to create great food using great products, all natural, farm-to-table aspects.

And I liked the way you went out to different places. When you’re at a restaurant, you’re just in one place and not everyone can taste your food. Because not only can you, but you can also travel. I never get tired of it. After being locked in a box at a restaurant, go outside and talk to people. So this one felt a little more personal and fun. You can talk to people and show them your craft. Plus, you can travel all over New Jersey.

dragon fried chicken
dragon fried chicken

BONJ: After working in the restaurant industry for 20 years, what was it like adapting to the food truck industry?

Chef J: Wrong. It took a few adjustments to move from fine dining to gourmet food trucks. We should go shopping more often and have a concession kitchen.

This is an interesting transition. No storage, so you have to make sure you have everything. Either you have something or you don’t. Restaurants often have large menus, but trucks require six or even seven items to choose from.

Chef J: Dragon fried chicken is our most popular item. Fry the chicken fries that have been marinated for about 24 hours twice. We use our own blended flour for our chicken and fry it twice. So crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Comes with Peruvian fried rice.

Chef J's Latin Dragon various menus
(From left) K-Town Chicken & Waffle Fries, Dragon Fried Chicken, “Cheeseburger” Leek Pancake Quesadilla

Our add on was chicken and waffle fries. Make a five-spice brown sugar maple sauce that goes well with it. Comes with seasoned waffle fries and twice fried chicken. We call it K-Town Chicken and Waffle Fries. Those are our biggest sellers. The other is the leek pancake quesadilla. It’s an onion pancake.

BONJ: Do you keep a standard menu or do you change it with events and seasons?

Chef J: Sometimes we change the menu for each event. For example, in the leek pancakes, we pack something new. Cheeseburger deluxe, sometimes with pork, chicken or cuban inside a scallion pancake.

It’s a common misconception, but there’s nothing particularly spicy on our menu. “Latin Dragon” means I’m Latino and cooking Asian food. But nothing spicy, except for the spicy dragon sauce in case you’re looking for something spicy.

K-Town chicken and waffle fries
K-Town chicken and waffle fries

BONJ: Does Chef J’s Latin Dragon have catering options?

Chef J: During the winter months, we offer a catering menu when we stop events. But we make just about anything. Food trucks and our routine to various spots and events during festival season.

BONJ: Where can guests find Chef J’s Latin Dragon this summer and fall?

Chef J: Every Sunday I post where I am on Instagram and Facebook. We do almost 99% of the Just Jersey Fest festivals. We also host corporate events around New Jersey.

Click here to find out more about Best New Jersey Food Trucks.

All photos: © Patrick Lombardi / Best of NJ

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