The Ocean Springs food truck scene seems to evolve in fits and starts. Sometimes it seems vibrant, and then it slows to a simmer.
The food truck court on Government Street is a cool idea, located next to the golf cart rental (only in Ocean Springs!), in the middle of the entertainment district. There are plenty of picnic tables and lights strung overheard for evening service, and there is plenty of parking.
In other parts of the country, the idea of mobile restaurants — perfect for those on the go, but wanting food a step or two up from fast food — is on fire. Jackson has a vibrant food tuck community as does Oxford, but the Coast can’t seem to make up its mind.
One of the successful food trucks in Oxford is the Hotbox Hibachi. It was started by three enterprising young men from the Coast, trying to make their way through a university education.
The pandemic and the holidays shut their Oxford operation down, but being the sharp businessmen that they are, they pulled their food trailer back to the Coast and opened operation in Ocean Springs.
A hibachi is actually the traditional Japanese coal-burning stove used in cooking. More often than not, when seen here in the USA, hibachi refers to a style of cooking.
Interestingly, hibachi translates well to a food truck. Of course, they do not use a coal-burning stove, but a shiny stainless steal flattop does just fine.
The menu is small, with just two appetizers, four solo hibachi meals, a special and a few combo dishes. As you might guess, the egg rolls are the best-selling appetizer, and one of the bestsellers overall.
A dipping sauce, sweet and sour really, comes with it, and it is a perfect hand-portable and mobile snack. If you are walking around Ocean Springs in the evening, and get the munchies, this is perfect.
There are also four choices for hibachi meals, vegetable, steak, chicken and shrimp. All the meals come with a generous serving of fried rice and vegetables and are priced from $8-12.
The special on the day I visited was a chicken, shrimp and steak combo, that had to be enough easily for two. The combo meals are chicken and shrimp, chicken and steak and shrimp and steak.
I ordered the chicken hibachi, and was very pleased with everything served. It was a ton of food, certainly more than I could eat. The chicken was seasoned and cooked just right, and the vegetables had a nice snap to them. And for just $9, it was quite a deal.
Whether you are walking around Ocean Springs or on your way home from work and want takeout, Hotbox Hibachi is a good choice. And, you just have to admire the entrepreneurial spirit of these young businessmen.
Location: 1316 Government St., Ocean Springs
Hours: Monday-Wends 12 -7 pm, Sunday 12-4 pm