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Best Bite - Spices Garuda Food Truck



Hey, there – Hope here! I’ve spent the bulk of my twenties falling in love with the world around me and connecting to my inner creative self through food. Flavors, smells, the art of the kitchen – it’s something that enamors me entirely. Because of this lust, this zest, this… OBSESSION with All Things Food, Jason Lowe and I have spent the last couple years working together developing ways to showcase cuisine creatives, uhm – foodies. Their craft and their heart cannot be matched and the soul of the bite is what makes it so unforgettable. So, welcome back to Best Bite – an extension of our collective foodie spirit. We look forward to drooling all over everything with you every week at The Offbeat Times while we fangirl about some of our favorite dishes in the area.


You know it wouldn’t be Best Bite without exposing some of the best food trucks in Arkansas, right? I think to have an excellent food truck, you have to have excellent people and a lot of heart. You won’t get more of that from anyone other than Ode and Nisa at Spices Garuda Food Truck on West Main Street in Russellville. I first met Ode and Nisa when they became the premier food truck for a local Relay for Life event. Then, during the Covid pandemic, local restaurants were donating meals and catering spreads for doctors and nurses to eat during their excruciatingly long shifts. Ode and Nisa didn’t hesitate. Heart. A lot of heart. After seeing how much they cared and after hearing seventeen recommendations from friends and colleagues, I finally ordered their food. I’ve never stopped asking myself what took me so long.



I took that sacred walk from my car to the Spices window after ordering chicken mie tek tek for the first time a few years ago, now I rarely order anything different. I didn’t really know what mie tek tek was, but their Facebook page made it look spectacular and I LOVE spicy noodles. Mie tek tek is an Indonesian stir-fried egg noodle dish. At Spices, they throw in eggplant, broccoli, peppers, bean sprouts, onion, garlic and will never over or under cook your veggies. Perfect bite every single time. Then, it’s your choice of tofu, chicken, or beef, and I have no idea what other Indonesian grandmother magic to bring you a meal that is absolutely otherworldly. You can get it at 1-10 star spice level, and I go with a solid 5. It’s tongue-tingling and full bodied, but doesn’t make you sweat or go numb. (But they do have a house “fire” sauce that they serve if you’re fortunate enough and it should straight up come with a warning label. Seriously, don’t dip more than a toothpick in to try it.) Mie tek tek has fried egg on top, a sprig of cilantro (optional, for all you soap-tasters), and if you’re lucky – a piece of pepper cut into a heart to remind you that Ode and Nisa are thinking about you. Because they are, and they cook with immense love and gratitude.


Ode and Nisa have an uncanny way of making you feel invited into their sacred space when they cook for you. They radiate with authentic joy from being able to serve a slice of their hearts to their friends in neighbors in Russellville. I’ve only ever had to tell them my name one time and it’s as if we’ve been old friends ever since. Every conversation is infused with effervescence and you never leave without receiving and returning a full-faced smile. I cannot underscore enough how much heart, care, attention to detail, and happiness is served alongside your mie tek tek, your hibachi shrimp, or your samosa. And it would absolutely NOT be a trip to Spices without an order of their beef samosa and mango sticky rice.



Spices has a beef samosa – curry puff – that is so full of texture and flavor that I will over indulge every time I order takeout to ensure I have a bite. They perfectly blend ground beef, carrots, peas, and an explosion of earthy, bright spices (think turmeric, coriander, and cardamom) and then stuff it into filo dough and fry it to the most perfect, golden, satisfying crisp. The layers of filo crack and crumble with crispness as your teeth and tongue begin to dance with the marinated meat, curiously exploring combinations of flavors that haven’t been presented as refined. If shepherd’s pie, your grandma’s Sunday roast, and a decades-old Indian street food stall got tangled up, the Spices samosa would be the lovechild. This fried curry appetizer manages to be subtle and simple while completely captivating your palate. Spices serves their samosa with a dipping sauce that is in a class all its own – sour, oily, salt, hint of tamarind and soy. It makes you pucker just a little bit but cuts through the saturation of the curry flavors to bring a strong vibrant flavor that coats your tongue and a contrasting mouth feel from the dry seasoned beef.


Now, switch gears with me – you’ve crunched through all the samosa and slurped all the mie tek tek. Take a few minutes and clean up your takeout bags and walk your dog before you devour their mango sticky rice dessert. If you’re like me and you don’t like overly sweet desserts, this is the perfect way to end your meal at Spices. Flawlessly ripe mango atop delicate sticky rice, drizzled with sweetened coconut milk and crowned with a brown sugar coconut concoction that will leave you breathless. It’s dressed with mint and you have to pinky promise me that this is a garnish you will eat. Take a fresh mint leaf and put it on top of the warm coconut that is swirling with milk drizzle dripping through the juicy mango slices and onto the sticky rice for the most perfect dessert bite of your entire existence. That mint and browned coconut combo SLAP…you right in the heart. It takes you home.



And I think that’s what Spices is all about: home. They advertise themselves as being “grandma’s recipe,” and I wish I could have been in THAT woman’s kitchen. I’m so thankful for Ode and Nisa sharing their sacred food memories with all of us to create our very own. Because that’s exactly what they’ve done at Spices Garuda Food Truck – they’ve transcended food and made their place a haven for the hungry, both in stomach and in heart. I remember one night, all too recently, where things felt pretty bleak – one of those “5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can touch” nights. I hadn’t eaten solid food in almost two days and the only thing that felt okay to me was chicken mie tek tek and beef samosa from Spices. I arrived in embarrassment, lying to Nisa that I had been sick when I had really spent hours of the day mildly hysterical. Eyes can only be so swollen and they never lie. Nisa’s eyes didn’t lie either. This woman exuded such love and compassion, such overwhelming concern for my well-being, that I drove the entire way home (now bawling in gratitude and excitement) to eat, in a weird way, alongside family. Spices will serve you the exact flavor of what you need, all you have to do is call. Eating from Spices is like a girls night out with your sister, pulling out a chair at your mom’s, sharing tea with your grandmother. You always wonder why you don’t do it more often and you relish every second.


I will always order chicken mie tek tek and beef samosa from Spices because it’s my soul staple. But, look around their menu. It will excite and intrigue you, it will make you question things you’ve never thought of, and it will fill you with joy and flavor you won’t get anywhere else in Russellville, Arkansas. Check out these other fan favorites:



  • Hibachi Shrimp: Divinely seared and sauced shrimp, served with a generous portion of fried rice and grilled vegetables.

  • Beef or Lamb Satay: Sizzling skewers of meat charred to beauty you’ve never seen and served with a peanut sauce.

  • Bakso (Meatball Soup): An Indonesian meatball soup served in a beautiful broth with broccoli and tofu

  • Bihun Goreng: Indonesian thin fried rice noodles tossed with vegetables, protein of choice, and a sauce that will make you kick a door off its hinges.

  • Chicken Fried Rice: The most decadently and delicately seasoned fried rice you’ll ever try to eat with chopsticks. Yum Yum sauce included but not necessary.


Go to Spices just one time. One time is all it will take for Ode and Nisa to remember you forever. One time is all it will take you to crave bite after bite of homemade Indonesian heart and soul. And don’t forget to ask for a jasmine tea, too.


Spices Garuda Food Truck

2112 W. Main Street | Russellville, Arkansas

479-223-1545


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