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How a social media dustup led me to lip-smacking lumpia in Landstuhl

Customers wait to order at Bicol Express during its stop at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center gas station, March 3, 2021. The truck moves to a different location weekly, including Ramstein Air Base, Baumholder, Kleber Kaserne, Sembach and others.

BRIAN FERGUSON/STARS AND STRIPES

By BRIAN FERGUSON | Stars and Stripes | Published: March 11, 2021

I’ve been craving lumpia ever since I saw a post on a Facebook military spouses page that got people hotter than a backcountry Philippine barbecue. 

The Ramstein-area post asked whether a neighbor should be paying German taxes for selling lumpia out of her home, without the original commenter really knowing the circumstances. Most of the hundreds of community responses amounted to “mind your own business,” putting it mildly.

Judging by the lines outside the Bicol Express food truck, which is one of the few places to get Philippine food in the Kaiserslautern Military Community, I’m probably not the only one made hungry by a little social media controversy. 

Before finding out about Bicol Express, I’d started out with a quick internet search, which didn’t find any brick-and-mortar Philippine restaurants in the area.

It seemed the only way for me to satisfy my craving was going to be to make the food myself or pay someone on the spouse’s page to make it for me. Since I don’t know how to make lumpia and I don’t want to anger anyone’s neighbor, I decided to keep searching.

I caught up with Bicol Express, which operates on several U.S. military bases, during a stop at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center gas station. The truck moves weekly, serving Ramstein Air Base, Baumholder, Kleber Kaserne and Sembach, to name a few.

I knew I wanted lumpia, but what else? Pictures displayed in the truck window helped me figure it out.

I bought two orders of lumpia, chicken adobo, pork adobo with fried egg and pork siomai. The bag was heavy and smelled delicious.

Since I had a 20-minute drive home, I hoped the lumpia would stay crispy and flaky, and to my pleasant surprise, they did. The order also came with three small cups of sweet chili sauce for dipping. In my opinion, the sauce makes the lumpia, and it did not disappoint.

Both the chicken and pork were tender and juicy, and the meat slipped right off the bones. The pork siomai, a steamed dumpling with chili garlic on top, was not what I expected, but it did have a spicy kick.

Besides the flavorful food, Bicol Express impressed me with their service. The staff is pleasant and genuinely helpful, and it only took about five minutes to get my order, even as customers lined the parking lot.

This isn’t the only lumpia I’ve had in Germany, but it is the only lumpia I have ordered from a restaurant locally. So, if you have a friend, neighbor or relative who can make lumpia for you, congratulations. If you don’t want to wait, find the truck and you won’t be disappointed.

ferguson.brian@stripes.com
Twitter: @BrianFerg57


Location: Depends on the week, check the Bicol Express Facebook page.

Cost: 3.50 to 11.50 euros per dish; menu varies.

Hours: Times vary by location, check their Facebook page.

Information: Online: facebook.com/bicolexpressramstein

Bicol Express, a Filipino food truck that operates on U.S. military bases in Germany, may be the only one of its kind in the Kaiserslautern area that sells freshly cooked lumpia.
BRIAN FERGUSON/STARS AND STRIPES