Flavors of Vietnam delivered through the window of an airstream
By Mira Brody EBS STAFF
BOZEMAN – It’s Thursday evening in downtown Bozeman, and Main Street is bustling with a mixture of tourists and locals snapping photos of the iconic Baxter Hotel sign and grabbing a bite of ice cream before Music on Main begins. Upon walking past the Lark Hotel, a new smell wafts from the shiny airstream bus parked out front, welcoming those looking for something other than a burger and fries to satisfy their cravings. Owned by Lark Hotel, SunDial is Bozeman’s newest (stationary) food truck, serving up modern Vietnamese street food made from fresh, local ingredients.
“Vietnamese is going to be bringing the fresh everything,” said Heather Marie, head chef for The Lark Hotel and SunDial. “It’s going to be bringing the fresh vegetables, not as much grease—the healthy side.”
The menu boasts a variety of items for dining on the airstream deck or to-go, including banh mi sandwiches (the gingered beef and onion is Marie’s favorite), spring rolls, vermicelli noodle bowls and pho. Pair your meal with sugarcane juice, mint lemonade and homemade SunDial juice: a blend of sugarcane juice, calamansi juice and seltzer water.
Marie is originally from Boise, Idaho, but has been cooking and baking professionally in West Virginia for the last 12 years. A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and graduate of the Art Institute of Virginia Beach, she has run an award-winning gourmet cake shop and café, engineered West Virginia’s “Hottest Burger” while working at White Horse Tavern, holds a bachelor’s degree in culinary management with a minor in pastries and confections, and has dabbled, she says, in almost every cuisine across the globe.
Marie was hired when SunDial was just a concept, and immediately saw the opportunity to move back West. The airstream had its grand opening on Aug. 5 and is the latest offering from The Lark, which opened back in 2015.
The menu is not only healthy, but also offers gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options and works with local vendors, such as the Spice and Tea Exchange, which provides an exclusive pickling spice blend.
To add some spice to my people watching, I ordered the banh mi with gingered beef and onion and some SunDial juice. The flavor of beef and savory pickled veggies paired well with the bubbly beverage on a warm, thundercloud-strewn evening. The menu is diverse, affordable and different for the area, offering passersby a bite of Vietnam in view of the area’s classic art deco buildings and mountainous horizon.
P.S. if you like meat, ask about SunDial’s secret menu option.