HOLLADAY, Utah (ABC4) – Coming from an extremely challenging year for food trucks and as acts of violence and hatred against Asian-Americans continue to bubble across the country, several truck owners are coming together to create a positive and delicious.
On July 13, a handful of Asian-owned food trucks will gather together for an Asian food truck festival at SOHO Food Park in Holladay, in partnership with the Asian American College Alliance.
AACA’s Ethan Hirabayashi came up with the idea as a way to build unity among different Asian ethnic groups and to support some businesses that had to fight not only the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic but also a recent rise in Asia hatred
Seeing the vandalism affecting the world-famous Yum Yum Asian Food Truck last month boosted the desire to make the event united, says Hirabayashi.
“This is an opportunity for other people to try their food and have a safe environment,” he tells ABC4.com. “I know Utah’s COVID restrictions have been somewhat lifted for events, so we can get together and enjoy the beautiful summer weather.”
While an invitation to Yum Yum owners was declined due to the distance from the truck parking lot in Layton, several other trucks serving Thai, Japanese, Philippine and Chinese food will be present.
Although the owners and kitchens of the truck are all from different Asian countries, Hirabayashi, whose family is from Japan, says it has become increasingly necessary for all Asian-Americans to be united against the latest racist acts that have and can turn violent.
“We all have different stories, but at the end of the day you know it could be my grandparents, it could be someone else ‘s grandparents being bullied by someone else and showing our unity together is very important during this time, “he says.
Mark Young, who manages the Food Park and whose wife, Suzy, owns the Thai Suzy food truck, knows firsthand how concerned Asian-Americans are about the current climate. While his wife has not been a victim of Asian hatred, she spends most of her time indoors and often asks Young if it is safe to go out.
“There is fear in the Asian community because of the things that have happened,” Young said. “They see Asian news all over the country and then go back to their original places and that fear is something that is real because I have seen them personally.”
An influential figure in the food truck community in Utah, Young says the pandemic caused great damage to industry and families trying to make a living by selling meals from a mobile kitchen. His wife’s food truck was booked every year until 2020, to provide services at lunches, congresses, weddings and other events. When the pandemic broke out, everything was completely annulled.
“We have gone from booking completely to booking zero. “It was tragic,” he recalled.
Fortunately, Suzy Thai was able to survive thanks to a leading distribution service, contactless drive-thrus and massive support from customers who purchased a large volume of gift cards.
Other trucks were not so lucky, Young claims.
With the restrictions associated with COVID-19 coming back again, Young thinks a food truck that picks up like the one in his park would make an ideal walk for people looking to enjoy the warm weather.
“Food trucks are a great way out and SOHO Food Park is extremely good for this because it is an outdoor location so there is a lot of fresh air,” he says.
Hirabayashi hopes the event, which is scheduled for mid-week, will have an air of energy similar to the weekend.
“I want to get this out of the water and have a ton of people out there who are enjoying it. I know it’s Tuesday, but I want it to feel like Friday with as many people as possible, everyone enjoying themselves. ”
Asian Food Truck Festival
Tuesday, July 13th
5 – 8:30 p.m.
SOHO Food Park
4747 Holladay Blvd.
Holladay, UT 84117
– Bento truck
– tas rehati
– Suzy Thai
– Crunchy Munchy
– Fatty tuna
– Thai Chef To Go