We started our food truck in 2017 to cook the food we grew up cooking and eating together, though we should make known that much of the food comes from cultures that are not our own. Little Trúc was started by Alex, Kat, & Eli. Alex & Eli have known each other since they were kids and grew up together in a town with a significant Southeast Asian Population, but more specifically a large Vietnamese community.
The largest Asian grocery store in New England (A Dong Supermarket) is in the town where Eli & Alex grew up in. Much of what we cook on the truck is the food Alex & Eli ate throughout their childhood. Indonesian dishes from Eli’s family like beef rendang, nasi goreng & opor; Vietnamese dishes like bánh xèo , bò lúc lắc, & chả giò that they snuck out of high school lunch periods to enjoy, & regional Lao/Thai dishes like laab, som tam & bbq quail from local restaurants in town.
As far as our cooking on the truck goes, we almost never “invent” dishes. We take creative liberties using ingredients local to us, but we don’t “elevate” dishes and we don’t make substitutions for the ingredients that make a dish a dish. Sometimes finding such ingredients like specific herbs & produce in our area can be difficult, so we grow a lot of our own in our large garden from seeds purchased through farmers, our local Asian Markets, & Asian-Owned seed companies (like Kitazawa Seed).
We have always made all our own curry pastes, chili oils, & sauces from scratch for use on the truck, and when the pandemic hit, we began selling them directly to our customers for cooking at home. Finding fresh curry pastes in the states is nearly impossible and demand began to pile up so we decided to dial in our recipes, design packaging, and began distributing our products to small shops and markets around the country.
We do not pull from cultures not our own without giving back to the communities that inspire what we do. Most all our product ingredients are purchased through our local Asian market (Tran’s World Food Market) without whom our business could not exist. We regularly donate to charities helping the Asian communities that surround us, as well as those afar. Closest to home is the Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts (SEACMA) where we consistently donate portions of our product sales, (especially during the pandemic). We have recurring quarterly donations to organizations like Heart of Dinner, which deliver food and hot meals to Asian elders in NYC (where Alex & Kat lived for a number of years before moving up to Western MA) as well as Mekong, which serves the Southeast Asian community throughout the Bronx and New York City.
We love what we do, we are grateful for the amount of support we receive from our community, and we hope to be able to keep doing it for a while.
- The Little Trúc Team