We go behind the scenes with Asian street food vendor Chunky Buddha
What’s the story behind your name?
I picked the name because it felt right in my gut and it means something to me – the name has been in my mind for many years and I was called Chunky when I was growing up by my aunts and uncles.
We love your Maki Burrito idea, how did it come about?
Maki Burrito was just something fun, I didn’t want to follow the crowd and do what everyone else was trying to do. If I’m correct it started in San Fran and I didn’t notice anyone else doing anything here in London, so I wanted to infuse it into my style of cooking.
What made you start your own business in 2015?
I got tired of working for people who didn’t let me explore and think outside the box with my products. I’ve always wanted to start my own business, but what made me really push was telling myself that you only live once, so why not make it happen and do what you love in life.
What’s on the menu at the new Islington Street Food Night Market?
The menu combines fresh, healthy Asian food cooked right in front of the customer’s eyes. Red Rice is one of the healthy rices that I use in my menu, as I know not many Asian vendors use this type of ingredient. Udon Noodles is always a popular dish – I stir fry in front of the customer and let them watch the food being cooked. I chose to make these dishes at the market because they’re popular choices for both lunch or dinner.
How did you settle on dishes that you knew would suit the street food market?
I knew people generally like Asian food, but when I changed it up and did something a bit different, I was taking a big risk, but it ultimately paid off.
When I created this menu, I chose all of my favourite dishes and ones that I pick and eat all of the time!
Who are your major influences?
I have a lot of respect for the food businesses who immerse themselves in all that they do and spend their lives working towards something, it has to mean something and I really respect that a lot.
Who are your #StreetEatsLoves?
Comfort Kitchen and The Poutinerie.
What are your plans for the year ahead?
I’m currently thinking about embarking on a big project, taking the Chunky Buddha to another level, I don’t want to say anything now but we have exciting things planned for 2017!
Chunky Buddha | Find them serving… Wednesday’s – The Epicurean’s World Food Market at St Thomas Square 12pm-3pm; Thursday’s – The Epicurean’s World Food Market at St Giles Church 12pm-3pm; Friday’s – The Epicurean’s World Food Market at St Katharine Docks 12pm-3pm; Saturday’s – The Epicurean’s World Food Night Market at Islington Green 5pm-9pm | Pop-Up Shop ’til December – Monday’s to Fridays Shoreditch Art Club 12pm-3pm