Paul Davis

Paul Davis

 

On June 13 and 14, noon – 6 pm, InLiquid presents Art for the Cash Poor 16.

Go Mad for Gourmet as the three-day event includes all the elements that drive us crazy-in-love with Philadelphia’s creative sector. Sweet and savory bites will be sold by seven local food vendors, including Chewy’s, Jerry’s Kitchen, Kung Fu Hoagie, Mom-Mom’s Polish Food Cart, Farm Truck Philly, Foolish Waffles, and Weckerly’s Ice Cream, while Crave Caterers provides light refreshments for the Friday night preview. Suds and spirits prescribe the mood for both the preview and the weekend fair, with tastings hosted by WhistlePig Rye, Siembra Spirits Tequila, Tito’s Vodka, among others on Friday, and a fully-stocked beer tent courtesy of Philadelphia Brewing Company on Saturday and Sunday.

Kung Fu Hoagies finds your center with vegan hoagies. Co-founder Paul Davis answers a few questions about the inspiration behind the food truck.

Where did the desire to open up a food truck first come into play for you? And what was the process like in getting it started?

Well it was a natural transition I guess. Steve and I both have backgrounds in the food and restaurant industry and like a lot of people really wanted to work for ourselves. We wanted to keep things simple with low startup and overhead, so a food cart seemed a good fit. The cart really quickly became our creative outlet to share with people straight through from the design, concept and recipes. Things came together with a big dry erase board and lots of lists:)

Kung Fu Hoagies – the name itself gets me excited to try it. How did you land on that name?

There was really no question about the name. At the time of opening the business we were a few years in studying kung fu with Sifu Phuoc Phan. He was a big influence on most things that we did (in pursuit of the art) and opened us to the vegetarian food culture in Vietnam. Kung Fu Hoagies really was born within the school and to us became a celebration of the martial arts and spirit food culture.

Your food truck is vegan friendly. Do you think there’s still a lack of vegetarian options in the local food truck industry?

Yes. Being a vegetarian food cart is difficult. We have a much smaller customer base than food trucks that serve animals. Many people come up to the cart really excited because of the appearance of the cart and the look of the food. When we tell them there is no meat, they walk right away. We have survived our first few years largely in part thanks to the support from the DIY and vegan straight edge culture in Philly. It does have its advantages though. Many event coordinators are seeking at least one veg/health conscious truck to any lineup. Filling such a small niche keeps us paying those bills.

Steven Renzi & wife Tăng Nữ Anh Thư

Steven Renzi & wife Tăng Nữ Anh Thư

How do you distinguish yourselves from other food trucks?

Come eat our food and see for yourself. Any truck will put out the quality equal to the energy put in. Steve and I work hard at what we do. If you can’t make it to the cart, check us out on Facebook or Twitter.

What are some of your most popular food items?

For hoagies, it was the vegetarian pork bánh mì, but I think the tofu meatball is taking the lead. Meatball is probably both of our favorites. For noodles it’s the spicy ramen. Springy noodles with veggie protein, fried onion, and spicy pickles with a kick! (sorry) We are both experts in ramen its part of our daily kung fu diet.

What are you looking forward to most about Art for the Cash Poor?

Slangin hoagies and making people happy. It’s also really great to be included in such a big event with lots of other local artists. We will probably be busy, but hope we get the chance to check out some of the projects folks are working on.

The weekend-long fair invites attendees to navigate the Crane Arts space, which will be bursting with art vendors, live musical performances, culinary curiosities, and an outdoor beer garden. The addition of a Friday night ticketed preview party on June 12, 5:30 – 9 pm, serves as a meet-and-greet with the artists and a fundraiser for AIDS Fund, offering guests an exclusive sneak-peek at the festivities to follow. More details, including a full list of bands and participating artists, at the link.

Michael Morgan

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