ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Bringing Los Angeles-inspired flavors to Ann Arbor, LA natives Steven Choi and Brian Kim opened up the Bao Boys food truck in the yard of York on July 1.
The new food truck offers a limited menu full of fried rice, its Don-Belly dish and bao, sweet buns made from a white dough with various fillings.
Choi and Kim don’t have backgrounds in the food industry but they both love food, Bao Boys co-owner Steven Choi said. They wanted to bring foods they missed from LA to Ann Arbor and wanted to open up a business, so a food truck seemed like the right option.
Originally, the two friends thought about offering poke, a raw fish dish, but that shipped sailed as more and more poke eateries opened, according to Choi.
“Brian mentioned bao and I kind-of looked around at the menus around town. I saw that there’s a couple of places that have it, but it’s always like an appetizer menu [item] where you can order ramen or something else and you can order a side of three bao.”
Choi said that he and Kim discussed it and decided that bao was something they could use to explore new culinary concepts.
The current bao menu at Bao Boys was an amalgamation of different flavors inspired by different cuisines the friends experienced in LA.
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With sauces, slaws and meats inspired by Brazil, El Salvador and South Korea, the one thing all of the menu items have in common, according to Choi, is that “they all had to taste good with that sweet, pillow bao bun.”
The food truck also uses Cosmos kimchi, an ingredient important to Choi. His grandfather is the former owner of the kimchi brand and he wanted to be respectful of what he ate growing up.
Currently, there are no vegetarian or vegan options on the menu but the food truck owners are working on some ideas.
“There’s a lot of thought behind our menu and we’re trying our best to hit all audiences but its tough,” said Choi.
Right now, the food truck opens at 11 a.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, but hours may be adjusted as operations change, according to Choi.
Choi said that eaters should check for updated hours and times on the Bao Boys Instagram account where the food truck will make announcements.
As for what it is like to operate a food truck during a pandemic, Choi said that the venture actually lends itself to keeping everyone safe. The food truck naturally acts as a barrier to separate the food-truck owners from their customers and that customers can’t come in the food truck.
Choi said that he and Kim have a series of safety measures in place, including wearing masks inside of the truck, sanitizing inside and outside surfaces and requiring customers to wear masks while ordering.
Find Bao Boys in the outdoor yard of York at 1928 Packard St.
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WHAT 👏 A 👏 WEEK 👏 ••• And that’s a wrap on our opening week! It was a lot of hard work, but worth every minute to share this labor of love with you. Thank you to everyone who showed us their support! We appreciate you. We are closed this Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, and will be back at it on Tuesday. Keep checking our profile for our latest hours. Have a great weekend, everyone! - Brian & Steven, aka the Bao Boys