[UPDATE: As of April 28, Boston's Uyghur food truck is officially in business and rolling on the streets of the city. Check out the truck's website for locations.]
In what will be a first for New England and perhaps even the rest of the United States, Boston is about to get its very own Uyghur food truck. Although the truck won't have an onboard noodle maker turning out plates of lagman, the truck -- which is scheduled to hit the streets in the coming days -- will be serving Uyghur style kebabs, sold on skewers or inside wraps.
The truck, Uyghur Kitchen, is the brainchild of Payzulla Polat, a professional musician currently studying music production and engineering at Boston's Berklee School of Music and who originally hails from the Uyghur city of Urumqi. I recently reached out to Polat, who is busy with the various last-minute details that need attention before his truck is ready to roll, to find out more about his groundbreaking project. Our conversation is below:
How did you get the idea for a Uyghur food truck?
When I was a student in Los Angeles back in 2008, most days I got lunch from the food truck next to my school. They served really delicious doner kebabs and they were really cheap compared to regular restaurants. After eating there several times, I became a big food truck fan, and always pictured myself opening a Uyghur food truck in the future. It's the perfect idea for Uyghur kebabs as they're easy to make and easy to eat on the go. Other big reasons for starting a food truck are the relatively low investment costs for a new business and the movable location, which will make it accessible to more people.
Besides your truck, are there any other places in Boston to get Uyghur food?
Right now there are no restaurants in the New England area where you can find Uyghur food. I constantly hear about people looking for Uyghur food in the area, especially in Boston, but they haven't found any yet.
Do you feel like Boston’s food scene is ready to support the arrival of Uyghur food?
I think it is. Kebabs are some of the most popular foods anywhere in the world, and of course in the U.S. as well. Uyghur kebabs have a unique taste, and they're always a top choice on the table when I have parties in my backyard with my American friends. I worked for almost a year in one of the more successful food trucks (Sweet Tomatoes) in Boston from the first day they hit the street and I always saw people looking for new and healthy food in the markets or on the street. I believe that Uyghur Kitchen Food Truck will bring some more good attention to Boston's food scene.
What’s your own connection to Uyghur food?
I'm a Uyghur, and I grew up in Urumqi in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Living next to the most historical and beautiful street in the city (Console St.) with lots of food stands and great restaurants around, I always had a wide variety of great food to choose from. I want to bring some of that flavor to Boston and help people discover the taste of our delicious food.
Any plans beyond the truck?
Absolutely! Uyghur Kitchen Food Truck is meant to introduce Uyghur food and culture to people largely unfamiliar with them. It'll be a good start to give them a taste of what we eat and who we are. It's also a good way to advertise and introduce our brand, and to spread the name Uyghur around the region with a movable vehicle. Our goal for the future is to open a restaurant that can truly represent our people and our culture as well.