B.In Japan, Bunji Aoki wanted to go to college and become a lawyer. Unfortunately, there was no support to realize his dream. So, before graduating from her high school, she flew to Virginia as an exchange student when she was 17. Currently, she runs Ms. Fu’s Tasty Food her truck. best new jersey food trucks.
Fumiji learned to speak English by watching TV shows and movies. Wayne’s world When Beverly Hills: 90210Throughout the 90’s she found success in the financial industry before moving into banking. But after her nearly 20 years of working in this field, she found her job unrewarding. So in 2014, Fumiji made her big career change.
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She named her food truck Ms. Fu’s Yummy Food Truck. (“Ms. Fu” is a nickname given to her by a friend of her son’s.) The truck serves Asian fusion-inspired cuisine, with Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and even American styles on its menu. I am taking it in. Fumiji’s son, Taichi Levere, helps drive the truck and will soon manage his own food truck as well.
best of new jersey I told Fumiji about growing up in Japan, moving to America, and opening two food trucks.
Best New Jersey Food Truck Interview: Mr. Fu’s Tasty Food Truck
Best of NJ: Please tell us about yourself.
Shinji Aoki: Originally, I am from Japan. I came here as an exchange student when I was 17 years old.
BONJ: Where were you in America?
Fumiji: First I came to Virginia, then I went to Plymouth State University in New Hampshire.Few Asian students [laughs]The reason I chose to go to school was because I needed to learn English quickly. And I had to make sure I didn’t speak anything but English. I learned a lot of English by watching TV and movies.
I just spent 30 years in the US and have been in the financial industry for 20 years. I’m still a CFP and have a license, but now I’m not doing anything. I run Mr. Fu’s delicious food truck full time.
BONJ: Where in Japan are you from?
Fumiji: Tokyo. I was born and raised in Yokosuka, but my family is now in Tokyo.
BONJ: What inspired you to start your own food truck?
Fumiji: I love food and mostly love to eat [laughs]I like to eat. And I feel that happiness comes from eating food and spending time with good people.
BONJ: When did you open your food truck?
Fumiji: 2015. Although the company was established in 2014, we have been operating Ms. Fu’s Yummy Food Truck since 2015.
BONJ: What was the first season like?
Fumiji: Before starting my food truck, I was not in the food industry.So I watched everything on YouTube and learned everything [laughs]I didn’t know what worked and what didn’t.
The first season was rough and I learned a lot of lessons. I used to write the menu next to the truck and erase it every day. I’m like, “Okay, this is not going to work.” There were many joys and sorrows.
I am now repeating it on my second truck. It will be an Asian fusion taco truck. And my son hopefully plans to run it. It’s called Bebop Food Truck.
BONJ: How is the food at Ms. Fu’s Yummy Food Truck?
Fumiji: It’s probably not authentic Japanese food. Like the cheesesteak, it has a lot of twists. Asian-flavored cheese steak with ribeye on Portuguese bread. Anything I want to eat is on the truck, such as fried chicken wings.
Yakisoba is undoubtedly our staple and popular item. However, our salt uses special salt that is different from other places in Japan. I think it has a Japanese taste, but it also has a twist. And we have pork buns that won the taco festival as Asian buns. We do Korean kimchi tacos, and we have chicken nuggets and Japanese tacos.
BONJ: Did your time in Japan influence the cuisine at Ms. Fu’s Yummy Food Truck?
Fumiji: yes! I always think that Japanese people are better at cooking various dishes. Like Japanese ramen. Ramen definitely comes from China.But when it comes to eating noodles, I think Japanese ramen is the best. [laughs].
I think Tokyo has more Michelin stars than anywhere else in the world. So you can find all the best and even convenience wherever you go. Even 7-Eleven in Japan has a cup of coffee. Grind and brew coffee on the spot.
BONJ: What catering options do you offer?
Fumiji: We do many private events such as weddings, corporate lunches and corporate dinners. We do a lot of bar mitzvahs.
Lots of vegan options too. We don’t have many dedicated vegan trucks, so you can be the vegan truck for your event or offer vegan options. It’s easy.
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All photos: © Patrick Lombardi / Best of NJ