Reporting Sara Pelissero
With so many new — and delicious — food trucks hitting the streets of the Twin Cities each summer, it’s almost too tough to keep up. Well, fear not, we’re here to help. Introducing our new Friday food truck feature!
Each Friday, we’ll put the spotlight on a different food truck in the Twin Cities. And not just on the food, but on the fabulous chefs behind the truck.
The words “sushi food truck” may seem like an oxymoron to some. Fresh fish coming out of a parked truck? Isn’t that some kind of health hazard?
Well rest assured, the fine folks at SushiFix in downtown Minneapolis have managed to conquer the art of sushi from a truck — and then some. And yes, it’s extremely fresh.
Located on Marquette Avenue, SushiFix is a newcomer to the food truck world and a trailblazer when it comes to mobile sushi. Enkhbileg “Billy” Tserenbat, a former sushi chef at Excelsior’s Yumi, opened the truck in March, marking the first sushi truck in the Midwest.
We chatted with him about his truck and how he’s able to keep his fish so fresh.
Owner: Enkhbileg “Billy” Tserenbat
Date the food truck opened: Late May.
What kind of food do you serve? Fresh sushi. We get our fish straight from the Tsukiji fish market in Japan or from the Honolulu Fish Company in Hawaii, overnight. We make everything to order.
Price range of menu: From $5 to $18. It’s a really good variety. Many food truck only offer five items, but we offer maybe 26 items. It’s crazy.
Hours of operation: Open at 10:30 a.m. until about 1:45 p.m., Monday through Friday
Job before opening food truck: I was executive chef at Yumi Sushi Bar by Lake Minnetonka.
Why did you want to go into the food industry? Billy said he finds a lot of inspiration in the kitchen. He said he pours his heart and soul into every meal he serves. Much like the feeling that comes from eating your mother’s home cooking, Billy said he’s always wanted to share that with the people around him to hopefully fill and inspire them, as well.
Is it more challenging to make sushi in a truck? We’re making edo-style sushi, which is born in the streets of Tokyo. So I don’t think it’s anything too challenging — all the challenge is, if we run out of fish, then what are we going to do? That’s the big scary part. I want to have my fish really fresh so we get our fish overnight.
Is everything done from the truck? Yeah, everything is from the truck. We never make anything pre-made. If we do, it’s shame on us. Sushi is actually made so that the fish is fresh, the rice is soft and fluffy so when you eat it, it should melt in your mouth. Even if you’re having a bad day, it gives you an instant smile.
How did you come up with the name? Actually it’s a funny story. There’s so many different names I had but I was thinking I wanted to do something quick and simple so I thought what’s a good American name — fix. We do sushi, so SushiFix. It works, right?
How did you decide on the menu/theme? Years of experience, from what we learn and what we know. All of our rolls are what our sushi chefs come up with, what they designed and what they created while they are working. One small example, the roll we call 2-14, last year on Valentine’s Day I created that one and I have an accent so it’s really hard for me to say “Valentine” every other day so I said, you know what I’m going to call it 2-14 and people can figure it out.
What do you think is your best dish? Well here’s the thing. If you had kids and I ask you, “which one is your favorite kid?” (Laughs) It’s really tough to pick just one. That’s why we want to have everything be really fresh. Nothing picked over. But technically, there are a few items that make people go crazy — the 2-14 roll and the Crunchy Spicy Tuna roll and the spicy octopus salad.
Describe your truck in one word: SushiFix = catalyst.
What’s your craziest story from working inside a food truck? Nothing too crazy. As sushi chefs, we’re always working under pressure and under the heat and in tough situations. Sushi chefs, by nature, are kind of crazy. (Points to his sushi chefs, currently dancing in the truck). But you know, this is who we are. I think it’s a great addition to Minneapolis.
What’s one thing you want people to know about your food truck? My sushi truck is ocean fresh. Probably 22 hours ago, that yellowfin tuna was in the ocean and now it’s in my case. Less than 24 hours, it’s unbelievable. I think sushi is a destination and that’s why people follow us and follow sushi chefs, as well.
Catch the Friday Food Truck Feature every week, in the Curiocity column. Know of a food truck you think should be featured? Let us know by leaving a comment below or tweeting your suggestion to @SaraPelissero!