What The Fuki?
In a world saturated in fat, coated in bacon, and then drizzled with Siracha, Fuki is a welcome addition to the Bay Area’s food truck community. Owner Alex Meisels compliments The Chairman, Hiyya, and Del Popolo for their admirable quality and presentation, but he also maintains that his one-year-old trailer slings some of the best food in town. Specifically, mostly organic, entirely local, and extremely delicious fare inspired by the spice trade.
To be perfectly honest, he’s right. His Tofu Makkani Bowl features a creamy tomato sauce and punchy garam masala alongside some arugula salad and quinoa. Yep, you heard that right. This food truck is serving QUINOA. Now, it should come as no surprise that a San Francisco food truck is all about healthy, organic, and local fare (which all comes right from Green Leaf, by the way), but Fuki is actually an odd duck. Look around at any local SF gathering and you’ll be hard put to find one place that makes a killer salad. And Fuki’s – The Arugula Shaved Fennel Salad – is addicting. The citrus vinaigrette is light but zesty and the fresh parmesan cheese is enough to convince you to quit your day job and move to Italy.
By now, you may have noticed that this menu doesn’t seem to make much sense. Why would anyone think to put Italian and Moroccan, not to mention Indian and Southeast Asian food, on the same menu? And what the fuki is fuki, anyway? Well, it all started when Alex caught the travel bug. He and his business partner took a Grand Tour that eventually landed them in Japan, where they first tasted Fuki, a plant that is traditionally pickled, turned into relish, and eaten with rice. Upon their return, the two decided to put their software development careers on hold and start a food truck inspired by cuisine from along the spice trade. As it turns out, Fuki, the already registered namesake, is impossible to source in California, but the sentiment of exotic and healthy food is still embodied in its name.
As Alex explains, this spiel can be a bit confusing to customers, so they’re doing a costume change. The company name is switching to Cassia, after the Sri Lankan cinnamon tree, and they’re opening shop at The Hall, a new gourmet food court opening its doors at 7th & Market on September 1st.
Why the move to brick and mortar? Alex points out that his grub is a long-line-magnet during the day, but not so much at night. When the ties come off and the beer goggles go on, people want fried food and tacos. And while Fuki does serve up delicious pita pockets as a taco alternative, Alex says that they’re better off sticking to the lunch crowd. Once The Hall (and newly dubbed Cassia) open up, the Fuki trailer (which will maintain its name) will be available for catering and parties.
We can look forward to Cassia’s similar menu – thought it will be more of a Morracan/Peruvian fusion – and the occasional cameo at food truck gatherings and events. In the meantime, get Fuki while it’s hot! Alex tells us that people obsess over the Braised Pork Shoulder Bowl, though you’d better not leave without a side of those refreshing greens.
Even after we learned about the menu’s inspirations and origins, we’re still a little confused about how it all comes together. But as we’ve learned (especially in the food truck industry), sometimes it’s better to not ask questions. Fuki knows what it’s doing, and all we know is that we can’t wait to go back.
-Bay Area Contributor, Sienna Mintz of thepantryraid.com