One day, Josh Burgoyne was browsing Craigslist, and he stumbled into something unbelievable: a food truck that ran on solar power. The listing couldn’t have been a better fit. Burgoyne had studied environmental science, and he’d considered starting a restaurant with his girlfriend, Korn Suom.
“The two of us are very passionate about cooking,” says Burgoyne. “We have some experience in the industry. And I’ve worked on solar projects as a consultant. Sustainability is definitely a big thing for me.”
The result is Ming’s Asian Street Food, a mobile eatery powered by the sun. The vehicle may look familiar; it was previously called SolarCart and spent two years serving crepes and vegetarian fare at Rhode Island street festivals. Suom and Burgoyne started renting the truck this year, remodeling it from wheels to roof. Their maiden voyage was to an Earth Day cleanup, where they offered free food to volunteers.
Suom’s parents immigrated from Cambodia during the nation’s civil war, and the menu is modeled on Southeast Asian street fare. “Ming” is Khmer for “auntie,” and most of the menu items could be found on the streets of Phnom Penh: papaya salad, toasted Banh Mi, and Cambodian Barbecue, as well as rotating specials.
Ming’s will make appearances throughout Providence, from College Hill to Kennedy Plaza, and it may travel as far south as Narragansett. The couple plans to continue operations through October, and if all goes well, they hope to eventually buy the truck. The food is important, but they also want to showcase an eco-friendly outfit. Notes Burgoyne: “There’s a whole lot more involved in a mobile food service than just the food.”