Upon my arrival in Singapore, I had no direction, no plan. I knew I was here to research and gain inspiration, ideas, and to create a larger network of resources. I came across a website that would name Singapores top food bloggers for 2012. I acted on this list of resources asking each one of them if they would be aviablie to answer questions. I used this as my first line of screening, once they gave me the green light I proceeded with next set of questions.
I am leaving for Singapore this evening and the past two days I have been contacting every food blogger I could get my hands on. I though this would be a great way to be introduced to all things food. These individuals all have Facebook so I shot them all a message that looked like this:
Let me begin congratulating you on Singapore’s food blog finalist! My name is Allen Tan, and I am currently an entrepreneur from Toronto, Canada who would like to start a food business. Food is a huge passion of mine and I would love to follow my dreams of starting a food truck in Toronto. I have a specific interest in learning asian street food, and I thought it would be in my best interest to fly over to Singapore to learn first hand.
I am writing to you today for your expertise about singapore street food. From the looks of it you are well seasoned in the food industry and I would love to ask you a couple of question if you allow me. I thought this would be good chance to get familiar with the food culture, by talking to an expert.
Hope to hear back from you!
Once I got the green light to ask them questions, my second message looked like this:
First and foremost, I would like to thank you for helping me! I arrive to Singapore this Tuesday and I have no time to waste! With your help, I believe I will have sufficient knowledge to educate myself on Singapore’s food culture.
I have come up with questions that I think will give me a better understanding of the food culture.
1. Are there any young entrepreneur that you can think of that run food business’s or hawker stalls?
2. Where/What are some of the most famous hawker stalls? (based on news and demand)
3. What is the most famous Singapore street food dish? Most underrated food in Singapore?
4. How has Singapore Street food changed over the years? and Why do you love street food?
5. Are there any food stalls that would take volunteers?
I am traveling Asia for around 3 months and I hope to expand my culinary knowledge. I notice that my hometown fails to provide authentic asian street food. I hope to tap into this market by learning first hand how it is made. I want to learn how to recreate some of these dishes so I can bring them back home. I would like to thank you for your time, if you are available, it would be my pleasure to ask you to join me on a food tour around Singapore. I am here to research and would love to meet locals that share similar interest as myself!
This is how I have attained a bunch of knowledge prior to even stepping into Singapore. =)
2012 was going to be the year I was going to invest in self improvement. Reading books about philosophy, studying entrepreneurs, creating principles, goal setting, self discipline… Now that 2013 has rolled around, I can look back and see all that I have accomplished. I am thinking about this past year, I am thinking about the future, most importantly I am planing on how to make my dream(s) a reality. I got a lot of thoughts and this is long plane ride, so I want to share some of them.
My last week in Toronto, I noticed that something wasn’t right, I wasn’t driven. I didn’t wake up wanting to improve, it took me a while to finally figure it out but I finally found the reason. I was getting too comfortable, I had fallen victim to comfort bug. I was too comfortable at home, it was only 5 weeks, but thats all it took. Everything was becoming routine, the people I would see, the things I would do, the places I would go, became all to familiar. I wasn’t being challenged, I wasn’t as curious, my senses weren’t being tickled!
I was in front of 40-50 students all looking at me. I had no idea where to start talking, I have never done a presentation on myself EVER! I just let the words flow…
I pulled up my website onto the projector and started there. I explained how powerful social media was. I told my story of how I tweeted some frustrations with my Wordpress website and an angel (@cathoulahan) reached out to help me. Catherine started her own website development company and helped develop a website for me.
I explained how powerful twitter has been for myself. I tell everyone how Twitter has helped me get onto food trucks in Vancouver, Toronto and a University.
After showing everyone my website and social media accounts, I jump right into my company name to catch peoples attention. I explain how food is all about shared experiences and my brand name resembles that.
Lastly, I explain how my future food truck is unique and is in it’s own niche. I pretty much paraphrase the “about me” section of my website. I talk about how no food truck in the world has based its concept on traveling the world to find the recipes. Since I only had 5 minutes I had to wrap things up quickly.
Everything was said and done, I over came my fears of presentations and I crossed another thing off my bucket list. Couple months ago, I have set a goal to become a better public speaker and this is a step in the right direction. Cant wait to see what the world has in store.
The the Great Food Truck Finale Screening I talked to Bobbaloo and Scott from Popa Waffle (Great food Truck Race Season 3). It’s crazy my 5 year old cousin follows the show religiously and told me that Popa waffle was his favorite team. Using this to my advantage I thought this was the best way to break the ice. I tapped Bobbaloo on the shoulder and told him about my cousin. He was so happy to hear such a thing that he told me “Let’s take a picture so you can send it back home”. We shot the shit about his recently plans, my food truck concept, positivity, traveling, waffles and much more! They must have been two of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. Had great talks with both Scott and Bobbaloo.
Oh Yeah! This is Seoul Sausage Finale party so should I talk about my time talking to Seoul Sausage? Well I didn’t get a chance to talk a lot to Chris, Ted or Yong very much since they were really busy. I did give them props and pats on the back whenever we crossed paths during the party. I also thanked each of them for the invite. I was telling Ted “Its a dream being here!”.
When the episode was concluding the winner was going to announced the three of them were standing right beside me! My first primitive instinct was to pull out my camera to show everyone back home! It was a wicked experience being there while everyone was yelling and cheering. Going to this event I thought I was going to sit there watch the show, enjoy the sites n sound and all that touristy shit. It ended up being a whole different experience. I talked to so many food truck entrepreneurs and met so many new people. What an epic night, my 3rd day in Los Angeles and I have some momentum moving into this upcoming week. Lets just say the Youtube video has helped me open some doors. Always find the win win situation ;)
Early Sunday morning I was doing some research on food truck owners and I was reading a bunch of articles about The Lime Truck. The owner Daniel (@danielLimeTruck) owns 4 trucks and has a well established reputation. I thought to myself “I should really email this guy…” SURPRISE! The winner from the Great Food Truck Race season 2 was in attendance! He was right infront of me! I headed over to talk to him not knowing what to say. When we started talking everything seemed to flow. He’s a really cool dude. I mentioned I moved from Toronto to LA just to learn how to run a food truck. He’s like “luckily’ you met me, I am currently looking to hire some new staff”. He gave me his business card and that’s all she wrote. I’m going to see if he can put me on one of his trucks. I hope things work out. I want to learn new tricks!
Another food network star I talked to was Pizza Mike from the Great Food Truck Race Season 3. Remember, his pizza kitchen burned down? Well I also told him how I came from Toronto just to be at this viewing party and he’s like “Damn you serious? You crazy son!” Since we were in a intermission I had to make it quick. The conversation went pretty fast but one thing I found really amazing was when he said, “Give me a call anytime you have any question’s about food trucks.” R U KIDDING ME?! I was like what? OKAYYY (Lil John voice) #winning! Also Mike was the one that insisted we took a picture together! What a great guy!
gwennguyenn asked: which would you prefer to fight? a duck the size of a horse? or a dozen horses the size of ducklings?
hey gwen! great question Well I wouldnt want to fight a duck the size of a horse becuase it would crush cars when it crossed the street. I would rather much have a dozen duckling sized horses haha so cuteee
If you remember I was talking about Los Angels. The MECCA of food trucks is what I call it. This is a story about how my plan is always evolving.
I was skyping my close friend D—— who lives in Los Angles. He just got an earful from me! I told him my plan. He seemed as excited as I was. I got positive reinforcement and it was dope! D—— is so excited about the idea, he’s letting me stay with him for however long I need to! Yeah I just said it. I’m adding LA to my travel itinerary. My stop over in LA is not all beaches and surfing doe. I am going to stop over in California to attain experience that would be useful on my food truck. I hope to experience a whole different food truck culture. I want to learn how the food truck has evolved. That;s why LA is perfect. It is the MECCA!
I got an update from my cousin in Kota Kinabalu. He said will look into a ‘placement’ for me from December 2012 to February 2013.
Lets think out loud here and keep typing…. What are the Countries on my Food Truck list* and the amount of time I “estimate” that I’ll be spending…(I love brain storming =) )
Remember this is only the initial list. ;)
That last post gave me a pretty crazy idea. Why don’t I start asking my family in Asia to see if I have any resources there that could benefit my food truck!
I began rethinking who could possibly help me… I realize that my closet cousin works for a very expensive restaurant in Kota Kinabalu! He’s the manager of the restaurant. If I needed a job he would be the person to hook me up.
Housing and food will be arranged for me when I move to Kota Kinabalu. Pretty sweet deal! I get to save money woohoo! I’m staying in Kota Kinabalu for at least a month or two. I’m coming home! I’m coming homeeee.
Later that evening a new idea popped into my head…I realized that one of my good high school friends (Ryan) works as a food manager for a highly reputable food company, Paneara breads! I am going to write it down to contact him in the near future. I’ll have to prepare questions to ask him so i don’t waste his time.
I have been looking into meetup.com for start ups and seminars to attend. I stumbled upon Enterprise Toronto: How to Start a Food business Seminar. What a pleasant surprise! I didn’t even know things like this existed. This should be a great place to gain knowledge! I’m going to email the person who runs it asking if I’ll be able to help out once a week to get a head start! (can you tell I’m eager to learn?) This seminar is only a one day event. It should be a lot of fun. I’M GOING TO NETWORK THE SHIT OUT OF IT!