Hao Bao food truck owner Jake Lau is back. And this time, he's got a clear path to re-launch what he's calling "Hao Bao 1.1."
In March, the 30-year-old ex-corporate financier was "circumstantially forced to exit" Phoenix to attend to family matters in his home state of Virginia, leaving his mobile kitchen of Chinese soul food to sit in storage -- something it hadn't done since the business was launched in November 2012. This week, Lau came back to the city to stay and says he'll be rolling out a new and improved Hao Bao in the upcoming weeks.
"There was such a show of support from our followers and other small-business owners when I left," Lau tells me. "I feel like I'm coming back to a warm welcome."
What can food truck fans expect to find at Hao Bao 1.1? Think healthy.
Lau tells me that along with crowd favorites such as his handmade dumplings, beef noodle soup, Chinese noodle salad, and street treats, he'll be slowly introducing some new items (think pickled veggies and veggie-stuffed dumplings) that focus on "healthy, more veggie-friendly food that's still authentic Chinese."
And this time he's staffing up as well, adding people to help out during the busy times and "to be there in case I can't be."
Even though it's only been a handful of months since he returned, Lau notes the Valley's food truck scene is continuing to improve, with strides being made from a logistical standpoint (more organized events) as well as in exposure (five food trucks were filmed last month for Eat St., the show about street food on the Cooking Channel).
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"We're one of the youngest food truck markets in the country," Lau says. "We're still going through growing pains and there's always room for improvement. I hope Hao Bao can play a role in that positive change."
Lao will be doing soft re-launches of Hao Bao in the upcoming days and hopes to formally grand open in mid-December. For more details and to find out where Hao Bao will be next, follow them on Facebook.
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