When Sid and Krupa Panchal moved from Mumbai (formerly Bombay) to St. Louis eight years ago, they knew they would miss the street food of the coastal Indian city. Finding that none of the Indian restaurants in town specialized in the kind of food traditional to Mumbai, the Panchals took matters into their own hands.
On Saturday the Panchals celebrated the grand opening of their new food truck, Bombay Food Junkies (@bombayfoodtruck), with a special five-course tasting menu for their friends, family and invited guests.
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"The inspiration was we grew up the majority of our lives in Bombay," Krupa Panchal explains. "It's so famous for its street foods. There are only a couple of restaurants here that provide something like it, but nothing with the same taste."
Sid and Krupa began working on creating their own food truck about six months ago. Krupa studied optometry and recently got a master's degree in gerontology. She worked in a doctor's office for a while but decided the food-truck route was her true passion. Sid is a computer engineer, and he plans to keep that job while helping out with food-truck events on the weekends. He, too, believes that Bombay Food Junkies is filling a niche in St. Louis.
"Others Indian restaurants in town are more northern Indian cuisine," he says. "It's not pick-up-and-go kind of food. You sit down and eat and have a proper meal. This is more quick, on the go. That works well with the idea of a food truck."
All of the recipes are Krupa's own, but she has had some help from her mother-in-law, who once ran a catering business back in India. Though Krupa herself is not a vegetarian, all of the cuisine that Bombay Food Junkies will serve is vegetarian, and many dishes can be prepared vegan by request.
"Ninety percent of Bombay street food is vegetarian," Krupa says, "but we don't really miss meat when we're in Bombay. We wanted to go with vegetarian because we want to have people know that there is nutrition in it, there is taste."
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