SoPhiE, which is short for South Philly East, is a shared food truck sponsored by the Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Associations Coalition (SEAMAAC). More about that later. On this particular night my friends and I stopped for drinks at Love City Brewing, and the food truck was run by Chef Zing Thulai, offering Burmese fusion options. My first order for the table was two sushi rolls, the Chinland Roll and the A Chai Roll. I say “first” because I went back for seconds, it was THAT GOOD.
The Chinland roll had sushi rice, crunchy shrimp, cucumber, and avocado. It was drizzled with spicy mayo and teriyaki sauce, and sprinkled with sesame seeds and crispy fried onion. The A Chai Roll had sushi rice, imitation crab meat, cucumber, avocado, and spicy mayo. Both tasted fresh and delicious!
A few Eraserhood IPAs later (my favorite beer in Philly at the moment), we all decided we were hungry for more! I headed back to the truck and ordered the Burmese style fried chicken special combo. This came with a drumstick and a thigh, rice, and Myanmar green beans. I had never heard of Myanmar green beans, but I was surprised to find they were cold… in a good way! It was like a cold green bean salad mixed with scallions, crispy fried garlic and onion, crushed peanuts, and just a tad bit of oil to make the garnishes stick. The beans were refreshingly crisp and accompanied the heavier fried chicken well. The chicken was seasoned well and very tender.
I also had a chance to read up on Chef Zing’s story. A refugee from Burma, she arrived in Philadelphia and began working in a sushi restaurant. This explains how the fusion of Burmese and sushi came to be. She says that her dream is to run her own restaurant in South Philadelphia and the truck is a way to share what she can do. Judging from how busy the truck was last night at Love City, I’d say Philly appreciates her skills.
While waiting for my first order, I noticed this flyer on the truck and this is when I learned about SEAMAAC. The coalition launched this truck to give refugee and immigrant chefs a chance to share their cuisine with Philadelphia. The chefs rotate monthly and include chefs representing Indonesia, Mexico, Algeria, and Burma. This is just one area that SEAMAAC works to assist the immigrant population in Philadelphia. According to the SEAMAAC facebook page, currently SEAMAAC offers services in the following program areas:
Education and Enrichment Programs:
• Truancy Prevention and Family Support
• Hip Hop Heritage Summer & Afterschool Programs
• Culinary Heritage Afterschool Program
• Student Immigrant Leadership Council
• Resiliency through Faith, Hope & Action
Health & Social Services Programs:
• Asian Women’s Health Program
• Health Insurance Enrollment Program
• Roots of Happiness: Elders Health & Wellness Program
• Continuum of Care Program
• Safe Families Program
• Foundational English for New Americans ESL Classes
As a child of an immigrant, this makes me happy to support the venture. That, along with the amazing food!
Location: Various locations around the area. They are fairly active on social media. They park at Mifflin Square Park on Wednesdays from 3-7pm and Saturdays from noon to 5pm.
Pay: Credit or Cash
Cuisine: Burmese fusion (SoPhiE also hosts chefs who make Indonesian, Mexican, and Algerian food).
What I tried: A Chai roll, Chinland roll, Burmese fried chicken combo