When I last spoke with Tyson Wong Ophaso, the energetic Laotian-born Chinese chef was leaving his post at Chew Man Chu, stung by a negative review. The restaurant, at Broad and Pine, closed soon after.
I just caught up with him, and he says he is getting back into the game with a food truck called Bee-Innovation.
It's a 1991 GMC that had been sitting for two years. When he checked out the truck, it was covered in bees. "I'm holding them close as a good-luck charm," he says. The truck will be painted by a few local artists.
He and his biz partner are planning a preopening a week or so before Labor Day and rolling around Philadelphia serving international food by Labor Day. "Our goal as a food truck is to provide students with healthy food of higher quality than they are used to, at a price they can afford," he says. He'll target the Drexel-Penn area.
In the early weeks of the opening, he will do an extensive social-media campaign as well as some collaborative work with local art galleries.
A few menu items:
Green curry vegetable rice bowl
Red curry chicken rice bowl
Steamed pork bun (which won him an award for best appetizer a few months ago at the Philly Cooks competition)
Moo shu vegetable burrito
Korean BBQ short-rib burrito
Pad Thai (vegetable or chicken)
Pad se ew (vegetable or chicken)
Vietnamese bahn-mi sandwich
Meatball sandwich from Girasole (one of his partners)