In my continuing series of interviews with taco truck-related folks, I bring you the latest email interview with Nom Nom, a soon-to-be launched bánh mì (Vietnamese sandwich) truck serving West Los Angeles. The questions were answered via email by David Stankunas (above), one of Nom Nom’s founders.
1) How’d Nom Nom get started?
I came up for the idea for Nom Nom while having lunch with fellow co-founder, Jennifer Green, on a rainy March afternoon. As we were eating, I mentioned I had recently eaten at a popular taco truck, Kogi, the weekend before. At that same moment, Jennifer was reminded that she just happened to bring a few banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches) from Westminster for me to take home after lunch.
I’ve always loved banh mi, but since there aren’t any places in West LA that sell them, I usually had to drive a long ways to get one. Everything sorta just came together after that. Excited, I rushed home to do a little research on truck costs, permits, and other “alternative” trucks in Los Angeles. I also quickly shot off an email to the Kogi founders for some advice. Later that day I enlisted the other co-founder, Misa Chien, onto the Nom Nom team, and now, close to 5 months later, we’re on the verge of launching our first truck!
2) Were you guys crazy taco truck fans to begin with? How much did Kogi and/or other non-taco food trucks influence you?
Kogi was an incredible influence on us. In fact, I would go as far as saying they are the main reason we are doing what we are doing today. Not only did Kogi serve as inspiration for starting our Nom Nom Truck, they were also incredibly helpful and supportive when it came to offering advice on how to get started. We’re all big fans of Kogi, their food and their people. What they’ve been able to do in such a short period of time is nothing short of amazing. In my eyes, they are responsible for the whole mobile food “movement” that has become so popular in Los Angeles today. I like to refer to them as the “Godfather” of mobile food trucks.