by Malia Erickson, Guest Contributor
Meet Minymeals: a pop-up food cart dishing up mouthwatering Southeast Asian street
foods with healthy, creative spins.
One of the newest food carts to the lively Rhode Island food scene, the business debuted at Farm Fresh RI’s Winter Market in Pawtucket just a year ago. And how did it start? By accident! Owner and executive chef Pin Minyvong credits Instagram for kick-starting her business. As a self-taught cook who looks at food “like a blank canvas… where you can draw and make whatever you want,” Pin was constantly posting her creative and healthy takes on the Asian dishes she loves. Positive feedback poured in, and her friends and family started asking her for a bowl of zucchini noodle Pho, or a serving of Thai beef salad, and so Pin began selling meal
preps out of her home kitchen.
Demand grew and Pin saw that the opportunity was there. She joined the Hope & Main incubator program to learn how to establish a business, but even after that she says she “sat on the idea for two years.” She was nervous about starting a business, especially one she never set out to create. But finally, she made a New Year’s Resolution in 2019 to take the leap of faith and make Minymeals legitimate. “I just pushed the button and went for it,” Pin says. “There was no turning back.”
During the first year of business, Pin sold her fresh and flavorful food at Farm Fresh’s Winter Market. In her opinion, the farmers market is the ideal setting to launch a new business since customers are right there and can give her direct feedback on her food. “The farmers market was like a pilot for the business,” Pin explains. “It’s the perfect environment to launch a new business.”
Through the responses she’d get from customers at the market, she was able to tweak what she served until coming up with Minymeals’ finalized menu. One of her biggest hits combines the Northeastern lobster roll with the Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich, giving the traditional lobster roll a Southeast Asian glow-up with a lobster paté spread, pickled daikon, carrots, cilantro and sweet, buttery scallion sauce drizzled on top.
“Farm Fresh has helped us with a lot of exposure,” Pin explains. Aside from the market, the food cart can also often be found at Ravenous Brewing Company in Cumberland.
As active military, a food cart was the most logical business plan for Pin since it gives her more freedom and flexibility than a storefront. She is able to pick and choose which events work best for her. No matter how much she has to balance, Pin’s passion for food keeps her cooking.
In summer 2021, after her deployment, Pin plans on opening a food truck with the help of her cousin, who has been Pin’s business partner since the beginning. Perhaps a brick-and-mortar Minymeals will follow in a couple of years. No matter whether in a cart, a truck, or a storefront, Pin will be serving up her delicious lobster rolls and all the other one-of-a-kind dishes she offers.
Mark your calendars for Minymeals’ return in 2021 and be sure to grab a spot in line! Follow Minymeals on Instagram to be sure you stay updated on Pin’s return!
The Farm Fresh team can’t thank Pin enough for all that she does for the local community, and our country.