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Food trucks serve a taste of home

Education

A MALAYSIAN food truck is bringing fresh flavours to an Australian city buzzing with International students.

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Homesickness is common for students studying abroad, especially when they are trying to become established in an unfamiliar place.

Erlane’s Cuisine is serving up a taste of home to the Malaysian population of Adelaide, the capital of South Australia.

There are about 10,000 people with Malaysian heritage living in South Australia.

Adelaide has six universities and is home to more than 20,000 international students, the majority of whom are from Asia.

The city of 1.3 million people has been a sister city to George Town, the capital of the Malaysian state of Penang for more than 40 years.

With classic Malaysian dishes such as Nasi Lemak and Beef Rendang available, it is no surprise Erlane’s Cuisine has been successful.

Alan Foo and his wife Elaine began their food truck journey last year and received a welcome response.

Foo studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Adelaide and met his wife shortly after.

He said adjusting to life in Adelaide was difficult at first, but now he considers it to be a second home.

“Adelaide is very relaxing and a great environment to live in,” Foo said.

“But when I came in 2003, I began to feel home sick quite quickly.“You can find a lot of Malaysian restaurants here, but what you tend to get is luxury style food, not the real Malaysian street food.”

Foo’s mobile business is not just a comfort destination for the homesick, but also brings a different element to the food truck scene in Adelaide.

In recent years, Adelaide has experienced a street food boom driven by the popularity of food trucks similar to that of cities in the United States like Orlando and Denver.

Food trucks have become a normal part of city life, and serve a variety of cuisine including Mexican, American, Asian and Italian meals.

“I saw the food trucks here and got the idea,” Foo said.

“Cooking runs in my family and I thought this was a good stepping stone to try and test the market.

“My main dream is to start up my own restaurant.”

Foo said he was working on a new menu and planned to re-launch the truck for 2016 to coincide with the start of the university year toward the end of the month.

Adelaide City Council has reduced the number of food trucks permitted to operate in the city following concerns they were impacting on bricks and mortar restaurants.

Only 16 of the 44 food trucks from last year will continue to run their mobile businesses in 2016, including Erlane’s Cuisine.

“It would be nice to see a night market here in Adelaide like we have in Malaysia, where people can sit down and eat,” Foo said.

Erlane’s Cuisine will resume its normal routes around the Adelaide CBD and can be found at Victoria Square on Tuesdays, Hindmarsh Square on Thursdays and North Terrace on Fridays.

Study Adelaide is an organization set up to attract and help international students who come to South Australia to further their education.

This is a Creative Commons story from The Lead South Australia, a news service providing stories about innovation in South Australia. Please feel free to use the story in any form of media. The story sources are linked in with the copy and all contacts are willing to talk further about the story.

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