Take a tour of one of Wichita’s hidden gems
Two food trucks specializing in Asian food have been trekking into Wichita this spring.
One is a Dexter transplant by way of Sedgwick that has been serving stir fry dishes since 2013. The other is a new truck by a Derby resident who once owned a restaurant in Wichita.
Here’s a closer look at two of the newest participants on the food truck scene in Wichita.
Chalanda Schleinz is the former owner of Thai-Riffic Cuisine, a restaurant that operated at 2020 S. Rock Road from 2013 to 2015. After the restaurant closed, her former customers kept urging her to get back in the food business, so in December, Schleniz opened a food trailer and gave it the same name as her former restaurant. Since then, she’s been regularly setting up in the parking lot of the Derby Lowe’s.
Now, though, Schleinz said she’s ready to venture in to Wichita. Her first Wichita service is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday at Celebrity Cruises, 4729 S. Palisade.
Schleinz, who was born and raised in Thailand, said that she’s sampled many Thai restaurants in the area and found them lacking in authenticity.
“There are a lot of Thai restaurants around here owned by other people from other countries, but when you’re born and raised in a country, you know what the food is supposed to taste like,” she said.
So far, Schleinz said, her most popular dishes are egg rolls, giant spring rolls and chicken satay on a stick with curry seasonings. People also like her basil fried rice, red curry and Tom Yum soup.
To keep track of the Thai Riffic Food Truck schedule, follow its Facebook page.
It was 2013 when Cory Zimmerman started his stir fry business in Dexter, a small town about 70 miles southeast of Wichita. Back then, it was set up in a tent, but about two years ago, he moved it into a trailer. He’s built the business by setting up at festivals all over the country.
Now, he’s ready to stay closer to home. Zimmerman, who moved to Sedgwick about a year ago, is now working on establishing himself in the the Wichita food truck scene. Last weekend, he participated in his first Food Trucks at the Fountain event, and he’s also working on joining the Wichita Food Truck Coalition.
His truck specializes in stir-fry dishes made with either rice or noodles mixed with carrots, broccoli, peas, onions, ginger and garlic. Customers also can get chicken breast or pork added to their meals. The dishes are served in easy-to-carry Chinese take-out boxes.
Zimmerman’s son works with him in the trailer, and the food is prepared in a wok near the front window so people can see exactly what they’re getting.
Zimmerman said he’s had a front row seat to the growth of the food truck industry, and he’s happy to note that tastes have changed. When he first started, corn dogs and funnel cakes were the staples of mobile food businesses. He wanted to do something different, something a little healthier.
“We decided to do the noodles and vegetables, and as we have grown and done this, we see we are getting a wider range of people wanting it.”
To keep up with the Wok Hei Noodle House schedule, follow its Facebook page.