My husband, Mohsin, and I often mixed leftovers after we got married — him making the Pakistani comfort food he grew up with and I, the downhome Appalachian meals I remembered from childhood. We began to see something emerge from these combinations, something unique and interesting. It became a culinary game for us. We started thinking about classic dishes from both cultures and then experimenting with 50/50 blends. For some dishes, we altered the cooking processes, and for others, the ingredients or spices. Eventually, we would create a dish that perfectly combined the best of both regions, dishes that — to be honest — we weren’t entirely sure people would like!
The Pakalachian Food Truck began in this way, organic unions brought forth by the marriage of two seemingly different cultures. Mohsin is ethnically Pakistani; his parents immigrated to the United States in the 1980s. I am from Russell County, Virginia. We have been in the food truck business since April 2018, building an empty 1995 step van from the ground up with the help of family and friends. This is just how you do things in Appalachia, build them up from scratch. We rummaged through old parts and trinkets to make our appliances work, pulled skills and knowledge from my grandfather and our dads, and even utilized an old SO cable from a local mine that shut down to suffice as our power source. After months of wiring the electrical circuits and lining the walls with stainless steel, we were ready to serve!