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New Austin Food Truck Takes Its Cues From Japanese-Canadian Cooking Traditions

Cumberland will serve dishes like chow mein and red bean pancakes

A dish with rice, crispy noodles, chicken, Chinese sausage, and puree
Cumberland’s chow mein
Cumberland [Official]

A new food truck taking its inspiration from Japanese-Canadian cuisine will open in Austin this fall. Chef Chris Sapp plans on opening Cumberland at 1304 East Cesar Chavez Street in East Austin.

A truck is “a great way to share a personal narrative in food,” Sapp explained. The chef wants to highlight the cuisines and cooking traditions of his Japanese great-grandparents, who immigrated to Canada from the East Asian country. “The way the Japanese influence has changed from generation to generation interests me, and how these dishes take on a new life in America,” he said.

That intention can be seen by the food truck’s name, which stems from the Japanese-Canadian dish called the Cumberland Chow Mein. The dish was created by Japanese immigrants in Cumberland, British Columbia, who utilized readily available Chinese ingredients. The chow mein made use of noodles and local vegetables with Japanese flavors (like mushrooms, seaweed flakes, shoyu, etc.), which are all pan-fried. The dish became popular among those Japanese immigrants who were made to work during World War II in camps like the coal mines in Canada.

Sapp’s iteration of that chow mein is expected to make an appearance on the menu, made with ginger oil-poached chicken, shiitake mushrooms, eggs, pickled Japanese plums, blistered green beans, rice, and pickled cabbage. Then there’s latkes made of sweet potatoes, octopus, and kimchi. As for sweets, look out for doriyaki (Japanese red bean pancakes) with toasted rice ice cream, blueberries, and walnuts.

Sapp had worked for notable Austin restaurants like downtown gastropub Parkside, butcher shop and restaurant Dai Due, upscale Spicewood restaurant Apis, and its next-door casual spot Pizzeria Sorellina.

Before opening the trailer, Sapp is cooking up two preview dinners, the first at venue space Wolf House on Sunday, September 8. The second is at Apis on Sunday, September 22 from 5 to 8 p.m.

Cumberland

1304 East Cesar Chavez Street, Austin, Texas 78702

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