Food truck, restaurant owners serve fresh takes on Vietnamese cuisine

Nebraska ( After buying and renovating a truck, brothers-in-law Charlie and Minh Nguyen opened Heoya, a Vietnamese-style Asian Fusion food truck.
Lincoln, unlike other major cities, has ordinance laws requiring food trucks to arrange a primary parking spot, so the owners made a deal with U-Stop to ensure they could always park and sell their food there. After a few years, they decided a truck just wasn’t enough. In 2012, they set a permanent location for the restaurant inside U-Stop and continued to take the truck out for events Minh said.
Born in the United States but raised in Vietnamese families, both men grew up eating their mothers’ traditional Vietnamese meals. The name Heoya, pronounced “hell-yeah” originated when Charlie’s sister, and Minh’s wife, was making fun of the boys. Heo, pronounced “hell” in Vietnamese, means pig in English. They decided to add the “ya” to the end of it to make it sound more fun, and it just stuck, Charlie said.
“Since Minh and I are both Vietnamese, everything we make is Vietnamese-based,” Charlie said. “The fun thing is that we just whip stuff together, and if it tastes good, it goes on the menu.”
With no background in cooking, Charlie hopped into the restaurant business on a whim to help out his family’s store. After taking a break from his office job because of back surgery, Charlie joined Minh at the food truck and has been there ever since.
“All small business owners have their ups and downs, but being able to work with Charlie has been great,” Minh said. “We are just trying to get the restaurant growing and continue to try out new recipes.”
On the menu, customers can find a mix of Asian dishes such as egg rolls, crab rangoon, Korean barbecue tacos, basil chicken curry, rice boxes, lo mein and many more. According to Charlie, their most popular dishes are the Heoya rice boxes, which include rice, salad, crab rangoon and the customer’s choice of handcrafted sauce, or the Korean fries, an appetizer that consists of fries, cheese, a choice of meat, Korean barbecue sauce, onions and cilantro.
“We take what we know is good, then add twists to it, literally just throw things together and see if it is good,” Charlie said. “There have been many fails, but it is the dishes that are best sellers that make it fun and worth it.”
For the future of Heoya, both Charlie and Minh hope Lincoln will create a new ordinance that would allow food trucks from all over to park and sell their products as they wish. Until then, they are making sure their menu is strong and possibly looking at opening up another location.
“We are just buddies having a fun time along the way,” Charlie said. “It is working out as we hoped, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for us.”

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