EM Exclusive, Nagaland
Two friends ditch army uniform for aprons to chase food dream
Eastern Mirror Desk
Dimapur, Sep. 3: Food trucks are yet to pick up pace in this part of the country but two childhood friends, who also served in the army together, have taken the commercial hub of Dimapur by storm with their well-equipped and state-of-the-art, attractive food truck stationed near the Clock Tower every evening.
The ‘Juicy Bells and Food Trailer’ truck was started by Kughato Zhimomi and Imkongnukshi Ao in June this year after having served in the army under the Assam Regiment for many years. “We were in the army together and had planned to do something like this from that time,” said Zhimomi and added that even as children they would dream about owning a restaurant or being in the food industry.
Although there is a growing trend of street food stalls and various eating vendors in the same area during evenings, the truck appears to attract most customers.
This, Ao said, was because they have varieties of non-vegetarian items. “You know how Nagas are with their non-veg food; they love it,” quipped Ao as he poured a glass of fresh juice, from the juicer attached to the truck, for one of the customers.
The duo now gets service pension, and also have other eatery businesses, which they tend to during the day. Ao, who had served in the army for 19 years, told Eastern Mirror that at the moment there are no jobs left for people and through this food truck, he along with his business partner wanted to show that if one put their mind into it, anything will be possible no matter the background.
“I am living my dream now and seeing people throng the truck every evening gives me immense pleasure,” Zhimomi said.
From smoked pork roasted ribs to Tom Yum chicken wings (INR 100 for a plate), which was unmistakably delicious amongst other items, the service offered is also a hit. While one cooks and the other handles the juice bar, either of them takes care of the finances. “A systematic approach was set up and hence an easy flow of duties is visible,” said Ao adding that both look forward to serving their customers every day along with three of their staff.
“It is never easy to start a business; we initially took almost three months to get the food truck running,” said Zhimomi.
When asked if they had faced any problem and challenges while setting up the business, Ao replied that it was sheer hard work and support from everyone including their customers that has helped the business. “Our rates are also very reasonable and have a lot of varieties compared to other food trucks here or outside the state,” Ao added.
“We want the community to be involved, and what better way than to bring together people through food,” Ao exclaimed.
The ‘Juicy Bells and Food Trailer’ is open every day from 5 pm to 10 pm near the Clock Tower.