Mangku will not be open for the 2017 season. Hope to see it back next year!
All it took was a dream and eBay to make Mangku a reality. I am serious. Jacqueline Foster decided after 7 years of making cheese, it was time to get back into the kitchen, and with the Island being one tough place to open a restaurant, she had a solution, Mangku.
Jackie is so lovely, and a joy to talk with. She has been in kitchens since she was legally able to. She went to culinary school, moved to Ireland as a chef, opened two restaurants, and fell in love.
She fell in love with Asian cuisine. One of the restaurants where she was the executive chef, featured modern Asian food.
She left Ireland, took two large trips to Asia, and knew that her heart was in cooking this style of food. Back to the states she came. Unfortunately, she became disenchanted with the restaurant scene. If you’ve ever worked at a restaurant you can see how this could happen.
What do you do when you want a change? You learn how to make cheese. Jacqueline worked with a cheese maker in Boston, and soon learned that she really enjoyed making cheese. Even though it only requires four ingredients, the process is incredibly complex.
She came to Martha’s Vineyard to make cheese. First stop was with Jan Buhrman (Kitchen Porch). Then Jackie went to Mermaid Farm, where she made that amazing feta, and then has spent the last four years at the Grey Barn. The Grey Barn’s signature cheeses are her babies, and if you’ve had them, you know they’re pretty fantastic (I love the Prufock).
There came a point when Jackie figured out that cheese making would not be forever. She was ready to get back into the kitchen. However, she contemplated, what could she bring to Martha’s Vineyard, Island wide, that was fresh and different.
Opening a restaurant was impossible at this time, but a food truck was possible. During the Winter months, she started to really think about this option. She met with The Food Truck owners, Josh and Angela Aronie, and they were so positive and supportive. She thought, “I could do this.”
She decided to start a business plan, and begin saving money. Perhaps this would become a reality in 2017. However, fate had something different in store. A while a go, Jacqueline had set a notification for food trucks on ebay, and one day she got a little ping from ebay — four trucks were available in her area. One was in Edgartown!
She immediately contacted the owner, Melody Cunningham, and went to look at the truck along with her boyfriend, Jefferson Monroe (The Good Farm).
The truck used to be Ire Bites, the Island’s first food truck, and the truck was perfect for her concept. She couldn’t believe it. She knew it was a little crazy to do this so soon, but she had to. She wrote her business plan over the next 24 hours, made Melody and offer, and the truck was hers (only two weeks after meeting with Josh and Angela).
She did it, she got a truck. Now what?
Step 1: Notifying The Grey Barn, giving them plenty of notice, and time for her to train another person.
Step 2: Find places to park. Each town has different rules, boards, etc., but with enough work, you can get it done. Actually everyone Jackie encountered was really supportive, and excited with her idea.
Step 3: the name, the truck, the menu. The fun stuff.
Introducing Mangku – the Island’s only Asian food truck. Mangku’s main offering will be rice bowls. Why rice bowls? It’s something Jackie eats a lot of, especially in the Summer, and you can do so much with rice as your base.
You can also do greens instead, but I am guessing the minimal carbs will be worth it. Plus, all of her rice bowls will be gluten and dairy free.
Each bowl will be chock full of fresh, local ingredients. The truck even says “Farm to Truck”! Jackie has great relationships with a number of local farms, and these farms and their produce will help dictate the menu (changing often).
Also, the protein, duck, pork, chicken and lots of duck eggs, found in the rice bowls, will be local. Jackie likes to work a lot with duck eggs. In her words, they are an eggier egg, and so good. Sometimes bigger is better.
The dishes will be balanced with flavor and texture, and won’t weigh you down, even though it will be about a pound of food! You can choose from brown or jasmine rice, and of course the greens option is available.
In the dishes, you’ll find a lot of custom ingredients. Jackie is a big fan of pickling and fermented fresh veggies. The flavors just pop and the colors tend to be so vibrant and rich.
Bowls will start at $13, and of course you can customize. There will also be other great food finds, like her Kimchi flapjacks, served with charred ginger maple syrup and kimchi mayo, and she be offering yummy, fresh, healthy snacks too.
Mangku means “to hold” in Balinese. It also was the name of a Brahman holyman that Jackie had met while on a 10 week trip in Southeast Asia. Mangku changed her life, and this is a way to honor him, honor him in this life change. Also, the meals with come in bowls, that cradle and hold her culinary creations.
Jackie did the legwork with the towns, and was able to get three locations. She can be found on Main Street in Vineyard Haven, next to the Cappawock, under the Linden Tree, Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and late night on Saturday’s. This was were Ire Bites once called home, and is a great location.
You will also find Mangku at State Beach by “Little Bridge,” where Island Spirit Kayak is located. The truck will be there from 4:00 p.m. to dusk, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday.
Up-Island, Mangku can found at the Chilmark Community Center on Wednesdays for dinner at 6:30 p.m. after June 25th. The truck will be a great spot to grab a bite while checking out one of the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival’s movies that night.
Mangku is also available for private events, in case you wanted it all to yourself one day.
I almsot forgot to mention. There will be some refreshing dessert options available. Jackie’s friend, Karen Columbo, who used to work for Favorite Brand Ice Cream, will be helping her create house made sorbets.
There will usually be two options, Karen’s signature Whole Orange Sorget, which is made with the entire orange, rind and all, promising to be sweet and bitter and perfect, and one with local ingredients. The first one of the season will be Thimble Farm Strawberry and Chocolate Mint (yes please)!
Mangku will be hitting the streets in about two weeks, and don’t you worry, we’ll be there to follow-up on this fresh, different eatery coming to Martha’s Vineyard.
Author’s Note: This was a really fun story to write — eBay, a dream, and Martha’s Vineyard. A great story all the way around. I look forward to trying my first rice bowl – at Mangku!
You can learn more about Mangku Food Truck on Facebook soon. In the meantime, just drive on up to be delighted! And don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, Linked In, Google+, Pinterest and Youtube.