0722_JULY_Digital Edition - Page 36


Street Food Offers a Road to Success

The Midtown Association ’ s Street Food Sacramento grant supports entrepreneurs creating an authentic taste of Sacramento
STORY BY Jennifer Fergesen PHOTOS BY Debbie Cunningham
The scent of mesquite smoke draws farmers market visitors to the tent of Steady Smokin ’ BBQ , one of the recipients of the 2022 Street Food Sacramento grant .

Somewhere under the black-topped tent run by Mak & Grille , a vendor that ’ s been at Sacramento ’ s Midtown Farmers Market since April , lies a tray of cold noodles glossed in Thousand Island dressing . Raw vegetables , cubes of boiled egg and vegetarian Vietnamesestyle meatloaf nestle in its tangles . The ingredients may seem incongruous , but the result , brightened with herbs and tart tamarind , is harmonious as a fugue .

This is no fusion contrivance ; it ’ s Iu Mien glass noodle salad , a dish with deep roots in Sacramento that chronicles the Iu Mien people ’ s migration from Southeast Asia to the United States following the Vietnam War . Once made with the sparse ingredients available in the mountains of Vietnam and Laos , the dish accumulated American ingredients like salad dressing and bacon bits after Iu Mien refugees , many of whom aided U . S . troops , arrived in this country . Mak & Grille co-owner Ashlee Mak is Iu Mien , part of a population roughly 15,000 strong in the Sacramento area , and her business is the first in the region to share this cuisine with the broader community .
Mak & Grille is one of three recipients of the 2022 Street Food Sacramento grant , a program operated by the Midtown Association ( the nonprofit behind the Midtown Farmers Market ) intended to help the business district and the thriving Saturday market better represent the city ’ s diversity . The grantees receive services the organization values at about $ 11,250 per business , including free booth space at the market for one year , logo and menu designs , social media
36 comstocksmag . com | July 2022