Fresh from Japan ‘Fujisan’ are creating waves on the Scottish street food scene. From their idyllic blue trailer they are putting a mark on ‘casual Japanese dining’.
We had the pleasure of catching up with the duo at the strEAT Student Feast where we got the chance to speak more about the popularity of Japanese food, integrating their cultures and their journey breaking into the industry.
Q: So, we know you’re pretty new to the scene and certainly a welcome addition. Tell us a bit more about how you got into street food!
A: We decided to start Fujisan when we were living in Japan. My wife, the chef, is Japanese. We wanted to come back to live in Scotland and do something together. We had experience of doing street food in Japan as more of a hobby at the big street food festivals they have there over the summer. After deciding we’d like to get into the industry we did a bit of research and saw that there was no one doing anything similar. Before we left Japan, we put some wheels in motion so that we were a few steps ahead when we arrived in Scotland.
Q: What does "Fujisan" mean and why did you choose this name?
A: In Japanese Mount Fuji is called Fujisan. It’s to do with the Chinese character (one of three alphabets used in Japan) for mountain “山” pronounced "san”. So that is the origin of the nameFujisan. We chose the name because we felt the image of Mount Fuji was easily linked to Japan and that a short one-word name would be easy for people to remember. More amusingly it is the subject of a song that we liked from a Japanese band, ‘Denki Groove’.
Q: Being the ‘new kid in town’, what difficulties did you face establishing your business and how has it been so far?
A: One of the problems with us was that we didn’t know anyone that was doing street food, when we came back we didn’t have any contacts. Finding the trailer and getting it converted was quite an adventure, and finding out about different rules, laws and regulations was quite difficult because we didn’t come from a catering background in this country, so we had to learn a lot. Since we’ve started things have been very good, I contacted a lot of street food promoters and events and said this is what we’re here to do and when we’d be ready to trader. People got back to us and said yeah let us know when you’re ready and so far everybody has been happy to have us.
Q: Your wife is Japanese and you’re from Scotland. Coming from different backgrounds, how do you integrate the Japanese and Scottish traditions?
A: The foods that we sell are the foods that I liked when I was in Japan. A lot of people think about Japanese food as being sushi and noodles. We discussed it & decided we’d like to do something different, so the food that we sell is the stuff that I felt Scottish people would enjoy eating. We haven’t tried any Scottish twists on anything yet, but it’s something we’d definitely consider, if we could use haggis or black pudding or other traditional Scottish things, it’s something we would like to do.
Q: It seems like Japanese cuisine has become very popular recently, with Japanese restaurants popping up across Glasgow and people going crazy over sushi on Instagram, why do you think it’s so popular and what makes you different from traditional places?
A: We haven’t seen anyone that’s got a Japanese trailer like us in Glasgow or in Scotland so that’s how we make ourselves a little bit different, most of the Japanese places that you see are restaurants or cafes. It’s popular on Instagram because it looks appealing, you can plate sushi and sashimi and with the colours and the toppings that you put on it looks really good, perfect for Instagram. I think people are enjoying Japanese and Asian food because there’s more variety and they’re learning more about it. I think people are getting a bit more excited about trying different foods from different cultures and with different flavours.
Q: And finally, What is the dish that most represents Fujisan?
A: For me our Pork Katsu-curry is my favourite and most recommended dish. It comprises both Japanese and western elements which mirrors what Fujisan is as a street food trailer and the people who run it.
To stay up to date with Fujisan at events & on social:
Appearing Next: 7th & 8th April @ The Big Feed, Glasgow
#strEATtalk is our narrative series that shines a spotlight on Scotland's culinary scene, focusing on the journeys and stories of up and coming food innovators. Follow #strEATtalk as we get to know the people who are making our nation taste better!