By Nicole Bayne
Lifelong Woodbridge resident Chris Fitzner’s first venture into the food industry transformed from idea to business foundation on Monday when he launched his Indiegogo campaign for Sijang. At the start, Sijang will be a mobile food and catering service, but Fitzner hopes that after a year of networking through music festivals, art shows and craft fairs he will have enough support to evolve from a mobile grill into a true brick-and-mortar restaurant in Northern Virginia.
“I would like this to have a snowball effect,” says Fitzner, who wants to see more support for artists and entrepreneurs in the area. “Things like this happen in D.C and California, not Northern Virginia, and it’s about time.”
Fitzner has always had a passion for food, gathering inspiration from legends like Eddie Huang of BaoHaus in New York City and godfather of food trucks Roy Choi of Los Angeles. Sijang’s menu would be a representation of Fitzner’s love of ethnic food while appropriating each dish to their respective cultures. After holding many dinner parties and commercial events to gain publicity for his dishes, Fitzner has decided on three key plates all under $10:
Korean-Mexican Taco: soy-based sustenance marinated in garlic, sesame oil, green onions and a little bit of sugar on the grill at high heat and served on a soft corn tortilla with red onion, cilantro and Korean cabbage; this dish is both “succulent and sweet,” says Fitzner.
Rice Bowl: lime, bean sprouts, Thai basil and cilantro; Fitzner says this is “like the taco, but over Jasmine rice.”
Vietnamese Hot Dog: Hoison sauce lines the inside of a bun wrapped around a classic American hot dog topped with bean sprouts, Thai basil and cilantro. “This is a popular one,” says Fitzner. “It’s basically pho on a hot dog.”
Fitzner also makes his own sauces including a mild red sauce, a combination of Sriracha, mayonnaise and lime juice. The slightly spicy, cilantro-based green sauce contains a Mexican green pepper paste and the dark red sauce is hot with with a garlic chili paste that, says Fitzner, is “burn-your-lips spicy.”
After Sijang kicks off, Fitzner hopes to have multiple locations with different culinary themes, but this is “way in the future.” Crowdfunding has already raised $435 and Fitzner is hoping for $4,000, which he believes will cover permits, food and travel costs and the mobile, commercial grill that will encompass the beginnings of Sijang. The crowd-funding campaign runs until January 23. / Sijang on Indiegogo