Six Lessons from Street Food Pioneer Roy Choi
Operation Eastside Jacksonville
April 17, 2013
The Sankofa Initiative
February 27, 2015

In Roy Choi’s new memoir, L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food, the Kogi food truck impresario lovingly describes the role of food, traditions, taking risks, and exploring your city. Here are six lessons Choi learned on his way to becoming a leading chef on the streets.

1. Your city is a treasure map. 
Until I found food, I always saw the world, especially the city, as a treasure map. Everyday I would go out there and explore it and find new things all the time.
2. Cook with your soul. 
Be vulnerable. Don’t show off. It’s kind of like what Bruce Lee talks about with water. Be vulnerable to finding out all of the insecurities and strengths and courage and fear that you have and put that into your food.
3. Mix things up, there are no rules. 
The rules are there to learn and then be broken.
4. Sometimes, in the deepest moments, there are no words. There is only food. 
Food is something that will always bind us.
5. There’s always time for “dumpling time.” 
No matter how busy you are in your life, or how much pressure you have, there’s always “dumping time.” There’s always an hour to sit down and take the apron off, or take the suit off, take the heavy burden off, and just talk.
6. Don’t let people tell you what you feel has no value. 
You don’t have to live up to anyone else’s expectations. There is power in your gut feeling, in what you see—no matter what it is.