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Food bikes selling steamed dumplings and other ethnic treats will hit Brisbane streets in January in an Australian-first initiative supported by celebrity chef Luke Nguyen.
Street Food Australia is raising $20,000 through a Pozible crowdfunding campaign to cover the design, building and insurance costs for its first food bike which will be ready by December.
Nearly 60 QUT industrial design, architecture and interior design students from the Creative Industries Faculty are helping design five food bicycles which will be piloted in the Brisbane CBD, Southbank and West End.
QUT design lecturer Helen Bird, CEO and founder of Street Food Australia, said the social enterprise would help migrants start small businesses and share their culture through food.
"Street food on bicycles has been done for centuries in other countries," Ms Bird said.
"The idea behind the project is for migrants to share their cultural heritage. I see food as the ideal way to do that."
Celebrity chef Luke Nguyen, owner of Red Lantern Restaurant in Sydney, is a partner to Street Food Australia, and will help with recipe development and promotion of the project.
Ms Bird, who runs a collaborative design class at QUT with fellow lecturer Billerwell Daye, said two additional bicycles would be fitted with a coffee machine and keg for non-alcoholic beverages.
Fundraising for the first food bike will go towards fitting it with a custom-designed micro-steamer for dumplings, 12 volt solar panels, refrigeration, shading, Eftpos and handwashing facilities.
The other four food carts starting in January will serve banh mi (Vietnamese rolls with pork and vegetables), Mexican corn called 'elote', traditional Ethiopian 'injera' and fish-shaped Korean waffles filled with a sweetened red bean paste called 'bungeoppang'.
Ms Bird said at the end of the three to six month pilot, Street Food Australia would take applications from migrants who received scholarships from Brisbane City Council's multicultural economic development program.
She said the best QUT student designs would be selected for manufacture.
"Students who generate the best ideas will be employed by Street Food Australia to take their design into manufacturing," she said.
"To have their idea built, fabricated and used is a pretty rare opportunity for students."
Ms Bird said the street food program would grow Brisbane's food culture, as well as encourage people to visit under-utilised places around Brisbane's CBD.
"In Australia it's absurd that we tend to homogenise food cultures. In India I know there are at least 20 different regional varieties of food, but here a lot of menus are the same," she said.
"We have amazing weather in Brisbane and we have a lot of opportunities to be outdoors rather than sitting in an air-conditioned food court."
Third-year industrial design student Steven Spooner, 23, is helping design the 'elote' food bike.
"I've enjoyed everything about it," he said.
"I'm really keen to see the whole thing come to life."
To donate to the Pozible campaign visit www.pozible.com/streetfoodaustralia or www.streetfoodaustralia.com.au
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Media contact:Stephanie Harrington, QUT media officer, 3138 1150, firstname.lastname@example.org
Street Food Australia founders and QUT School of Design lecturers Billerwell Daye (left) and Helen Bird (right) with industrial design students Steven Spooner(back left) and Joey Hoskings (back right).