As Eddie Huang himself might say, WTF? Yesterday, Urban Daddy ran an item about a brand-new San Francisco food truck called the Chairman Bao. The truck, which specializes in Asian-style steamed and baked buns, owes an aesthetic debt to Shepard Fairey — and an even more obvious semantic debt to the signature pork bun that Huang’s been selling at Baohaus since last December.
Huang, unsurprisingly, is not amused.
In a post on his blog entitled “DO NOT SUPPORT CHAIRMAN BAO TRUCK,” Huang writes:
“I have no problem with people trying to sell gua bao, but if you’re going to enter the market, be ORIGINAL. These people straight took the name of my #1 item and set-up shop with it. I have used the mark in commerce and shown the intent to trademark it. If anyone knows a good IP attorney, let me find out!”
The truck, according to Urban Daddy, is the brainchild of the folks behind Charlie Trotter’s* and Pacific Catch, a San Francisco seafood restaurant. Its Facebook page identifies the truck’s owner as Mobi Munch, a company that, according to its website, creates “state-of-the-art mobile kitchens that can accommodate even the most sophisticated culinary operation.” Mobi Munch was founded by Josh Tang, for whom Huang reserves this particular sentiment: “in the words of dave chappelle FUCK YO COUCH.”
We’ve contacted both Charlie Trotter’s and the Chairman Bao truck for comment, but in the meantime, Huang tells us that what rankles him the most about this whole thing is the way in which large companies are commodifying food trucks. “I really see a food truck as an independent thing, owned by a small business,” he says. “To have someone of the stature of Charlie Trotter’s teaming up with a corporate model to own a bunch of trucks like they’re a fleet of taxi medallions, to me seems unjust.”
Huang posted some comments on the Chairman Bao Facebook page, again invoking Dave Chappelle, but says the comments were deleted. “But you can quote me,” he says. “Josh Tang, fuck your couch!”
*According to an e-mail from Charlie Trotter’s wife, Rochelle Smith Trotter, the company has “no knowledge NOR involvement in any way” with the Chairman Bao truck.