Meet Mrs. Bui, the owner behind the legend food van on Walnut.

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Ms. Bui food preparation in the truck

Photo: Sophia Zhu

Bui’s lunch Truck is marking its 30th anniversary as the breakfast and also lunch beacon because that hungry penn students. Nestled catty edge to Wawa, plenty of Penn students happen Bui’s Food van on a day-to-day basis. However how many civilization actually know the person behind this renowned food van facade?

The person behind the counter is the iconic yet elusive Mrs. Bui. Acquiring time v Mrs. Bui to be no basic task, specifically considering she has customers streaming in native the beginning to the end of she day.

Mrs. Bui insisted the the interview be organized only a few steps far from the truck, appropriate at 38th and also Walnut. She stated she would like to remain on her feet; no coffee chats allowed here, not once Mrs. Bui is ~ above the job. Bui’s having lunch Truck, however, didn’t start with the Mrs. Bui we see today. The truck was started by she parents in 1988, adhering to their emigration from Vietnam come the joined States.


“It was a communist country, Vietnam. They wouldn’t let friend out, therefore we kind of, like, escaped,” Mrs. Bui says. “We didn’t all walk together since it no allowed.”

Mrs. Bui claims that the was her mom’s idea to begin the food truck as a method for she father to earn income despite not knowing exactly how to speak English. When the truck very first opened, that didn’t also have a name.

Photo: Sophia Zhu


“It to be simple, just a an excellent truck,” Mrs. Bui says. “People kept asking us what the name of the truck was, so mine mom just said “Bui”, i beg your pardon is she maiden name.”

Just like the name of the truck, the menu has not adjusted and has actually remained extremely straightforward for the whole of the truck’s existence.

“It’s just basic: egg, bacon, cheese, steak,” Mrs. Bui says. “The distinct we placed on later...Number 2, referred to as the "Mrs. Bui," it’s obtained spinach, tomato, and Bui sauce.”

When request if the “Mrs. Bui” was she favorite, Mrs. Bui laughs. She replies that the name of this food was additionally inspired by her parents, yet “a lot of of human being like it.”

Mrs. Bui hoax that, for the most part, she doesn’t know civilization on a first name basis. However, she said she is beginning to acknowledge some names simply because the truck currently accepts Venmo.

Even if Mrs. Bui doesn’t understand you, plenty of Penn students certainly know her and remember Bui’s lunch Truck even beyond their time invested on campus. Part have even gone practically every job from student in the first year move–in to graduation.

“We had actually a couple of come back on their wedding day and also take a snapshot with us and all that,” Mrs. Bui says. “We catered one of my customer’s likewise and actually drove the van to the venue.”

Does she cater weddings top top a regular basis? come that, Mrs. Bui responds: “Only one. It to be a unique one and that’s it.”

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Photo: Sophia Zhu

Mr. Bui in front of the truck

While keeping calm throughout the craziness of the lunch rush would certainly appear daunting to most, Mrs. Bui insists, “It’s easy!” She movements me inside the truck to prove that she has the operation down come a science.

It’s a quaint steel structure, one that has remained unchanged since the begin of the business. Mrs. Bui insists the I not take a photo because she hadn’t cleaned up because that the day. She motions around to the tiny cashier station, the ingredients in a stole cooler v ice. She describes that this is the old fashioned way to cool ingredients, unlike modern generators.

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Mrs. Bui renders it clear that she doesn’t require any help running the business. Given the truck’s effective 30 year background thus far, that will probably be open for 30 more with the exact same menu, name, and woman ready and also waiting for any kind of customer who comes her way at the same corner on 38th and also Walnut.