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Sunday, 04 August 2013 21:27

Battle Creek entrepreneur takes a risk with food-based business

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Working out of a kitchen in the offices of the Burmese American Initiative in Springfield, a woman named Rita creates noodle dishes that are sold only on Fridays through a business called the Unstoppable Noodle.

Customers have the option of either chicken or vegetables mixed in with the rice or wheat noodles and each order includes a samosa, an Indian pastry shaped like a three-dimensional triangle filled with vegetables or meat.

Martha Thawnghmung, executive director of the BAI, said an idea like this was always in the back of her mind. But a conversation with Jeremy Andrews, who is taking a lead role in the creation of a more vibrant Battle Creek, helped her turn it into a reality in June.

“We are always looking at what do the Burmese people want and what can they do,” Thawnghmung said. “One of the things we always talk about is food.”

There are plans to incorporate other plants, including those that are typically considered to be weeds, into the noodle dishes. Thawnghmung said this gives people an opportunity to try foods they’ve never eaten before.

Battle Creek is home to more than 1,100 natives of Burma. They are part of a movement that began more than 30 years ago when members of the city’s First Baptist Church agreed to sponsor Thwanghmung, who was 9-years-old at the time, and her family.

However, Unstoppable Noodle is more than a business. It is also a way for Thawnghmung to keep the doors open at the BIA.

“Maybe we can spin this off as its own business that would be something to support the Burmese people in the community,” Thanghmung said.

She initially spoke with Pastor Billie Dalton about selling the noodle dishes to his congregants at the First United Methodist Church — keeping in the back of her mind how Andrews is always talking about fun things to have in the downtown area.

“Pastor Billie started dreaming with us and said something about (it) being unstoppable,” Thawnghmung said. “There was no big sitting down and big planning.”

Andrews lent Thawnghmung his bicycle to make deliveries downtown, although the service now includes a car, which Thawnghmung said was essential to growing the business.

“We’re learning as we go and getting the Burmese youth around us who are learning, too,” she said. “They’re creating this along with us. I actually had someone say that he could join with us and offer sushi. I wish I could say we have style and we have everything figured out. I can say that it’s not that hard or scary. You just need to try it.”

Read 4587 times Last modified on Sunday, 04 August 2013 13:56

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