From backyard business to food truck

Posted on Aug 28 2019

The entrepreneurial team of Joseph and Jianping Mendiola poses in front of J&J Kitchen’s food truck. (Mark Rabago)

Jianping Mendiola used to be a chef at a Chinese restaurant in Guam. Now she is bringing that expertise to Saipan via J&J Kitchen.
Opened just last March, J&J Kitchen is literally a backyard business at the home of Jianping and her husband, Joseph, in Kagman 1, taking orders and delivering food to stores and the gas station in the village.

J&J Kitchen, which gets its name from the initials of the husband-and-wife entrepreneurial tandem, has been quite a hit in Kagman with such specialties like pork dumplings, pork taro, mung bean red sand cake, and ice cream puppies of various flavors.

Yep, you read that right. Ice cream puppies. That means ice cream in the shape of a puppy.

J&J Kitchen’s black mooncakes. (Contributed Photo)

Jianping is particularly proud of her moon cakes, which can either be sweet or salty and are eaten in traditional Chinese festivals like the Mid-Autumn Festival and the Lunar New Year.

“What I’m doing is sweet moon cake with seven kinds of stuffing—black sesame, white sesame, walnut kernel, pick dry, melon seeds, and coconut kernel. There is also matcha green bean cake,” she said.

J&J Kitchen is also known for its ice cream puppies, flower ice cream, and popsicles. Her ice cream puppies are such works of art they make you think twice before eating them.

And the backyard business will soon be rolling literally, according to Joseph, as J&J Kitchen now has a food truck—more like a trailer—to serve its growing clientele.

Joseph, who used to work at the Department of Public Works, said that starting next week, at the beginning of school year, they will be selling their sweet, salty, and savory snacks at Tank Beach from 9am to 2pm.

J&J Kitchen’s ice cream puppies. (Contributed Photo)

“We want to also tap into the tourist market and that’s why we’re driving this food truck to Tank Beach,” he said.

Before its debut at the tourist spot, J&J Kitchen food truck already had a dry run at the Capitol Hill Baseball Field with very encouraging results.

Joseph and Jianping also have plans to drive their food truck to bigger island events in the future and are currently open to bookings for fiestas, novenas, birthdays, weddings, and other special events.

J&J Kitchen also continues to deliver food in Kagman retail locations like CYC Kagman Market and the Mobil gas station in Kagman.

J&J Kitchen is open from 7am to 6pm. For directions, more information, and orders, click on their Facebook page or call 789-0540 or 287-0292.

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at Mark_Rabago@saipantribune.com

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