Shinobu Diego Tacos y Burritos: Bringing Fusion Food to the Streets
Lauren Saria Owner of Shinobu Diego Tacos y Burritos truck, Marc Shelton
Fusion foods can be hit-and-miss. And when they miss, they tend to miss hard. So you can imagine Marc Shelton, the owner and chef behind Shinobu Diego Tacos y Burritos, had a difficult time convincing anyone -- even his mom -- that his idea to blend Japanese/Mexican foods would be a good one.
The business: Shinobu Diego Tacos y Burritos Truck
What you need to know: We've been known to show a little love for another Valley spot serving Asian food with a strong Mexican lean, so, really, Shinobu Diego Tacos y Burritos shouldn't come as that much of a culinary shock. But even Shelton admits that trying to imagine the taste of "Asada Yaki" and "Ginger Pork Carnitas" can be challenge. The remedy?
"Just let your mouth tell your brain," he says. "'Cause once you taste it, you're sold."
The story: Shelton's no wide-eyed rookie when it comes to kitchens. He's spent hours gaining experience in the restaurant biz. And like so many other culinary-minded folks -- rich in ideas and poor in capital -- he wanted to venture out on his own and decided to go the mobile route. He could save on capital and still get his fusion food to the masses.
Shelton also worked in marketing and played as a drummer in a garage band, so, he says, he's got plenty of skills to apply to his new venture. Drawing on his musical past, he compares inventing a new cuisine to creating a new genre of music.
"You go on tour and you play the same songs over and over again until the people are singing along," Shelton says. "It's like that when you create a cuisine and people don't know what to expect to taste."
So until Shelton can get Phoenix singing sweet to the tune of his teriyaki chicken tacos, he's keeping the menu short and simple. For now he has just four items, with both vegetarian and gluten-free options. He describes his food as "Japanese engine, Mexican vehicle" which means you'll get typical Japanese dishes wrapped in Mexican form (think tacos, burritos and quesadillas).