From osso buco to polenta to prosciutto, Italians produce some of the most broadly beloved foods in the world. Their deep bench of legendary cuisine, however, leaves little room for food from other cultures to flourish throughout the country. Enter Sate & Sake, the only Malaysian food truck in Italy.
Founder Justin Yip graduated from the University of Gastronomic Science in Bra and opened the food truck in part to give the Asian student population in Turin a taste of home. He never expected Italians, notoriously unadventurous eaters, to take notice (a 2011 study showed that 40 percent of Italians had never tried foreign food). Much to his surprise, a vast majority of his clientele are themselves Italians—a testament, if nothing else, to Yip’s satay skills.
Yip, who was born in Malaysia, cooks his satay from scratch, by hand, each morning. He soaks chunks of chicken overnight in a marinade made of spices and lemongrass before spearing them with bits of chicken skin, a technique from his hometown. The skin not only moistens the tender chicken meat but, once grilled to perfection, adds a fun little crunch to every skewer.
While satay and banh mi are the truck’s mainstays, weekly rotating specials range from a spicy beef rendang to asam pedas (a spicy fish stew) to daging kam heong (a beef dish in oyster and curry sauce).
For a nation of Italy-first eaters, Sate & Sake is making it hard to not eat boldly.
Update as of June 2023: The food truck is closed indefinitely.