A bit of spice is coming soon to Longyearbyen’s food truck – um, perhaps it can’t yet be called a “scene” – as a colorful custom wagon selling selling Mexican-style tacos with fillings including Svalbard-themed items like whale and reindeer is scheduled to debut in mid-August.
“Can’t wait to start up,” wrote Andreas Styrsell, a resident from Sweden whose jobs here have included being the executive sous chef at Stationen and head chef at The University Centre in Svalbard, in a July 28 post on his Facebook page posing with the truck is bringing from his home country.
The post racked up more than 200 “likes” and a multitude of supportive comments within a couple of days.
I’m rooting for this,” wrote Ingrid Ballari Nilssen, a marketing consultant for Svalbardposten, which first reported Styrsell’s plans Wednesday. “Time for something else on the food scene than burgers and pizza, and if there is one who can make it so it is Andreas. Fingers crossed that the city opens up for small-entrepreneurs who really want to contribute something new in our city.”
In an interview with the newspaper, Styrsell said he is applying for permission to sell food in the town center and plans to be 20 days a month, generally in the afternoons from Wednesday to Sunday.
“The food service in Longyearbyen is incredibly one-sided,” he said. “I have long known that I wanted to create something completely unique. I’ve always liked to cook Mexican food, so now I will.”
His truck will be the second currently in Longyearbyen, “competing” with a truck Ulf Kjelleberg opened last year outside Svalbardbutikken that sells baked potatos and chili.
Kjelleberg’s truck– and therefore likely Styrsell’s – is satisfying more than just people looking for something different – or anything at all in the wee-morning hours when pubs close and all other eateries are closed. The Longyearbyen Fire Department praised Kjelleberg for providing such an option because it reduced the likelihood of intoxicated people igniting “dry cooking” fires by falling asleep while trying to cook food at home, which the department has called its top threat the past several years.
Longyearbyen was without an after-hours option following the closure of Classic Pizza at the end of 2013. Before that there was also a kebab food wagon that gained global notoriety before its owner, Kazem Ariaiwand, was arrested on the mainland and deported for visa-related violations.