Food cart serves Taiwanese street food to students, through the winter

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- Taiwan Little Eats is serving hot street food from its new cart at UW-Madison, reaching hungry students even in the wintertime.

The co-owners of Taiwan Little Eats serve egg pancakes, among other items from their childhood.

Kai Hsiang Cheng and Min-hsiung “Seven” Lin are co-owners of Taiwan Little Eats, a food cart on W. Dayton St. They opened the cart about a month ago, while also operating their standalone shop on State St.

Cheng and Lin are childhood friends.

“When we are the children, we are poor,” Cheng said. “And sometimes we eat braised pork over rice.”

Inspired by the food they ate growing up, the co-owners offer egg pancakes, milk tea and braised pork over rice on their menu.

Lin said that they must open through snow and rain. Cheng added that they are “very tired,” sometimes working 20 hours a day.

Meghan Blake-Horst, the City’s street vending coordinator, said about 30 percent of street vendors operate year-round, even in the winter.

“It’s their livelihood,” she said. “It’s their day to day job. It’s not their side hustle or their second gig. It’s their day-to-day operation that feeds their family. In some cases, it’s their only revenue stream, and in other cases it's an additional revenue stream for their business.”

Blake-Horst said students and staff who walk around campus offer a steady demand.

Cheng and Lin agreed that the demand is still high in the winter.

“[The campus] still have a lot of student,” Cheng said. “They don’t have many choice around here, so we try to make some different food for the student.”

Josh Mathews, a student customer, said that it feels “pretty amazing” that there are food carts serving hot food and drinks.

“I really appreciate what they [Cheng and Lin] are doing,” Mathews said. “There's no good food by the CS department or nearby, so it helps us study better or work better.”