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Hello Suomi! From China to Finland: Yiran Chen runs a food truck in Turku

Yiran Chen, originally from China, relocated to Spain with her family at the age of 14. In 2016, she came to Finland to pursue a degree in chemical engineering. Yiran and Ronnie Ni first crossed paths in China at a gastronomy conference while Ronnie was residing in Dubai. Following their marriage, the couple lived in various places before choosing to settle down in Finland. They now jointly operate Bentå, a food truck business, alongside conducting culinary courses and collaborating with other enterprises. Ronnie handles the day-to-day operations of the food truck and menu development, while Yiran focuses on storytelling, constructing business models, and networking.

The biggest challenge?

The Finnish culture. Both the business culture and inter-personal dynamics differ from what I’m used to. During my time in Spain, I actively participated in the start-up community. However, in Finland, establishing trust with different business partners is challenging, especially when you are unfamiliar to them and a foreigner. We realized at some point that we needed to address this, leading us to always bring food when meeting someone – for us, food acts as the bridge for doing business.

What do you enjoy the most at work?

Wherever my husband and I work, we feel a sense of contribution to the local community, and that brings me satisfaction. We aim to demonstrate that Chinese cuisine extends beyond what people typically find on a buffet table. With Finnish ingredients, you can create exquisite Chinese dishes. The most rewarding aspect is when local farmers, with our assistance, discover new potential for their ingredients.

Your favourite Chinese dish?

Interestingly, it comes from Spain – jamón, the Spanish ham. It’s a versatile ingredient suitable for various occasions and can even be added to soup.

What do you bring to your business?

I am not actively involved in the day-to-day operations of Bentå Food truck but rather contribute at a strategic level on how to run the business. Despite lacking a background in food and beverage, my expertise as a chemical engineer pursuing a PhD in industrial management lies in developing business models and ecosystems.

The strangest Finnish dish?

Pizza kebab – the Finnish fusion of two distinct cuisines. Mixing something so Italian with kebab seems strange to me. I don’t understand the concept, but perhaps one day I’ll grasp it better.

Yiran Chen

  • Co-founder
  • Bentå Food Truck, Turku
  • Born in China

  • Tilaa Lehti

    Inspiraatiota ja hyötyä ruuan ja juoman ammattilaisille.

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