PSU student’s food cart serves up authentic Arab food on campus
PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - Portland State University student Faisal El Obeidi is bringing tastes from his home right to campus with his food truck, Sheesh Shawarma.
For most 20-year-old college students, their priorities surround studying and having a good time, but for El Obeidi, he’s putting hard work and determination before anything else.
“The end goal is unknown. I’m just trying to push myself when I’m young,” he said.
The double major student recently opened up Sheesh Shawarma on campus, a food truck delivering a taste of his home.
“A lot of students here are Arab. The number one international students that came from another country were Kuwait, Amman, Saudi Arabia so a lot of these people come looking for good food,” El Obeidi said. “So not only am I going to provide the best food, they’re going to be happy with the best food on campus.”
El Obeidi spent most of his life living in Jordan, where he learned the essence of Arab hospitality.
“When people tell you, ‘You have the best Arabic food I’ve ever tried,’ it means more than a-thousand dollars,” he said. “I don’t really care about the money until someone comes and tells me ‘You have the best food.’ Then I’m like, ‘Ok, now we’re talking.’”
With a goal of graduating debt free and using the profits from Sheesh Shawarma to pay for his tuition in its entirety, El Obeidi is bringing authentic Arab food to Portland, quite literally straight from the homeland.
“I bring the seasoning from Jordan. Every sauce is made homemade in the morning. Every ingredient I use is from an international market or from what I get back home,” he said.
As for the decadent garlic sauce? That’s a secret.
“I will never tell anyone how I make the sauce. Not even my employees,” El Obeidi said. “I will always make it the night before.”
Beside providing the best shawarma in town, El Obeidi’s ultimate goal is providing the foundation for community.
“It’s for the community, it’s for my people, it’s for my family, it’s for building something in your name, a business, something people know about you. It’s not about the money. If you provide a community, the money will come. The community is what makes you,” he said.
You can find Sheesh Shawarma on the PSU campus at 979 Southwest Harrison Street.
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