by Elizabeth Turnbull
Earlier this month eight woman-owned businesses opened in the new Spice Bridge Food Hall in the Tukwila Village development, providing the public with food from Cambodia, Kenya, Afghanistan, and the Philippines, among many other countries.
Batulo Nuh is one of the business owners with a stall at Spice Bridge and she and her business partner, Mwana Moyo, hope that their Tanzanian, Kenyan, and Somali cooking can help introduce the public to cuisines which would otherwise be difficult to find.
“It makes an opportunity for them to try all this different kind of food,” Nuh said. “You can still be living in your own house and get your food delivered and it’s from a different country.”
The name of their business is Moyo Kitchen, partly in honor of Mwana, but also because “Moyo” means “heart” in Swahili. All of their food is cooked from scratch and with love for the general community.
Nuh and Moyo own one of eight businesses that operate in the Spice Bridge food stalls. The stalls are run by the Food Innovation Network (FIN) program under the non-profit Global to Local. In general, FIN helps aspiring entrepreneurs launch and build food businesses.
The Spice Bridge food stalls in particular are run by female chefs who have immigrated to or sought refuge in the States. On a given day, customers can order food from Gambia, Senegal, Argentina, the Philippines, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, and Tanzania.
In order to help combat the high cost of rent in King County and the initial difficulties of starting a business, the Spice Bridge FIN program provides subsidized kitchen and retail space and it also assists entrepreneurs with licensing, permitting, menu development, and marketing, all through funds from the state, King County, and individual and corporate donors.
The Spice Bridge food hall, located at 14200 Tukwila International Boulevard, consists of a commercial kitchen with cook stations, four food retail stalls, and a community dining area. Each business owner sells food three days a week, so the combination of cuisines available changes on a daily basis.
Indoor dining is currently restricted due to COVID-19 precautionary measures, but customers can order take-out or utilize outdoor seating from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.
Nuh said that she enjoys working alongside the other business owners at Spice Bridge as they make their cuisines available to the general public. Each business owner has brought along their unique expertise and insights, and Nuh emphasized the importance of investing in woman-owned businesses.
“Everywhere I go, the majority of the businesses are owned by men, and men also work in the restaurants as well,” Nuh said. “It’s just amazing to see also women owning their own businesses.”
Liz Turnbull is a Seattle-based journalist.
Featured image: Cyoon McBride co-owner with his wife Nasrin Noori of Jazze’s prepares some Afghan-American fusion food on Saturday October 10th at Spice Bridge located in Tukwila Village. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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