ASIAN NOODS AND THE ART OF HUSTLING. HANGIN’ WITH DANIEL FU.
Some of you may know him from OLN’s The Liquidator, host of Kijiji’s Second-hand Van, or he’s probably sold you something you’re currently using at home. For a man that’s always on the move and making moves, we caught up with him to pick his brain on his favourite noods (noodles) spot, growing up in a Taiwanese family and how to be a full time “Opportunist” (as Dan would call himself).
TEAMCHOMP: Can you tell us a little about yourself and what you do?
Dan: My name is Daniel Fu and I would say I am an opportunist. Vancouver is expensive, so you gotta think of unconventional ways to get ahead. I try to extract value where I see possible.
T: How did you get involved with TV show The Liquidator and what was the experience like?
D: So The Liquidator got started because I was coming out of SFU graduating 2008 during the recession. I had just come back from Miami doing a coop with China Airlines and I was super in debt and needed find a job asap. No one was hiring in Marketing/PR. It was bad news bears. Out of survival I started browsing on classified sites like Craigslist. Looking for deals to buy and flip. I would look for jobs and browse craigslist for stores that went out of business. I came across an ad from my now Mentor Jeff Schwarz who owns one of the biggest liquidation operations in BC. He had some designer douchelord clothes (I won’t name any names) he was liquidating and I saw value in that so I met him to cop some of this merchandise. I think I made 20k off that first deal. From there it was history. We became friends and one day while I was watching those fake storage wars shows. I had an idea of pitching a show based on his business. Thats how The Liquidator came to be.
The experience over the last 4 years on the show have been amazing. Met a lot of great people and friends. Some of which I still do business with. We got to go all over the world including places like India, China, USA and throughout rural Canada.
T: Being Taiwanese, did that have an influence on your palate growing up?
D: My dad is a super OG Taiwanese cook, so growing up on weekends we had to go Chinatown to cop groceries, this was before T&T popped up. I still remember the time when my brother and I got caught eating candy at Sunrise market, lol. Jokes aside we were spoiled as kids. Taiwanese Beef noods for days. My dad would make everything from scratch. Dumplings, noodles, you name it. We were into very deep flavours and pretty much ate as if we were going to restaurants every day. Shoutout to Blackie (Thats what we call my old man cuz he’s dark).
T: Besides Taiwan, where have you tried your favourite Taiwanese food?
D: I have to say the best taiwanese food is always homemade by my dad. Hard to beat it. Got that home feeling.
T: How do you view Vancouver’s Asian cuisine scene?
D: Vancouver has got to be the best place for Asian cuisine. Especially with the influx of Mainland China immigrants you got a plethora of choices. Those skewer places like Happy Tree are popping all over the city. Some of these places have franchises in China with over 90 stores. Ramen is popping off the hook and it feels like every other day a new one is opening up. There’s a lot of choices in South East Asia cuisines as well. Filipino/Malaysian/Indo joints. The key is you can eat a lot of great Asian food on the cheap here. Whereas a lot of other cities in Canada you might not get so much value.
T: Favourite noodle spot in Vancouver?
D: My fav noodle spot has to be my boy Kaito’s Ramen Butcher and Gojiro. I could be biased but the Tsukemen there is the best. He’s got a couple more locations popping off so look out for that.
T: Favourite dish to cook at home?
D: I’m not going to lie, I don’t do a whole lot of cooking. I like to eat out and experience new flavours.
T: When’s the last time you got drunk? And your go to hangover food cure?
D: Last time I got drunk was during the weekend. Hangover food cure has to be Bun Cha Ca Hoang Yen on Victoria Drive. They have the best soups, piping hot. They got a Ca Phe Su Da deal and it’s cash only no tax. I like places that are CASH ONLY. It’s like hell no we paying 2% credit card processing fees. That’s the Asian mentality.
T: What are some of the current projects you have going on?
D: Currently working on a few things. I got a couple of e-commerce sites launching in the new year with my partner Rick Louie. Coming from brick and mortar I see the death of it all with stores closing down. This new year we are switching everything online. I have a furniture wholesale liquidation business with my brother Leo as well. We sell everything from mattresses, dining sets, refurbished appliances all at liquidation prices. I am also working with a couple partners on wholesaling refurbished Apple iMacs/Macbooks and Iphones to the Middle East/Asia.
T: I know you’re always on the hustle, what advice do you have for youth that want to start a side gig?
D: I live by these quotes in my business, “Scared money don’t make no money”. The meaning behind it is that if you’re scared to lose, how are you going to win. This applies to everything in life. How you going to double up if you are scared to invest the initial (sweat equity/cash).
I think in this day and age millennials feel a sense of entitlement, especially when it comes to their daily grind. Kanye West’s favourite philosophy applies best. He says,”Get used to getting used.” “To use someone is necessary. What’s negative is to misuse, overuse or abuse somebody,” West said. “To use is necessary. If you can’t get used, then you’re useless.” I remember countless times where I felt like I was used by my bosses, partners, or people I was doing business with. But I always took it as a lesson and a takeaway of how I won’t allow that to happen next time.
Stay humble, always keep learning.
Written: Jason Chow
Photography: Rich Won