Portland News

Kamal Kamal and Karam Khalaf Succeeding in the Food Business

Many people today dream about starting a successful business. That certainly was the case for Kamal Kamal and Karam Khalaf, two Iraqi businessmen who have found both success and happiness in running their thriving food truck business, Chickpea USA. 

Kamal and Karam came to the United States to move away from the volatility Iraq faced due to the war. They studied at San Diego State University, pursuing a bachelor of science degree in business marketing. From those moments, the two friends had only one goal in mind: to start a business that they were passionate about. After finishing their college education, they went straight to developing a plan for a business that would merge their love for commerce and their traditions and roots. 

As food enthusiasts, Kamal Kamal and Karam Khalaf loved Middle Eastern cuisine. In 2017, Middle Eastern was the most popular and fastest-growing ethnic cuisine in the United States. The genre of food makes use of ingredients such as olives and olive oil, pita bread, honey, sesame seeds, dates, sumac, chickpeas, mint, rice, and parsley. Some popular Middle Eastern dishes include kebabs, dolma, falafel, baklava, yogurt, doner kebab, shawarma, and mulukhiyah.

Yet as popular as Mediterranean food would become, the business partners often noticed that Mediterranean food did not always resemble the authentic taste that Middle Eastern food had to offer. Most especially in the San Diego area, where the two are from, Middle Eastern food isn’t always of the best quality. This niche would become Kamal and Karam’s starting point for what has now grown into a successful food truck business. 

Chickpea USA brings authentic Middle Eastern cuisine to food lovers who search for more authentic tasting options. With a full menu that doesn’t compromise on sticking to their roots in the strictest sense, Chickpea promises to transport any customer to the Middle Eastern region through affordable and high-quality food that honors tradition. Kamal Kamal and Karam Khalaf deliver nothing less than the actual thing. Moreover, Chickpea’s food is always fresh and made from scratch, guaranteeing the highest standard of quality that any food truck has to offer.

The food truck business’s menu includes a wide selection of iconic Mediterranean eats such as spicy hummus, beetroot hummus, fattoush salad, tabbouleh salad, and sampler platter. Chickpea USA also serves falafel, spicy falafel, fried potato and mayochup, shish tawook, chickpea fries, chicken tikka, potato meatball, kubba halab, and many others. The food truck also serves Middle Eastern desserts such as the baklava and muhalabia.

For Kamal Kamal and Karam Khalaf, Chickpea USA is more than just another food truck business. The same way a chickpea represents the starting ingredient of many signature dishes like hummus and falafel, the business partners see their food truck as the starting ingredient for what they hope will become a Middle Eastern cuisine empire. Their goal is to turn Chickpea USA into a household name for all food enthusiasts with a more diverse palate. 

Looking to the future, Kamal and Karam have bigger plans for Chickpea. They hope to open multiple branches as soon as possible. The duo is also considering opening up their business for franchising. There is more in store for Kamal Kamal and Karam Khalaf as they continue to pursue their dreams of building a successful company and bring more security and freedom for them and their families.

To learn more about Chickpea USA, visit its website and Facebook page.

Opinions expressed by Portland News contributors are their own.