The Mercedes-Benz 508 D as a seafood truck.

Seafood to take away – the Mercedes-Benz 508 D as a seafood truck.

The caterers at Jean sur Mer provide fresh fish dishes at events and festivals. With their Mercedes-Benz 508 D, they bring the seaside to their customers.

The taste of the seaside.

What does the North Sea taste like? If you want to find out, then Jean sur Mer is the right address. The food truck from Antwerp offers everything from classic fish sandwiches to shrimp croquettes and even menus with several courses – and thus just about anything in the way of seafood that gourmet enthusiasts could possibly want. Jan Kegel's speciality is Kibbeling, which is a typical Dutch fish dish whereby white fish, such as cod, is cut into small pieces and then battered. The gold-brown chunks of fish are served either in a tray with tartare sauce, in a bread roll as a fish burger or as a taco with fresh veg.

A classic with a modern touch.

At the very heart of Jean sur Mer are two old Mercedes-Benz 508 D vans which Jan has converted into mobile bases for fish lovers. In and around Antwerp, the Belgian sells his delicious food from these classic vans. The two vehicles from 1985 and 1987 were from the Dutch and German armies respectively and in their previous lives they were used as ambulances. In his garage, Jan equipped the classic trucks with a stove, deep-fat fryer and everything needed for preparing the fish. And now, all manner of delicious foods are prepared in them.

Freedom thanks to the Mercedes-Benz 508 D.

"With a food truck, you can stay flexible. You can decide for yourself what you want to do – and what you don't want to do."

Anything but scrap.

The trucks prove that even after more than 30 years of diligent service, they're not ready for the scrapyard: when Jean sur Mer started in 2010, they were the first food trucks in Belgium. Opting for a food truck in place of a restaurant was an easy decision for Jan: "With a food truck, you can stay flexible. You can decide for yourself what you want to do – and what you don't want to do," he says. That's mainly possible because of the comparatively low running costs and the mobility of the vans themselves.

From streetfood to catering service.

Initially, the two trucks mainly served their kibbeling at public places and at festivals. "I had to invest lots of time in getting the Jean sur Mer name known," explains Jan. "As we were the first food truck in Belgium, we got a lot of attention from the press." This quickly helped Jean sur Mer to become popular and rapidly opened up the business idea to private customers. Since then, the classic vans of Jean sur Mer can be seen predominantly at business events and private parties. There, he also provides more extravagant dishes, including ceviche, a traditional Peruvian dish of raw fish marinated in lime juice, various spices and vegetables. "It looks like a painting on a plate," Jan explains enthusiastically. His focus on catering is also for economic reasons. "It's a simpler and safer business model when you're booked for parties. You know how much you're going to earn and how much food you need to prepare," explains Jan.

Jean sur Mer soon also in supermarkets.

Jan looks optimistically into the future. "There are a good many possibilities ahead of us," he says. One of them has already been seized by Jan and his assistants: anyone who's not able to come to the food truck can still enjoy Jan's delicious kibbeling. Jean sur Mer recently started selling their original kibbeling batter mix so that customers can prepare the fish dish themselves in just a few steps. But that's not all: in the future, even more products from Jean sur Mer will make their way into the shelves of supermarkets and, if possible, even outside Belgium. If this were to happen, it would be possible to enjoy the taste of the North Sea in all its facets far from its coasts – all thanks to Jean sur Mer.

Only the best for Jan's customers.

Jan either takes the boat or just a net when he goes fishing.

Dream job: food truck. 

Jan is very proud of his food truck and what he's achieved so far with it.

A pleasant pit stop.

The charming seafood truck invites guests to come and eat on the street.

At one with the sea.    

For Jan, fishing with a net is a sort of connection between him and the sea.


Felix Schwarz

More links to discover:

Jean Sur Mer -, @Facebook