Joseph Nguyen aka The Hangry Pedaler
TITLE: NWA Food Blogger
📸: cover photo by @german_belgian_waffle on IG
Where did you grow up? How did you land in Northwest Arkansas?
I was born and raised in Arlington, TX. In ‘96, I moved to Sacramento, CA, and lived with my aunt and uncle for a few years before my dad recruited them both to Northwest Arkansas to help out with his nail salons. I remember my cousins and me being super sad because we had no idea what to expect and we also had no idea where Arkansas was, lol! We arrived in November of ’98, and the rest is history. It turned out to be the best decision we ever made, we absolutely love it here!
What is the origin story behind @hangrypedalernwa?
I used to regularly post pictures of food on Facebook, and friends and family kept encouraging me to create a dedicated page for them. One day I said, “Why not?” and went for it. I decided to combine my love for food and cycling and launch an Instagram page. Actually, a client at the nail salon helped me come up with my Instagram handle! The Instagram page really gave me the motivation to explore more of the region’s food scene.
What are a few of your favorite things about the region?
Our region has so much to offer relative to its size. Bite NWA during the LPGA Walmart NW Arkansas Championship is always fun. I will miss the Fayetteville Roots Fest, but I can’t wait for their next chapter! Shows at TheatreSquared and the Walton Arts Center are near the top of my list. The proximity to amazing hiking and camping spots. We have been getting some big-time artists with diverse musical backgrounds at the Walmart AMP. Razorback sporting events, ALL OF THEM! Last but not least, the world-class cycling amenities—from road to gravel to mountain biking, it’s a cycling mecca here! There’s always a race or event to attend.
What causes are you passionate about? What inspires you?
My main passion is “supporting local,” especially local restaurants. COVID has had a huge impact on the restaurant industry, and it has been sad to see so many restaurants close due to circumstances totally beyond their control. Throughout the pandemic, I have done my best to highlight and give exposure to as many of them as possible. As someone with small business owners as family members, I know how hard it can be. That’s what inspires me.
📸: Danielle Green | @LayersPhoto on IG
Tell us something about yourself that folks might not know. What is something you are proud of?
I’ve been a manicurist for 20 years now, and although it’s not a glamorous career, it’s a rewarding one. I’ve met people from all walks of life and formed so many relationships with my clients. At times, it’s almost like I’m their therapist; at other times, it’s like they are mine. I’m extremely proud to have been able to overcome the obstacles life has thrown at me. I’ve been through some dark places in life, but I’ve always kept fighting.
Also, folks might not realize that as much as I love food, I’m not the greatest in the kitchen. That said, my wife is an amazing cook, and she has inspired me to step my game up. Hangry Pedaler restaurant coming soon?!
What do you do in your free time?
With my party animal days behind me, I enjoy dining out, riding my bike, playing tennis, and finding time to relax.
If you were to give the region a tagline, what would it be?
Leave all your stereotypes related to Arkansas at the door.
Someone who has never been to the region is coming for 24 hours, what should they do, where should they go?
- Crystal Bridges to experience some world-class art in a world-class building
- 8th street market for lunch at one of their food stalls or restaurants
- Wright’s BBQ for some Texas-style bbq (it beats some of the best bbq in Texas, IMO)
- Rent a bike from Phat Tire and explore the Razorback Greenway or the mountain bike trails
- Go for a fun hike at the Whitaker Point Trail and take a picture at Hawksbill Crag (it’s iconic)
- End the night with some drinks on Dickson Street
Tell us some things about @hangrypedalernwa that we can’t find on social
My wife and I have huge families. We are very family-oriented and love spending time with them.
What is your hope for the future of the region’s food scene?
The more people who move here from different backgrounds, the more diverse our food scene gets. I hope our region’s food scene continues to diversify at least as much as it has in the past five years.
What can we expect from @hangrypedalernwa in 2023?
I post mainly photographs of food, but I want to include more reels and more cycling posts in 2023, specifically mountain biking. As awkward as it feels, I’d like to spend some more time in front of the camera and would also love to do some collabs with local influencers. Lastly, I hope to return to my plans for a cycling event that was postponed due to the pandemic.