The BBQ Unimog – a food truck for all occasions

Three people stand inside a converted Unimog food truck

A Unimog food truck equipped to handle even the most difficult climate conditions: Sami Repo’s Mercedes-Benz Unimog U 318.

The Unimog among the food trucks

Long icy winters, a craggy landscape covered in almost endless pine forests. Anyone who wants to survive in Finland needs one thing above all else: toughness. The photographer Sami Repo has built a truck here at the northern edge of Europe that defies the harsh climate conditions. His Unimog U 318 features a self-built body, its heart is a 400 kg special barbecue from Spain. “I have drilled every single hole myself”, reports Sami, who designed the food truck completely in accordance with his own ideas. The rear wall of the food truck is typically Finnish, both inside and out. An old school display board with various whales hangs in the kitchen. The outer skin of the body is made of old wooden panels that Repo impregnated with “tarvia” (natural tar). The material is also very popular as a sauna infusion in Finland.

Sami Repo tends to the special barbecue oven in the Unimog body.

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The Unimog food truck – a sturdy all-rounder

For Sami Repo purchasing a Unimog was something close to his heart. Roughly seven years ago, explains the Finn, he flirted with the idea of buying a Unimog U 20. “That was purely private. But I did not have a precise idea of what I actually wanted to do with the vehicle.” Repo – translated the last name means “Fox” – then lived in the USA for several years and that is where he came up with the idea for his Unimog food truck. “That was in Austin. The city is renowned as a Mecca for street food. I wanted to do something similar.” But the mobile kitchen might not be the only use for the carrier vehicle.

The food photographer Sami Repo in his self-constructed food truck. He chose¬ a Mercedes-Benz Unimog U 318 as the carrier vehicle for the mobile kitchen.

Sami Repo was inspired by the almost limitless options from the first time he encountered the all-rounder Unimog: “I bought the U 318 with all of the hydraulic connections and many extras. Right now, I am dreaming of a crane for the forestry work on my farm. And I will also build a camper body, as well.” He utilizes the “food mobile” at company events, birthday celebrations or public events. These also take place “off-road” or in the depths of winter such as a food fair in Rovaniemi.