Thursday, February 12, 2009

Yet another Kogi Truck blog post

I know, I know. I told myself not to talk about the same places everyone else is talking about - just to report on the restaurants that surprise me in some way. But is it wrong of me to buy into some hypes and join in on the latest food craze? I mean, tomorrow is going to by my third time this week hitting the Kogi truck so I should at least put my take on it, since I have now tasted everything on the menu (tomorrow I will taste the special and update if needed).

So what's so special, really? It's just meat marinaded in a Korean sauce with a bunch of Korean pickled stuff with cabbage rested on two small tortillas.'s just not that simple.

Unfortunately, I KNOW how hard it is to mix Korean food with anything else, especially another non-Asian cuisine. How do I know this? Because I live with traditionally nationalistic relatives who bring their own tupperware of kimchi or red pepper paste when we go to EL POLLO LOCO. The ironic thing? Our family lived in South America for over a decade. And the worst thing about this is that kimchi or red pepper paste with el pollo loco's chicken tastes like SH**. Seriously.

So that's how little hope I had that anything Korean/Latin fusion would taste good but I was willing to give it a try because I know my yelpers and foodie friends couldn't be wrong. So, I tracked down the UCLA Kogi truck at 9pm right before they were going to pack up and leave and scored myself a short ribs taco and a spicy pork taco plus a diet coke all for $6. I took my obligatory photos while walking to my car cuz I knew once I put away the camera I'd bite into it then and there. This explains the horrible photos.

Behold the short ribs taco and the spicy pork taco.

I bit into the spicy pork taco first, which was incredibly good. How the heck did they fuse all those ingredients together to make it not suck? I was about to bite into the short ribs taco but I couldn't hog it all to myself. I drove over to my bf's apt and stared at the taco the entire way. I had to have him at least taste it so he knows I'm not crazy. It was good. I ate the rest. I farted all night. I'm not used to cabbage.

The next day, I bragged about eating the Kogi tacos to my classmates and I could see them salivating so I decided to organize a late night eating session after one of our info sessions. We met in front of the fountain at our school and 9 people showed up. We separated into three cars and went to The Doheny, where I thought the truck would be. We looked everywhere but they were nowhere to be seen. My classmates were probably pissed off for coming on this seemingly cool adventure only to be stuck out in the cold. One classmate even ended up just ordering a burrito from a taco truck that was in front of us.

I realized I inputed another location in my calendar and said it was at 9pm at the Golden Gopher. It was only a few blocks from where we were so some of decided to walk it while our crippled friend and co. took a car. It was a nice walk and we were getting hungrier by the minute. But, as we turned on 8th street, there was hope! I saw a white truck from afar in front of the Golden Gopher and I knew we were at the right spot. The line was not incredibly long and we finally got our kogi fix.

This time, I ordered the other two tacos I hadn't tried yet - the Korean chicken taco and the Korean tofu taco. I'd give the tofu taco a 2 on a 5 point scale. If I only had the tofu taco, I'd say this place was whatevs. The chicken was good. So if you had only $2 and had to choose ONE taco to try, go for the short ribs taco. It tastes like galbi in a taco. How could you go wrong with that? If you like sweet and spicy stuff, the spicy pork is my second choice. Then chicken, then tofu.

The chicken taco on the left, the tofu taco on the right.

I'm going back again tomorrow, and bringing some friends who were dying to try it. I'm going to try the special this time if they offer it.

Word on the street is that they're in the midst of getting a permanent kitchen at the Alibi Room, in Culver City by the 19th, which is now slightly too far from me. However, you just never know when the Kogi craving will strike. I will bear the gas until my system is completely used to it. Hence, the three visits a week.