In the past year or so, Korean fusion has become an insanely popular food trend. It seems that virtually every week, there’s a new truck popping up, serving the latest iteration of kimchi tacos, bulgogi sliders, and other delightful fusion fare. At this rate, there could be a danger of overexposure looming on the horizon, but creative food trucks like Marination Mobile and Bob & Jo manage to keep surprising us with unique, Korean-ified concotions that keep the hungry lunchtime crowds coming.
Our Top 13 Food Truck Picks
Kimchi Taco (New York)
A super diverse menu with a Korean take on street classics–think ‘falafel kimchi taco’ and ‘kim-cheesesteak’. Of course, there are kimchi tacos on the menu as well, but the longest lines are for the fresh kimchi bowls, which are borderline addictive. Word has it that a brick and mortar “Kimchi Grill” will be opening in Brooklyn…
Bob & Jo (New York)
This one is for Korean dorisak (a full meal in a lunch box) fans. Bulgogi, galbi, and spicy dakgalbi come with a huge helping of rice, with a side of fresh salad and kimchi will set you back $9. For those who can’t say no to sandwiches, they can also come inside a toasty baguette.
Korilla (New York)
Hyped on the Food Network, much beloved by critics, these guys have been acquiring several buzz since opening just two years ago. One of the first Korean food trucks to hit the streets of NYC, their tacos, burritos and gigantic rice bowls have a cult following.
Mama Kim’s Korean BBQ (Rhode Island)
Mama Kim’s bills itself as a ‘gourmet Korean BBQ mobile restaurant’, and they do indeed have quite the extensive menu. Rice sets are essentially full meals (meat, kimchi, rice), sliders/wraps, Korean desserts, and they even feature a rotating array of daily specials.
Krave (New Jersey)
Krave’s mission statement is simple: “Korean BBQ for all.” Their sesame chicken tacos, kimchidillas, huge BBQ rice platters and more are available for delivery. They’ve also just opened a brick and mortar wittily named Kraverie in Jersey City.
TaKorean is DC’s first and only Korean BBQ truck, inspired by the West Coast’s fusion blend. All tacos have the option of coming with spicy kimchi style slaw, which comes highly recommended. TaKorean also donates a percentage of their earnings to charity, which is kind of wonderful.
Marination Mobile (Seattle)
Seattle has gone crazy for Marination Mobile. Lines obscenely long wait for this Hawaiian Korean taco truck, which is anything but ordinary. Of course they’ve got kimchi quesadillas and tacos, but instead of just the usual bulgogi/kalbi combo, there’s also miso ginger chicken and ‘luscious pork.’ And then there’s the sliders, which come 2-ways: shredded kalua pork or spam!
The Bun Truck (Los Angeles)
Korean-Mediterranean fusion is a new one that the Bun Truck’s been perfecting for a little over 6 months. Spicy pork gyros, donkatsu steamed buns, and tempura fries? Next time we’re in LA, we’re first in line.
Bappul (Los Angeles)
Kimbap, akin to a Korean sushi, is a roll of rice and assorted fillings, all tightly wrapped up in a sheet of seaweed. A perfect finger food that’s not only ridiculously convenient and tasty. The filling combinations are endless, and bappul is thinking up some ingenious combinations, from spicy soy lime chicken to donkatsu, and even spam. Kimbap 2.0.
Kogi BBQ (Los Angeles)
Chef Roy Choi’s traveling Korean Mexican truck is where the fusion blend first took off. Spicy pork tacos, kimchi quesadillas and short rib sliders, all day and night. Also currently starring on the menu is a cleverly named invention called the ‘grilled cheesy weary’, a Bangkok style grilled cheese with bananas, satay peanut butter and Thai chili sauce.
Seoul on Wheels (San Francisco)
Don’t worry, San Fran’s also got a Korean taco truck, and it hits up seven different locations daily. Staple dishes like spicy pork and bulgogi BBQ, and then some newfangled burger combinations (cheeseburgers with spicy pork and kimchi) that we could really get into.
Sure, the BBQ and tacos here are pretty great, but what strikes our fancy are the kimchi fries. Chunky handout fries slathered with a dynamic duo of monterey jack and cheddar, then spicy mayo, and a lot of caramelized kimchi.
Some of the country’s best Mexican food is undoubtedly in Texas, and this bodes well for Chi’Lantro, a Korean-Mexican fusion truck running Austin’s streets. The chicken tacos and kimchi fries inspire lines 50+people deep.
[Photo: The Bun Truck, Krave, ssahmBBQ]