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Not Real, but Real Tasty: Korea’s Taco Truck!

February 28, 2010

Often when we talk about food being good, we talk about it being “real” and “authentic” when talking about the relative tastiness of food. In a way it provides us comfort, to have things like we expect it from back home…. and I’ll admit it, many a night I have longed for a suadero taco from Taco Zone, or a tamale from the Farmer’s Market, but you know, I think sometimes, one has to evaluate food on its own terms. A lot of the time interpretations of other culture’s food here are Korean-ized, but you know, some of that is just plain delicious. I guess this is why I stood by the broccoli burrito from Dos Tacos for so long, because it was different enough to not be evaluated on the forearm-lengthed California Burritos of my youth(oh with french fries in it! Another “non authentic” yet fuckin’ fabulous variation. It is my own personal belief that there should be french fries in everything). I don’t go much to Dos Tacos anymore– why would you when there was Taco Rico around–but for awhile I would get cravings for broccoli and cauliflower in a burrito– it was interesting, at least.

The taco truck has come to Korea! It even has it’s own twitter account (though they don’t tweet much, won’t you follow me, Taco Taco Habanero?)! It’s like Kogi in reverse. It’s actually run by a Korean guy who lived in Irvine for awhile. The results are quite good.

He uses cabbage instead of lettuce, but there are dollops of cilantro in there. Also, the rice is kinda perfect. Straight out of a rice cooker. I want his recipe. He does offer also, a tortilla less version, which he dubs salsa bibimbap.

I guess I didn’t enjoy this one as much, because I think the flour tortilla balances out some of the saltier elements of the burrito’s insides. But this is a healthy portion (by “healthy” I mean, a lot– I don’t mean “healthy-healthy”) (Do you tire of my parentheses?) that lasted me a couple of meals.

Anyway, you can find this taco truck near an alley (the one with all the dessert places– btw, who wants to try that Chocolate Cake Cafe with me sometime? It is teal colored, always full– last time I tried to go, they wanted me to leave my phone number in case a spot opened up, but I was hungry– and it’s name is “Chocolate Cake”) near Seokyo Elementary School in Hongdae. He usually opens up around 5-ish.

Also, in Bupyeong (my old hood), I always want to go to this Korean-Chinese place (the one with the red lanterns– there are two– or actually that is ALL of them in Korea, but if you go to party-Bupyeong, there are two facing the other, pick the one where you can see into the inside) that serves this dish, with peppers and fried chicken with…

With tortilla chips! Oooh, how could something so right, be so right?

Though switching from a Mexican to a Japanese note– admittedly, I have yet to find a “real” or or “real tasty” or even, uh, acceptable sushi place in Korea. So if you have any suggestions (I heard there is one in Apgujeong, but I have a feeling that might set me back a stack of won so unless someone wants to treat me…. for the sake of journalism!)?

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