It starts with a mere rumor that becomes an interest, then finally will become a chase. The spurting of these fad trucks have become so popular that it is impossible to let it pass without even featuring one. Yes, we still have our usual staple taco trucks everywhere but never have we seen the lines this long and the technology that made it possible. So let us begin our truck envy with, so far, the pioneer and still the most popular, Kogi.
Kogi is a fusion of Mexican and Korean cuisine. Marry the tacos and burritos with kimchi and tofu, and the product is a menu full of interesting and delicious offerings. Fusion and invention would be the last thing on your mind when it comes to comfort food, but do not judge the plate by its cover. Let your taste buds overrule your preconceived notions.
These trucks now live on their followers on Twitter and the many hits on their websites (unexpected and genius upgrades). And so at 4374 Eagle Rock blvd. most Tuesdays at 6pm, trucks with catchy, different “color” names will park, prep, and ready for the line that awaits (very close by my location and the line is not as long anywhere else any other time).
“Roja” (red truck) parked, prepped and started taking orders first. “Azul” (blue truck) pulled up and readied for the orders. The menu is simple enough and the specials are also posted on Twitter. Don’t be surprised when the wait is actually much longer than the cooking and serving of your food, efficiency runs the kitchen. Short rib tacos, spicy pork tacos, kimchi quesadillas, Kogi sliders, Kogi dogs, and tofu burrito. The food comes unpacked, if you want it to-go (as we did) pull a couple of pieces of foil, get a bag, take your utensils, which are all available at the front of the truck and bag the food yourself.
The short rib tacos were tender, a little spicy with a little bit of tang. It was a little too much on a tiny piece of tortilla but surely you will not mind picking up fallen pieces of meat on your plate. The spicy pork taco was not spicy at all, given the two cuisines, you would expect explosion and an immediate need for a diet coke extinguisher, but was disappointed. The pork was tender and mild at best. Both tacos came with the same veggie slaw and salsa roja, which were different from the usual but worked well with either protein.
The kimchi quesadilla was a nice surprise. Interesting but in a very, very good way. The tortilla was perfectly cooked, the kimchi was excellent with a slight crunch, the sauce was a little spicy but not to complain about.
The Kogi sliders were simply short rib bite-size burgers, think the taco sans tortilla and instead with rolls. The Kogi dog was the same, except with a hotdog. Most likely, having tasted the same slaw and sauce affected this writers judgment. It might be a better idea to try other items at another time instead of one sitting as taste buds can get tired of the same flavor even with the different proteins with it.
But best bite so far was the tofu burrito. Huge portion, silky tofu, salty melted cheese, a sweet yet somewhat spicy sauce inside a perfectly cooked tortilla, definitely worth more than the $5. Someone should mass produce this for vegetarians out there (I will be mass buying this as soon as it hits the frozen food aisle).
The tacos, sliders, and dogs did under deliver, most likely because the hype and innovation will make you set standards at its highest. But the burrito and quesadilla gives a glimmer of hope for the rest of the unexplored items on the menu, including their specials and their desserts. There is always a next time. But this time (lesson learned), try it not for the rumor, the interest, the chase, nor the hype but more of the food. Isn’t that what we should be after in the first place?
Kogi BBQ parks all over Los Angeles. Follow them on [email protected] for the schedules and specials. Some trucks take both credit cards and cash.
Kogi is just Truck #1. Watch out for other truck reviews. More quick, cheap, comfort food coming up.