Kogi: A new Korean-American taco truck in Los Angeles

Posted by Cyrus Farivar on January 13, 2009

It was bound to happen sooner or later — a California taco truck selling taco-inspired food that isn’t quite a traditional taco.

Since November 2008, Kogi has been serving up Korean BBQ served up in a taco (or burrito). Man, this is so freakin’ awesome — I can’t wait to get back Stateside. Folks, this could only happen in America, and more specifically, only in California.

As chef Roy Choi explained to LAist last month:

We’re Korean, but we’re American and we grew up in LA. It’s not a stigma food, it’s a representation of who we are. Everything you get in that taco is what we live in LA. It’s the 720 bus on Wilshire, it’s the 3rd street Juanita’s Tacos, the Korean supermarket and all those things that we live everyday in one bite. That was our goal. To take everything about LA and put it into one bite… It’s Mexican, it’s Korean, it’s organic, it’s California, it’s farmer’s market, it’s drunk people after midnight.

So what’s on the menu?

How about a Korean short rib taco?

This is our signature taco. We get the best trimmings of short ribs we can find, let it swim in our own special marinade, and chop it nice and small so the flavors just dance on your taste buds. Once on the grill, the fat melts away to create that soft and tender texture everyone loves and the sugars just caramelize to give the meat that deep and savory flavor. This is the Kogi crowd favorite.

All out tacos are topped with:

* sesame-chili salsa roja
* julienne romaine lettuce and cabbage tossed in Korean chili-soy vinaigrette
* cilantro-green onion-lime relish
* crushed sesame seeds
* sea salt
* garnished with lime wedge, orange wedge and red radish wedge

Compared with East LA or East Oakland tacos, these are a little on the expensive side, but at $2 each or three for $5, it still seems like a bargain. Plus, the clientèle is UCLA students, Venice hipsters and Hollywood club-goers.

The team borrowed a truck and had only $3,500 in startup cash and apparently is already profitable. Hot damn.

And they’re on Twitter. Sheeeet.

As Daniel Hernandez wrote to me in a recent email, after I shared with him my shock in discovering French tacos with fries in them: ‘Real’ tacos come with fries!! the beauty of the taco is its whore-y openness to being influenced by other foods or re-interpreted.. chocotaco anyone?

Point taken.

[Photo: Tom Andrews/LAist]

  1. Nate Cardozo Said,

    Holy poopsters! I must have korean tacos. Now.

  2. Dan Said,

    Wow. What a good idea for business it is! Good job guys. It’s what I’m always try to tell my friends, to start a business like this especially placing it on a trailer to make it more mobile. Mobility means more exposure to different kinds of people and therefore gaining popularity. But of course, nothing beats good customer service in gaining more customers. And personally, I love tacos! Too bad, here in our place, they don’t have taco trucks. Well anyway, keep it up guys!

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  7. jony Said,

    Wow these are popping up everywhere now. I just had a korean taco in the bay area. Amazingly good and close to kogi style. They also have lots of other fusion tacos you wouldnt beleive. tonys taco truck can be found on twitter and i highly recomend them. Thanks to kogi

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  12. nikki Said,

    But where??? I’m in santa monica and this is my last day til its back to the nyc grind. Can someone please tell me where I can find a truck-or an imitator-in santa monica?! Thank you!

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