A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from August 31, 2010
Korean Taco

Entry in progress—B.P.

Wikipedia: Korean taco
Korean tacos are a fusion dish popular in the U.S. State of California, often as street food, consisting of a Korean-style filling, typically bulgogi, placed on top of small traditional Mexican corn tortillas. Korean burritos are a similarly-themed dish, using larger flour tortillas as a wrap.

Background
Although nearly any savory dish can and has been used as filling for a taco, burrito, or sandwich wrap, and other restaurants have occasionally served dishes they called Korean tacos, the enduring popularity of the dish is generally traced to the use of Twitter by the proprietors of the Kogi Korean BBQ, a taco truck in Los Angeles, California, to announce their schedule and itinerary. The idea of making Korean tacos came to owner Mark Manguera after an unsuccessful search of Los Angeles’ Koreatown for carne asada tacos. In its first year of operation, Kogi generated an estimated $2 million of revenue.

Korean taco trucks later appeared in Portland, Oregon (the “KOI Fusion” truck) and Seattle, Washington (the “Merination” truck). In San Francisco the dish was popularized in 2009 by Namu Restaurant’s Happy Belly food cart in Golden Gate Park, later moving to a farmers market food stand at the San Francisco Ferry Building. The dish’s popularity lead mainstream fast food chain Baja Fresh to test market Korean tacos as a menu item in California, with plans to introduce the dish to hundreds of locations nationwide.

In April, 2010, Food and Wine Magazine named Roy Choi, the chef of the original Kogi’s, one of its annual “Best New Chefs”. It was the first time a food truck chef had been nominated for the award.

Kogi - Korean BBQ-To-Go (Los Angeles, CA)
About
Born from late-night hunger by founders Mark Manguera, Caroline Shin-Manguera and Chef Roy Choi, the Kogi truck is a traveling Los Angeles landmark that serves up Korean Mexican tacos, day and night.

Spicy Pork Tacos, Kimchi Quesadillas and Short Rib Sliders satiate the hungry mouths of Angelenos who crave excellent food on a dime budget.  Quality Korean barbecue meets traditional, homemade tortillas and fresh veggies to create a taste that carries the rhythms of LA street culture and exudes the warmth of all that California sun.  Under the direction of Chef Roy Choi, Kogi has developed a menu that delivers high-end food at street level prices.

Eat Drink & Be Merry
Monday, January 29, 2007
Korean-Mexican Fusion: Korean BBQ Kalbi Tacos?
What I like best about living in LA is the accessibility to almost any type of food you crave. The SGV is home to many cantonese, chinese and taiwanese establishments. Little Tokyo and the South Bay are home to delicious japanese food. Thai food in Hollywood, etc. But Koreatown has to be one of the largest ethnic enclaves in Los Angeles. Within Koreatown, there’s also a growing population of Latinos. Mmm… korean food and mexican food - such good stuff.

New York (NY) Times
October 14, 2007
Next Stop | Granada, Nicaragua
Attracted by a Blend of Centuries and Cultures

By JEFF KOYEN
(...)
Asia Latina (Calle la Libertad; 505-552-4672) serves Thai and Asian-fusion cuisine like “Korean tacos.”

Gourmet.com
Matthew Amster-Burton
Korean Tacos Come in off the Street
05.28.09
It all started with Kogi BBQ, the Los Angeles taco truck with the cult following. Now Korean tacos are taking other cities by storm—and your home kitchen could be next.
(...)
Bulgogi
Adapted from Kye Soon Hong
Makes enough for about 18 tacos
Note: the same marinade may be used for kalbi, thin-sliced bone-in short ribs

• 1 1/2 pounds beef rib eye, thinly sliced (preferably from a Korean or Japanese market)
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1 tablespoon minced garlic
• 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
• 2 teaspoons mirin
• 2 teaspoons water

Combine all ingredients and marinate at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours. Cook meat on a grill or in a skillet, then chop for tacos.

New York (NY) Times
The Tortilla Takes a Road Trip to Korea
By JOHN T. EDGE
Published: July 27, 2010
(...)
What captured Ms. Lee’s attention was Kogi Korean BBQ-To-Go, a retrofitted catering truck that rolled onto the streets of Southern California in November 2008, selling corn tortillas piled with Korean-style barbecued short ribs known as kalbi, garnished with onion, cilantro and a hash of chili-soy-dressed lettuce.

Eighteen months later, dozens of entrepreneurs across the country are selling Korean tacos. Like Buffalo wings and California rolls, Korean tacos have gone national, this time with unprecedented speed. Few of these entrepreneurs appear to have made pilgrimages to Southern California to eat at a Kogi truck. (There are now five.) Many, especially those of Korean ancestry, say they studied news media reports of the Kogi concept, recognized their culture at the core, and made the concept their own.
(...)
The dish may have honest folk roots, but many Korean taco makers across the country recognize Roy Choi, a Kogi founder, as the pioneering force.

“Chef Roy was the alpha,” said Bo Kwon, who has been serving Korean Oregon Infusion BBQ from his Koi Fusion trucks in Portland, Ore., since May 2009.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Tuesday, August 31, 2010 • Permalink