Sunday, 23 May 2010

Kogi Truck

Of all the food trucks that have twitter followings in Los Angeles, the most popular, the one with the biggest cult following, is without doubt, The Kogi Truck. Kogi has grown since its humble beginnings, founded by Mark Manguera, Caroline Shin-Manguera and Chef Roy Choi who was named "Best New Chef" by America's Food and Wine magazine earlier this year, and it now boasts four trucks named Azul, Roja, Verde and Naranja as well as serving food from the Alibi Room in Culver City.

There have been a few negative reviews popping up here and there, saying overhyped and mentions that considering it's Mexican/Korean you won't see a single Mexican or Korean standing in the long lines outside the truck. On the other hand, there are a host of people who say quite the opposite, that it works, that it incredibly good, and well, the long queues speak for themselves. The LA Times published a podcast on Kogi Truck last year and ever since I have been wanting to go stand in line myself. Now in California I knew that I owed it to myself to track a truck down and go taste some Korean barbeque tacos.

We had been staying in Huntington Beach for a few nights and, as I had been most mornings since being in the vicinity of LA and Orange County, logged onto Twitter to see where the trucks would be stopping today, a system which up to now has obviously worked succesfully for Kogi. The Naranja truck was to stop outside the RVCA warehouse in Costa Mesa just five minutes up the road. So after battling the waves on the beach all morning we jumped in the car and made our way to RVCA. As chance would have it, RVCA were having one of their annual warehouse sales which was a welcome and pleasant distraction whilst we waited for the truck to arrive. Sure enough a line started to build and build and as we joined, about twenty places deep in the queue, the Naranja truck rolled up and set-up shop. There were many ethnic nationalities in the line, including Mexican and Korean to go against the negative Yelp review I had read. I took a kimchi quesadilla and a Korean spicy pork taco whilst my wife Emma took the Korean chicken burrito. Everything we had was remarkable. Fantastic! One of our favourite eats in California (which has included a lot). The Kogi Korean barbeque sauce, used in the Korean chicken burrito and most of the food served at Kogi trucks, has such a deep flavour. A peanut satay type undertone to a rich and spiced barbeque sauce. My spicy Korean pork taco was not as spicy as I would have liked but it was full of flavour. The kimchi quesadilla, which is on their favourites list, was the highlight for me, spicy bbq sauce with sesame seeds and the same slight undertone of satay amid the fermented cabbage sandwiched in a large corn tortilla. In my opinion, the wait in the line was absolutely worth it. The food was brilliant value for money, just $14, and I would highly recommend, to anyone visiting the area, to keep an eye on Twitter and somehow find your way to the nearest Kogi Truck one night and wait in that line. Kogi - believe the hype.

Follow Kogi on twitter @kogibbq


  1. Jen has been raving about this to me for ages....

    We had planned a trip to do LA, SF and Portland this summer (with one of the prime reasons being to hit up these places). Can't do it now which I am truly sad about.

    Glad to read about it though


  2. It was every bit as good as I had hoped. Well worth the wait.