Kogi BBQ: The Food Truck that started the Revolution is in the 818

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BY KAREN YOUNG

My teenage son and I first found the Kogi BBQ truck via Twitter one late night almost a year ago parked outside the El Bar in Universal City. We waited over an hour in a line, so by the time we got to the front, we were starving and ordered enough for a party of five. But at least it was only $25 and we got to mix with people we wouldn’t ordinarily meet.

It’s social media meets sidewalk social as the viral community comes face to face.

Kimchi Quesadilla: a spicy mix of cheese and kimchi on a flour tortilla ($5). Photos: Flickr/Kogi

Standing in a dimly lit walkway adjacent to a parking lot with our load of food in paper containers, we couldn’t really see what we were eating, but agreed the robust fusion of ingredients we tasted was indeed worth the wait — and a much welcomed food adventure.

Kogi is the truck that started the street truck food culture revolution in Los Angeles. Kogi, which means ‘meat,’ is one of the only trucks that rolls into various San Fernando Valley stops on a weekly basis. And for many, it’s become an addiction — us included.

The Kogi Truck is roaming the Valley. Find it on Twitter.

The Kogi Truck is roaming the Valley. Find it on Twitter and Facebook.

Founded by Mark Manguera, Caroline Shin-Manguera and Chef Roy Choi, the Kogi BBQ truckwhere Korean BBQ meets the Tortilla with the taco truck concept — has come a long way since revving up its engine and stoves in late fall 2008 as a late night food stop.  And it comes with a pedigree — Choi is an accomplished chef who was valedictorian of his Culinary Institute America class and held stints at the acclaimed La Bernardin in New York, as well as the Beverly Hilton and Rock Sugar in Los Angeles.

Now there are four trucks roaming the streets at all hours of the day and night. And if you want to know if they’re on time, just follow the Twitter feed.

Short Rib tacos with sesame-chili salsa roja, julienne romaine lettuce and cabbage tossed in Korean chili-soy vinaigrette, cilantro-green onion-lime relish, crushed sesame seeds, and sea salt. ($2 each)

The menu is short with daily specials — tacos, burritos and sliders come with a choice of Short Rib (no bones), Spicy Pork, Chicken and Tofu. The small tacos ($2) are wrapped in soft corn tortillas and the marinated meat is topped with an interesting mix of ingredients – sesame-chili salsa roja, julienne romaine lettuce and cabbage tossed in Korean chili-soy vinaigrette, cilantro-green onion-lime relish, crushed sesame seeds, and sea salt. It’s a sweet and salty combination. Burritos kick it up with all that plus shredded potato, a little egg and cheese and flour tortilla ($5). No beans, no rice — you’ve never had a burrito like this.  Sliders are the same as the taco mix, and come as you’d expect — on a bun ($3).

P-Funk Sliders: a special item with pork, purple cabbage, purple salsa, a bit of sesame mayo, onions, and some blue cheese ($6 for a set of two)

Other choices include the Kimchi Quesadilla, a spicy mix of cheese and kimchi on a flour tortilla ($5); Kogi Dog, a hot dog topped with cabbage salad, kimchi and cheddar cheese ($5);  Blackjack Quesadilla that mixes grilled, marinated pork belly, Jack cheese and a spicy roasted garlic–jalapeño sauce ($7); Calamari Tacos marinated in a chili-ginger soy marinade and topped with onions and a sweet and spicy chili salsa. ($3). Pop up specials happen daily. How about P-Funk Sliders with Pork, Purple cabbage, purple salsa, a bit of sesame mayo, onions, and some blue cheese ($6 for a set of 2)? If you are a meat eater, I definitely recommend the short ribs and pork over chicken. If you’re going veggie, the tofu is quite good.

Kogi Dog: a hot dog topped with cabbage salad, kimchi and cheddar cheese ($5)

You’ve got to try Kogi at least once — for the social experience and the food.  Warning: Be ready to wait in line.

Check it out around your neighborhood this week. Tuesday 12PM-3PM Universal City (across Gate 2) 10600 Valleyheart & Lankershim 91604; Tuesday 1030PM-1230AM Corbin Bowling Center 19616 Ventura Blvd Tarzana 91356; Thursday 630PM-9PM Encino Premiere Carwash 17432 Ventura Blvd 91316;  Thursday 1030PM-1230AM Granada Hills Zelzah and Chatsworth 91344; Bar ONE LA Friday 10PM-1230AM  12518 Burbank Blvd 91607

To find the Kogi stop in your area, go to kogibbq.com or http://twitter.com/kogiBBQ or check out the Alibi Room in Culver City for Kogi

Karen  Young is the Publisher/Editor of My Daily Find.

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

  • Leticia Flack

    I would have liked to try Kogi, it comes so “late” to Tarzana!! 10:30pm to 12:30 am !!!! I don’t even eat at those hours. Did I get the schedule right?

  • http://www.pastimesinc.com L.R. Wehrli

    They need to park near the Studio City Farmers Market on Sundays at least once a month.

  • Pam K.

    Now I know what we are having for dinner tomorrow night! going to the carwash!

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