Kogi BBQ: A Korean Take on Classic Mexican Cuisine

An article about the Los Angeles meals on wheels phenomenon, Kogi BBQ that serves Korean infused Mexican food.

For Angelinos, there are just some things that only Angelinos know about. Where big name attractions in Southern California like Disneyland and Beverley Hills are the highly commercial landmarks, there are also the less known but equally cherished gems that adorn the southland. From Mexican food at Manuel’s Original El Tepeyac Café in Los Angeles to hotdogs at Pink’s Hotdogs in Hollywood, Southern Californian’s definitely have their share of treasures to grab a bite to eat at. But for some, a gem on wheels may have been overlooked as the signature roach coach.

The flame logoed Mexican food infused with Korean traditions completely takes the eyes and stomach of some by surprise. Kogi BBQ, founded by “Mark Manguera, Caroline Shin-Manguera and Chef Roy Choi, is a traveling Los Angeles landmark that serves up Korean Mexican tacos, day and night,” according to the restaurant on wheel’s website.

The “taco (wo)man” has become a signature addition to many Hispanic family gatherings or other large events. This cook would bring a grill and cook several different types of meats to be served with onion, salsa, and cilantro on small corn tortillas. Especially in the greater Los Angeles area, a local favorite called King Taco took this idea and made it into a largely commercial food that many know about.

So what began as a Korean rendition, late night snack of the taco man exploded into a Twitter driven, and thriving meal on wheels. Yes, Twitter. Through both the Kogi website (kogibbq.com) and the Twitter account (@kogibbq), customers can track where the five different trucks will be at from 12 PM to 12:30 AM Tuesdays through Saturdays. Each truck usually stops at three different sites per day for about three hours apiece. There is also a 21 and over restaurant in Culver City where Kogi can be found Monday through Saturday, 6 pm to midnight.

Serving several items such as tacos, burritos, quesadillas, sliders, and a selection of specials, Kogi uses Korean barbecue flavors on traditional Mexican food canvases. Each meal is made quickly and to order at the truck. Just wait in line, give the cashier your order and wait a few minutes for your Kogi to be served in small paper plates.

Depending on the area, lines can get very long, very quick. If you want Kogi in a snap, lunch and dinner serving times usually have shorter lines. Again, tweets from Kogi will let you know when there is a small or no wait, so following Kogi BBQ through text messages may be a very resourceful tool.

Kogi BBQ has been under tortillas wraps for some time but now the infusion of flavors has taken the streets of Los Angeles and serves Angelinos the best of Mexico and Korea.


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