K-grubbing at Ahn Joo
Food trucks have become the cable television of the food world.
And I don’t mean that disparagingly.
Remember when cable TV was the last resort of the waning actor? Now it’s common to see big name film stars headlining shows.
And so it’s become with food trucks. From roach coaches that few Angelenos dared eat at to the darlings of the LA food scene. And now, it seems, you increasingly need TV celebrity to launch one.
Susan Feniger (Top Chef Masters) and Mary Sue Milliken have their Border Grill truck, Ludo Lefebvre (Top Chef Masters) has his fried chicken Ludo Truck and now Debbie Lee (Next Food Network Star) has her Korean pub grub Ahn-Joo truck.
Ahn-Joo has been serving the streets of LA for six weeks now but, way back in June, I was invited to their soft rolling. Serving a fusion take on Korean pub food with nary a Korean taco in sight, the menu is broken down into categories of small grub, medium grub, large grub and sweet grub.
Housemade kimchee of the day and spicy pickled cucumbers ($3). Lesson for the day: northern Korean kimchee tastes different to the more common southern Korean kimchee.
Spicy chilled buckwheat noodles with fuji apples and Korean veggies ($5). I think this would be great for breakfast. Or for a hangover. Fruit, veges, carbs, protein and sauce. All your major food groups in a plastic takeout container. Is sauce a recognized food group?
Seoultown spuds: garlic fried potato wedges, chile sauce drizzle ($5). Combine with the Korean Fried Chicken for a K-spin on the Colonel’s fried chicken and potato wedges.
Modern mandu: Korean potstickers ($5)
Korean fried chicken with garlic glaze and pickled daikon ($7). I’ll take this KFC over the Colonel’s any day. Does it come in a bucket?
Mama Lee’s meatloaf: ground rib eye, soy onion demi, crispy shitake ($7). Certainly not my mom’s meatloaf. If she made meatloaf, that is.
Korean nachos: fried rice cakes, smoky chile queso, soy braised pork, kimchee salsa ($7). Nacho regular nachos!
I loved Ahn-Joo’s take on Korean nachos with fried rice cakes taking the place of tortilla chips and soy braised pork, chile queso and kimchee salsa replacing their more familiar counterparts.
Their Korean fried chicken was also very good as were the spicy chilled buckwheat noodles, which I took to go and ate as an afternoon snack. The crunch of the fuji apples, radish and carrots played well off the chilled noodles. I didn’t get to sample the fuji apple eggroll with ginger mascarpone, which I subsequently heard rave reports about, but I’ll save that for next time.
And there will be a next time.
If nothing else, it’s refreshing to see a Korean food truck not serving tacos!Ahn-Joo Twitter: @AhnJooLA