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I Snuck Tortillas Into KBBQ, Here’s What Happened

Photo by Peter Pham/Foodbeast

Korean BBQ is a unique experience where you get to be the grillmaster while still sitting at a table and conversing with loved ones. It’s a fairly perfect dinner that you wouldn’t think needs an upgrade, but we found a way to make the eating experience a tad better.

Tortillas.

Fellow Foodbeast Peter Pham and I snuck in tortillas to our KBBQ meal the other night, and it was everything we’ve dreamt it’d be.

It all started as a semi-serious joke in the office between Pete and I, as we often suggested how life-changing it would be to take our own tortillas to make tacos and burritos.

One fine day, Pete gave me the most serious look he had ever given me and said, “Should I pick up tortillas from Burritos La Palma so we can take them to Gen BBQ?” And in that moment, I knew it was actually happening. I nodded my head, and we were both in agreement that something special was going to happen between us that night.

We put the tortillas in a tote bag and just walked into our local Gen, which is a west coast Korean BBQ chain with over 30 locations spread across California, Texas, Hawaii, Arizona and Las Vegas.

Sure, we were a little nervous, but at the same time, we knew it was a slow night, and the staff was usually pretty chill. What’s the worst they can do, tell us to put away the tortillas? Would they actually kick us out for enhancing our eating experience?

Photo by Peter Pham/Foodbeast

If you’re not familiar with all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ restaurants, the price for the food is set. Even if the tortillas made us feel more full, and we ate less than usual, we were still paying the same $23, each.

After grilling up a strip of spicy pork belly and a bit of beef brisket, we knew it was time.

We pulled out the pack of delicious hand-made flour tortillas from Burritos La Palma, threw a couple on the grill, and got to work.

Using the pork belly, rice, a little bit of kimchi, jalapenos, and garlic sauce, we tested out our burrito rolling skills.

The servers passed by a handful of times, surely seeing us dig into our KBBQ burritos, but they didn’t say a thing, which was nice of them.

Now as for the results, calling the burritos orgasmic would be an understatement.

As Pete and I went all in on these burritos, I feel we shared a Harold and Kumar-like moment similar to when they took their first bites of White Castle sliders.

The flavor combinations of KBBQ being neatly stored within the confines of a tortilla made us feel like we Marie Kondo’d our feast.

Admittedly, I have had tortillas with my KBBQ before, as a now defunct restaurant in Rowland Heights, CA used to offer street-style corn tortillas. And of course, Roy Choi revolutionized this concept with his Kogi BBQ taco truck.

Photo by Peter Pham/Foodbeast

This experience was different, though, especially when the power to make the burrito is in your hands and you can pack in as much pork belly as your fatty little heart desires.

With the amount of KBBQ restaurants in Southern California, surely there are some others who offer tortillas. But the masses need to understand — it needs to be the new standard.

I hope that more Korean BBQ spots take our experience, and the success of Kogi into consideration, because if they don’t, I might have to just gamble and sneak in tortillas from now on.

It’s that good.

After filling our bellies with more burritos than we could handle, we headed out the door in triumph. On the way out, we spotted the “no outside food or drink” sign and said, ‘Well, that’s a damn shame.’

But it will not deter us until they pry the tortillas from our cold, dead fingers.