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Adventures

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.

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Meat The KBBQ Burrito: Bulgogi, Kimchi Fried Rice & Banchan

In the realm of fusion cuisine, Korean and Mexican food stand out as particularly versatile cuisines. The often spicy, sweet, and salty profile of Korean food lends itself quite well in almost any dish. Mexican food, equally as distinct and delicious, holds a number of dishes that can act as a platform for any ingredient. Tacos, burritos, tortas, and so many more dishes, are flexible options that can technically be filled with anything under the sun. At the Long Beach Exchange, the Korean BBQ experts at Marinate have combined all these wonderful elements in their new Bulgogi Burrito, which will be available for a limited time.

The casual KKBQ joint is known for their juicy bulgogi, rib eye beef that’s been marinated in Korean spices and thinly sliced. They use Los Angeles staple’s Quarters Korean BBQ house marinade, and cook up the beef on a giant, open fire grill right in front of you — a perfect visual to really coax your appetite.

After being grilled, a generous portion of the bulgogi is paired with homemade kimchi fried rice and gets nestled all in a warm tortilla. Fried egg and cheese round out the default fillings appropriately, making for a complete and satisfying burrito.

From there, it’s up to you. Marinate has a host of banchan (Korean side dishes) that can be added to any burrito, like kimchi and pickled radishes. Fresh veggies, like corn, shredded carrots, and cucumbers, can, and should, be added as the dose of freshness creates a perfect balance. You can also punctuate the whole experience with any of Marinate’s five sauces, like the Korean favorite ssamjang.

 

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And, in other Marinate-related news, the restaurant will be teaming up with Stephanie Lee, who is a founding member of the first Youth Susan G. Komen Foundation. Mrs. Lee, a senior at Village Christian School in Sun Valley, CA, is in the process of designing a food truck with a Korean-based menu that will focus on foods that can help with breast cancer. 

When my grandmother, who raised me, was diagnosed with breast cancer, the only form of support I felt I had in my power was to help keep her in prime health to take the treatments, as well as making the journey at least a bit more bearable. I read hundreds of articles to do my part in researching what foods would help her improve health as well as recover from breast cancer. I read research on ursolic acid and its potential benefits in battling cancer.”

It’s with this research that she hopes to build the menu off of. But, for now, she’ll start by partnering with the Marinate food truck, which will be running behind Quarters Korean BBQ in Los Angeles, CA on October 17th. The truck will be selling bulgogi bowls as well as bulgogi tacos, and will be donating a percentage of their sales, from 5PM to 9PM, to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

So, it looks like there’s multiple reasons to go get some bulgogi in the coming days. Whether you’re coming for the burritos or for the cause, it’s surely destined to be delicious.


Created in partnership with 6th Ave Restaurant Group.

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Nightlife Restaurants

Roy Choi’s Changing Your Vegas Buffet Routine With AYCE Korean BBQ

Staying true to both Korean BBQ culture and Vegas buffet culture, Best Friend by Roy Choi has announced that it will be doing all-you-can-eat Mondays, where you can grub on all the restaurant’s meats and banchan side dishes for $65.

That means you can go in on two plates at a time, for as many rounds as you want. On any other day, the meats (Kalbi, Spicy Pork, BBQ Chicken, BBQ Veg, BBQ Shrimp) are individually priced, so this gives you a chance to try them all, as well as the banchan in one sitting.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to break the bank to whet your palate, as their sake and champagne magnums will be priced half off on Mondays, as well.

If you’re a noob to the K-Town-inspired restaurant, it is good to note that the menu also consists of “L.A. Shit,” such as carnitas tacos, elotes, and even an ode to Choi’s Kogi BBQ Truck short rib taco. But it also features grandiose Vegas-inspired menu items such as dry-aged tomahawks and Lobster Kung Pao.

In early 2019, Chef Roy Choi brought the streets of Los Angeles to the Las Vegas strip, opening up his “Best Friend” Korean restaurant at the Park MGM Resort and Casino.

“I wanted anyone that was from LA, that grew up around hip-hop as a brown skin, black skin or minority in Los Angeles, to walk in this thing and be like, ‘Oh f*ck yeah! This is it!” Choi told Foodbeast.

The $65 price point is definitely a little steeper than your usual Los Angeles Korean BBQ dinner, but is still pretty on par with high-end buffets on the strip. Plus, it gives you a chance to deviate from the typical prime rib/crab leg/oyster buffet combination you’ve probably been dining on since your parents took you to Vegas as a kid.

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Culture Features FOODBEAST Restaurants Video

Roy Choi’s Newest Restaurant Successfully Transplants LA Right On the Vegas Strip

“I wanted anyone that was from LA, that grew up around hip-hop as a brown skin, black skin or minority in Los Angeles, to walk in this thing and be like, ‘Oh f*ck yeah! This is it!”

For lauded chef Roy Choi, his fierce love and loyalty to the city of Los Angeles is one of his defining characteristics. Everything up to this point in the proud Angeleno’s culinary career has been an homage of sorts to the City of Angels. Given an opportunity to extend his culinary empire to Las Vegas, Nevada, Choi took that very flavor and vibe of Los Angeles’ Koreatown and successfully transplanted it right onto the Vegas strip.

Enter the latest Taste the Details episode highlighting Best Friend, the newest restaurant venture from the celebrated chef credited for sparking the gourmet food truck movement. For Choi, capturing the very nucleus and substance of his beloved KTown was of the utmost importance when first considering this latest venture. Since we’re talking about Las Vegas, the world’s playground for high-end escapism, virtually transplanting the one-of-a-kind vibrancy of a liquor store on Olympic Boulevard right in the heart of the infamous Vegas Strip was no problem, given the big budget that Choi was able to work with.

The end result is an honest snapshot of Choi’s Los Angeles, from the menu serving up his greatest Korean-inspired hits to Best Friend’s very own “Kimchi Chamber” to the regular rotation of veteran hip-hop DJ’s orchestrating the vibe — all within the brand new Park MGM Resort & Casino.

 

Photos: Audrey Ma & Travis Jensen 
Categories
Packaged Food

Korean Barbecue-Flavored Potato Chips Are Sadly Not All-You-Can-Eat

lays-korean-barbecue

How much do you wanna bet Lay’s just keeps the better submissions to its Do Us a Flavor contest so they don’t have to pay royalties? Call us conspiracy theorists, but we really can’t imagine any other reason something so amazing as KOREAN BARBECUE wouldn’t be included in the running.

A potential mouthgasm of barbecue, sesame, garlic, pepper, and green onion flavors, new Lay’s STAX Korean BBQ is just one of the two savory Asian food-inspired chips to roll out this month, the other being Thai Sweet Chili. Inspired by the gut-busting, self-loathing-inducing experience that is tabletop grilling, these KBBQ crispies are also made with whey and MSG for extra meatiness.

According to chipreview.com, however, that’s where the similarities end. “We definitely got notes of sweet onion, some garlic, a little pepper,” their review reads, “but for some reason not very much soy or sesame; which seem like they would have been easy Korean flavor profiles to utilize…??”

Fair enough. We think we’d rather pay $18 more for all-you-can eat meat and unlimited side dishes, anyway.

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Products

Giant Grill Table Gives American BBQ the Korean BBQ Treatment

jag-grill-2

For those who don’t know, Koreans are the masters of communal grilling. Unlike the American backyard barbecue, where there’s only one grill master and a bunch of other people standing around drinking Coronas, Korean barbecue takes place almost exclusively indoors, with pre-marinated meats, endless sides, and a neat little table grill that allows everyone present to actually communicate with one another whilst also stuffing their faces with all-you-can-eat brisket.

jag-grill-1

Well, for those hot dog and burger fans looking to get in on the tabletop action, look no further than the JAG Grill. A grill-slash-fire pit-slash-outdoor wooden table, the JAG boasts eight individual grilling stations and one impressive center grilling dome for housing fire and coal or logs. Each station offers enough rack estate to cook more than anyone’s fair share of steak and fajita veggies, as well as separate, removable dining surfaces for easy cleaning.

jag-grill-3

The whole USA-born-and-raised rig will run you about $2500 – 3000, but can you really put a price on staring awkwardly at friends and family while you all slowly die from meat sweats? Didn’t think so.

H/T The Awesomer