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Cultures Collide In This SF Tenderloin Restaurant’s Korean Chimichanga

SF’s Tenderloin District has a seedy reputation, but if you pass on it because of that, you’re missing out on a picturesque neighborhood with some pretty unique culinary innovations.

A chief spot to visit is Aria Korean Tapas, where Charlie Kim cranks out kimbap and Korean fried chicken that SF’s foodies flock to.

His fusion of Korean street fare and San Francisco street culture has bridged together in his newest creation: The Big Loco Chimichanga.

big loco chimichanga

Photo: David Black

The Big Loco is crammed with a variety of Korean foods that speak to Kim’s heritage, but also capture the perfect visual appeal to coincide with the Tenderloin.

Inside the chimichangas, you’ll find bulgogi ribeye beef, sesame oil seasoned rice, boneless/skinless non-GMO Korean fried chicken, kimchi, and mozzarella cheese. It is then topped off with their house-made sweet and spicy sauce that normally goes on Aria’s chicken. That sauce consists of ground Korean chilis that have been stir-fried, tons of garlic, brown rice syrup, and chicken stock.

Photo: David Black

The visually poppin’ Big Loco Chimichanga is a welcome addition to Kim’s menu of photogenic Korean favorites. It’s sure to mesh well with the street art scene you’ll find flourishing in the SF Tenderloin.

Kim’s newest creation is also proof that you’re sleeping on the Tenderloin if you’re not checking it out.

There’s loads more restaurants serving up authentic eats here such as Shalimar’s kebabs, and The Chairman’s Asian fusion. While not all have tapped into the Tenderloin’s artistic culture like Aria has, they all offer up delicious food worth the trip to this gritty, yet aesthetically pleasing SF neighborhood.

Aria’s new item is only available through the month of June, and only on specific days of the week. Make sure to stop by between 11:30 am and 3 pm Thursday through Saturday to get ahold of one for yourself.

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This SF Korean Fried Chicken Icon Just Dropped Bulgogi Stir Fry Ramen

We always get a feeling of nostalgia when we go in on a steamy cup of Nissin Cup Noodles. That first slurp and gulp always takes us back to our childhoods — whether it was an after-school meal or a late-night snack.

That sentiment is what inspired this Dream Cup Noodles collaboration.

Chef Charlie Kim of Aria Korean Tapas, a Korean fried chicken joint located in the heart of the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco, runs the shop with his mother and father.

The former UCLA hockey player fondly remembers eating Nissin Cup Noodles after practice as his favorite meal of the day.

Now, as the owner of his own Korean restaurant, Kim’s love for Original Cup Noodles has come full circle, evidenced by this Bulgogi Cup Noodles dish.

Chef Kim stir fries bulgogi ribeye rolls with ramen noodles, garlic, and ginger until beef meets noodles in a medley of flavor. Kim finishes the cup with mozzarella cheese, stir fry kimchi, and a fried egg — a love letter to the foods of his youth.

Those who love the intricacies of Korean cooking will want to keep an eye out for this cup at FOODBEAST’s upcoming noodle festival.

Come join the festivities as Aria Korean Tapas debuts this exclusive fusion of traditional Korean flavors at Foodbeast’s Noods Oakland presented by Nissin Cup Noodles on April 7th. Visit www.noodsfest.com for more information or to purchase tickets.


Created in partnership with Original Cup Noodles

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Culture Hit-Or-Miss Video

Watch Irish Folks Try Korean Food For The First Time

The folks over at Facts have gotten pretty adventurous over the last few months, slowly expanding their culinary horizons with each new video. In their latest taste test, the Irish group tries some Korean foods for the first time.

Traditional dishes include Kimchi (pickled cabbage), Haejangguk (hangover beef broth stew), Nakji Bokkeum (spicy stir-fried octopus), Mul-naengmyeon (noodles in an icy soup), and Yumilgwa (a rice confectionary).

As you can see in the video, they’re more receptive to some dishes than others.

Damn, watching them try these foods really makes us crave some good Korean food. Preferably a meal that that won’t burn the roof off our mouths.

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#foodbeast Adventures FOODBEAST Video

It Was Lit: We Tried To Conquer The #KTOWNSPICYCHALLENGE

“Dude, I heard there’s this dish here in Koreatown, at this joint called Yup Dduk, that claims to be the spiciest in Los Angeles. They call it the KTown Spicy Challenge or something.”

My buddy Mike, who runs the @Koreatown Instagram handle, piqued my interest immediately with this little tidbit. If there’s anybody that knows KTown well, it was him.

When it comes to spicy food, my tongue’s threshold is that of any average mortal, with a sensitivity that likes to call it quits once it hits habanero territory. I can handle spicy food just fine, but really, I’ve never been the type to go out of my way to put myself through any sort of punishment, especially when it comes to eating. So for me to even consider putting my trusty palate through unprecedented levels of heat speaks more to my dangerous curiosity than anything.

They say its the spiciest dish in L.A., eh? Hmm, bet. I mean how bad could it actually be, right?

I enlisted the help of my good friend Wally, a well-versed foodbeast in his own right, to help me tackle the daunting task that is the #KTOWNSPICYCHALLENGE.

Pandora’s Box opened up at the corner of 6th and Normandie, in the heart of Los Angeles’ Koreatown, the location of Yup Dduk. Its specific contents? A gigantic bowl of veritable magma. Peep the fiery deets: Korean rice cakes (ddukbokki), ramen noodles, sausages, fish cake, cheese, and a lethal helping of the spiciest pepper in all of Korea, the Ttangcho pepper.

ktown-spicy-challenge

At first bite, the Ttangcho introduced itself to me assertively, smacking sense into all my left brain function, letting me know that yes, curiosity always kills cats, and that I was now clinging to just a few of those proverbial nine lives from here on out.  I’m re-thinking all known reason at this point.

But Diddy would be proud, because there ain’t no bitchassedness in these dudes. I shoveled in more of the molten lava, willing myself to go on. Each bite felt like tongue-kissing the devil while riding Rapidash bareback.

Yet to be pummeled by wave after wave of the spicy ddukbokki was quickly taking it’s toll. I look over at Wally and manage to blurt out half-meant encouragement.

“Yeah, we got 2% done bruh.” Wally’s deadpan delivery let some of that realness sink in: Ttangcho ain’t going nowhere but right through us. We were both sweating like two pigs on a spit, rotating closer and closer to our expected demise. The end was near, and were it not for a few rallying comments from our awesome viewers of this spectacle’s livestream, then our fates would have been sealed a lot quicker.

Wally and I tapped out nearly 30 minutes later, spirits singed, tongues wagging, scorched earth left in the wake of the #KTOWNSPICYCHALLENGE. It claimed two more lives that day, business as usual for L.A.’s spiciest dish.

ktown-spicy-challenge

 

Location: Yup Dduk LA, 3603 W. 6th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90020

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Kimchi Bulgogi Nachos

kimchi nachos

Recipe: Two Red Bowls