Thursday, 29 July 2010

Would you like some tacos with that?

“I’ve never tasted anything like this before,” said Tim Burroughs, a recent customer at Hankook Taqueria. “It’s as if they’re making up a cuisine as they go.”

Korean tacos - forget cupcakes - are the next big thing apparently. Mexican-style taco shells 'stuffed with soy- and garlic-marinated beef, along with chicken and pork, all barbecued in the Korean style.'
“The meat makes it Korean,” said Mr. Ban, who marinates chuck roll in a soy and garlic sauce that is traditionally used with Korean barbecue dishes. “The tortilla and the toppings are a way to tell our customers that this food is O.K., that this food is American.”

Tortilla as an indication of Americanness? Strange but it makes sense, and it sounds delicious. I also enjoyed the other fusions that have involved the taco:
...kalbi tacos topped with Asian pear slaw...kalbi tacos and pesto fries...short-rib tacos with homemade kimchi...short-rib quesadillas and chicken satay tacos...Japanese chicken tacos...

The inspiration for these new fusions is, it seems, fairly straightforward:
...Tan Truong and Jonathan Ward rolled out Kung Fu Tacos, a bright yellow truck, selling nun chuk chicken and wu shu char siu to office workers in San Francisco’s financial district.
The partners had planned a trip to Los Angeles to sample Kogi’s food. But then it hit them. “My wife is Chinese,” Mr. Ward recalled. “Why would I try Korean tacos when I could try Chinese tacos? So I texted Tan. I wrote ‘char siu taco.’ And he wrote back ‘brilliant.’ ”

Clearly, the possibilities are endless.

Anyway, despite not being sure what's actually in some of these fusion dishes (kalbi? pear slaw?) I'm quite sure that I'd like to try them. Isn't the rule of thumb that things starting on the West Coast of the US take a couple of years to reach us over here? However, when it does arrive it will, of course, be adapted to suit local tastes: the chicken tikka taco may be just around the corner.

H/t Marginal Revolution.


  1. Sounds like cuisine that will do well among the Camden Towners.
    The beauty of Mexican food is the rule that states 'must be taken with liberal quantities of Tequila' a drink that when on form rivals a good Grappa which can match a well chosen Schnapps which, on the day is every bit as drinkable as a decent whisky, rhubarb!, who needs food anyway.
    Did I mention the excellent Mexican restaurant at Biebrich, on the Rhine, Hessen's finest, no Mexorean stuff served there.

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  3. Re marinating chuck roll in soy, I shared a house with a girl who got a holiday job in a butcher's at Bondi Junction. She never really got used to the customers' most common request: 'A bag of chuck thanks, love'.

  4. Sorry, somehow managed to say the same thing twice.

  5. I remember as a callow youth looking up from my spareribs one Sunday evening, looking around and commenting to my father that one of the glories of multicultural America was discovering that Jews love Chinese food.

    My father replied that "Chinese" was entirely superfluous in that sentence, and that it might be less surprising than I supposed.