Chef Essig's Featured Item of the Week: Korean Tacos

It's All About Feeding The Masseskorean tacos

In the past couple of years, there is one culinary trend that has surpassed all others in regard to the amount of media attention it has received and excitement it has created among audiences across the United States -- that is the gourmet food truck trend.

More than likely you have heard, seen, or been lucky enough to sample some of these delicious creations that have been coming from a business sector that used to be regarded as "less than desirable." The connotation of these trucks being considered "less than" is changing through efforts of these new entrepreneurs who have taken feeding the masses to a whole new level. From gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwiches to Banh Mi Sandwiches, from Tacos to Pad Thai, from Corn Lobster Cakes to Gourmet Cupcakes... these trucks are hitting the streets, they're coming to you, and they're growing in numbers.

To urban cities in countries like China, India, Mexico, Brazil, (and many more), street foods have always been a part of life. Citizens make their living by creating and selling food to the local community. It is a gathering place... a place to exchange not only currency, but also camaraderie.

korean tacosNow the local marketplace has grown wheels and is on the loose looking for anyplace that people gather. In cities such as Los Angeles and Seattle, these trucks have even started to caravan and set up mobile market places, pinpointing areas of large numbers of hungry customers.

Worth The Wait

On a trip recently to California, I drove into Los Angeles specifically to search out these food trucks. There were trucks that specialized in all organic food, others that served varieties of local seafood, and of course the famed Kogi BBQ. Kogi BBQ was the brainchild of Chef Roy Choi and his partner Mark Manguera. Both men worked for the Hilton Hotel at the time, and they decided to give up their day job in hotel foodservice and start selling Korean Tacos from a truck. They advertised each day to over 52,000 twitter followers to inform them where the truck would be and at what time.

korean tacosA chef colleague recently said he waited for 45 minutes in a line of over 100 people to get his tacos-- and they were worth every minute and cent.

The trucks you see at construction sites or near busy intersections of the city may be often overlooked, but with some innovation and creativity, they can turn into real money-makers. Choi stated in an article with the Wall Street Journal that in the first year of business, Kogi generated over 2 million dollars in revenue.

Korean Tacos at UNC

UNC Dining Services has not strapped on wheels to its services yet, but we would like to offer our customers a taste of this trend that has recently hit the streets.

You can sample a version of our Korean Tacos at Holmes Dining Hall on Thursday, September 27th @ Lunch at The Grille while enjoying the marketplace feel and camaraderie with friends and colleagues. We hope you enjoy. Keep on Truck’n!

Chef EssigHappy Dining from Executive Chef Essig!

Chef Aran Essig, CEC, CCA
(Certified Executive Chef, Certified Culinary Administrator)

Hungry and not sure where to eat? We can help you decide... check out the weekly menus often to see what each dining room is serving. You can also call the FoodLine (970.351.FOOD) for daily menus. Students living in the residence halls can access weekly menus on the VOIP phones in their rooms.

Students: add meals and/or Dining Dollars to your UNC Card

Faculty/Staff: sign up for the payroll deduction program

Have questions, comments, or suggestions?? Email us at diningservices@unco.edu.