This may sound a little crude and dirty ( if you are inclined to think that way), but the title literally explains what happened in our mouths as we tucked into the Korean/Mexican fusion cuisine of Roy Choi. For those who are not familiar with who Choi is, he is the founder of the gourmet Korean taco truck (Kogi) and is also known as one of the founders of the gourmet food truck scene, which is growing in prominence.
He is also the author of his autobiography: L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food, which is part memoir and part cookbook. For me, I heard about Choi on some Food Network cooking show a few years back, and always noted that I soooo need to try this fusion of flavors. I mean if you think about it, it is a match made in heaven, the mixture of Korean flavors and inspirations and Mexican cuisines which is vibrant and flavor packed. Definitely a great match!
The #CrazyRichAsians pop up I attended was part of a 3 day eating event. The first night was the one I attended which was all Choi’s cuisines and menu, last night/yesterday was ANDREW LE ( Offender Anderson’s brother) of THE PIG AND THE LADY (Hawaii) with his famous Vietnamese cuisine, and tonight/today will be EDDIE HUANG ( author of book FRESH OFF THE BOAT), and his Chinese cuisines. So it is a pretty jam packed 3 days. So as I stated, I attended the first night which was Choi’s night, and as the title suggests, his food didn’t disappoint. To be honest, if I could, I would attend all 3, knowing that all their chef skills wouldn’t disappoint.
So what did Choi add to his menu for the night – well it was pretty much a 6 course feast, starting with a salad, which surprised me ( as it was probably one of my favorite dishes of the night). It was so awesome because it was a mix of baby spinach leaves, pecans, goat’s cheese and cranberries – which most of us are familiar with in a good match for a salad, but then here comes the kicker – he adds miso, seasoned pickles, mizuna and fried shallots – which then makes it very Asian. Literally your mouth is dancing with all these bold flavors ( both goats cheese and miso are strong flavors) and you tingle and just want to eat more. The beauty is, it is relatively healthy, so yes, I did have a second helping.
The 2nd and 3rd course which came out were the fries and the pork belly ( check the menu above for the exact names) – and boy I never ever say there is too much food, but that night there was an over abundance of food. And, yes I know I am complaining about a first world problem, but the over abundance of food made me so happy, so I am not complaining being able to have a 2nd and a 3rd helping. The fries are a fusion of Carne Asada and Korean BBQ marinated meat and sauce flavors. Again, cheesy, spicy mayo, well cooked fries ( which were not soggy) and awesome marinated Korean BBQ meat all in one huge dish. The pork belly was like a Carnitas, with small pulled pork belly (perfectly cooked) marinated in the bold Korean flavors. Just literally to die for.
The 4th and 5th courses were eggs and tofu rice. The eggs were also delicious and very traditional in terms of Korean cuisine ( if you eat enough Korean food and/or watch Korean dramas, there is always a perfectly fried runny egg in most rice dishes) but Choi’s eggs had that special Mexican hit to it in terms of flavors, and if an egg is perfectly cooked, you literally can’t go wrong – meaning it is runny when you break it apart on top of the well seasoned rice which was part of the course. The tofu reminded me of the Chinese dish of Mapo Tofu ( spicy ground pork and small pieces of tofu), but this one was Korean style Mapo Tofu with the spicy, tangy flavors you get from Mexican cuisine. I didn’t even realize I was eating tofu till I had my first bite, and with the seasoned rice – well, my mouth was having orgasms.
The last course was dessert. It came to us wrapped in cling wrap and looked like a regular muffin ( with no frosting or toppings). Very unassuming indeed. But when you break it apart and take a taste, it is a fusion of many things happening. You get the popping feeling like pop rocks of the peanut brittle, then the sweetness of the chocolate cake, and the tangy /creamy taste inside of the seasoned tapioca milk cream ( which was my favorite part because it was not sweet but just smooth like silk). Normally, I am not a dessert person, so I am not good at describing desserts, but this one really had so many things going on, I didn’t know where to start and where to finish.
Lastly, so you can salivate over my food pictures instead of seeing my long rambling post, I was so full to the brim after the evening was over. Awesome ambiance, awesome food and very humble chef in Choi. I definitely will endeavor to try more of his cuisines next time I am in Los Angeles for some eating rites of passage, because it didn’t disappoint.
Enjoy the pictures of my #CRAZYRICHEATING #CRAZYRICHASIANS. I am generally poor as fuck, but felt very rich and pampered that night!