This afternoon I wandered up to the strip on Wilshire Blvd between Fairfax and Hauser that has become Lunch Truck Central (so much so, in fact, that brick-and-mortar restaurants have lobbied for legislation that has seriously cracked down on their presence there). This Miracle Mile spot is a goldmine for lunch trucks between noon and 2 pm. Today did not disappoint.
Since this is my first post, I decided to try two trucks at once. Because all of the available trucks were serving tacos, I pitted one chicken taco against another, in a battle royale of chicken tacorificness. The winner? Well…me, of course.
I chose to try bool bbq and Kimchi 21. Bool bills itself as “The perfect marriage of asian [sic] flavors with staples of central and south american [sic] culinary history. Bool is what fusion should be.” Kimchi 21, God bless ’em, doesn’t appear to have a web presence (wha?), but is also a Korean fusion taco truck.
As initially off-putting as “Korean fusion taco truck” might sound, Chef Roy of Kogi BBQ fathered a revolution when he combined the Korean flavors he grew up with, with one of LA’s many native cuisines – in this case, Mexican. The end result was Korean-spiced meats in a traditional Mexican tortilla, with accents like cilantro and chopped onion. Holy bibimbap, is that stuff good.
Can bool and Kimchi 21 compare? This is what I set out to see.
The chicken taco from bool was a slightly greasy, sharp and tangy, two corn tortilla number, filled with grilled chicken, cabbage, tomato salsa, onion and cilantro. I sensed some kind of pineapple essence in the sauce. It was delicious and I inhaled it, washed down with a $2 can of Mexican Coke (read: cane sugar, no high fructose corn syrup). However, my friend John ordered a shrimp taco and was disappointed. He said the sauce overpowered the delicate sea creatures, leaving nothing of the meat except the sensation of chewing something rubbery.
Kimchi 21 was not quite the same experience. Although it was a faster wait for my food, I didn’t find it as flavorful, despite being slathered in what seemed like a sort of peanut sauce.
The Kimchi 21 tacos were American style (compared to bool’s Mexican street taco style), with lettuce, tomato, cheese and diced onion, served – like bool’s – in a double layer of corn tortilla.
I’ve gotta go with bool on this one (although maybe I should do a head-to-head shrimp-off next time). I loved the textures, the slight heat and the flavor. I felt like Kimchi 21 just didn’t show up to play.
BUT… I don’t recommend the Brazilian pastel from bool that ended my meal. This deep fried pastry (what’s not to love?), was filled with chocolate and banana. Only less chocolate and more banana than I would’ve liked. It was also reeaallly sweet and the crust felt a little more egg-roll then beignet.
Go for the tacos, don’t stay for dessert.