I thought I’d posted about Korean tacos before, but I guess not. Whoops! Had I realized this, I would have taken better pictures the dozen other times we’ve eaten this. Instead, I just snapped a quick photo with my Blackberry last week and shoveled everything down.
Korean fusion isn’t entirely new. I often had bulgogi sandwiches at a Korean-owned sandwich shop while an undergrad at Berkeley (well over ten years ago, yeesh). When I moved a few cities north post-college, there was a Korean-owned Mexican restaurant between my house and my office that served bulgogi burritos.
These days, Korean taco trucks are a “thing.” I haven’t really been impressed by them: I have to keep up with my Twitter feed to figure out where they are, the lines can be ridiculously long and frankly, the ones I’ve tried just haven’t been worth the hype. After visiting LA and realizing how long the lines at the Kogi truck would be after we braved traffic, I decided to abandon the mission. I could just make these at home! I’ve been buying pre-marinated meat at Korean markets for years and I can definitely figure out how to make my own taco.
If you’re ambitious, marinate your own beef, chicken, pork or short-ribs. I’m sure there are plenty of recipes online to choose from. I always pick up a small assortment of various marinated meats from the Korean market, pan-fry or grill it up, and chop down to a manageable size. The meat keeps well in the freezer so I often have a small container of Korean meat ready for tacos (or jap chae) when we crave them.
Any corn tortilla will do. I used to warm them up in a non-stick pan but have since realized the toaster oven can do the same thing. I wrap them up in tin foil to stay warm while I’m preparing everything else.
This is the fun part. Sometimes I buy bi bim bap toppings for our tacos (bean sprouts, spinach, burdock root, kimchee, seaweed salad, etc.). Other times, I will make a slaw. The picture at top is a slaw made out of a fuji apple I shredded on my mom’s mandoline with a squeeze of grapefruit juice. The apple and grapefruit came from our CSA box and were threatening to turn and it gave our tacos a bright crunch. Another time (not pictured), I made a carrot slaw with a little bit of sugar, sesame oil and mirin.
Above, you have one of my first attempts at homemade Korean taco toppings. I later realized that asian pears sit better on a taco when mandolined rather than cubed.
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