Kogi BBQ and Setting Up Your Own Neighborhood Hawker Food Court
Roy Choi, chef and owner of Chego restaurant and the Kogi Korean taco trucks in Los Angeles, Axel Koester / Redux
Before Kogi, most Los Angeles residents only had only glimpsed food trucks from afar, sitting in a parking lot or next to a construction site.
This was in The Daily Beast about Roy Choi, the 41-year-old founder of Kogi BBQ food trucks. Now Choi, a 2010 Food & Wine Magazine Best New Chef recipient, has started his fifth food venture called Sunny Spot, Choi’s take on a Caribbean roadside cookshop.
For the full article, click here.
Choi’s success begs several questions:
1) Where is my Kogi BBQ in Boston?!
2) Indeed, why not more major cities?
3) If he can do it, why can’t YOU? Food trucks can go upscale? Oh yeah! Choi laid the groundwork, now it’s up to you!
4) Is this how social media can spawn new food concepts?
“It challenged a lot of people’s barriers and definitions of what is clean, what is dirty, what is right, what is wrong, without knowing it,” says Choi. “Before Kogi came out, we called them roach coaches. We called the stuff outside of clubs dirty dogs, danger dogs, death dogs. It’s that Western privileged mind-set: That’s dirty, that’s f—ing underground, that’s ghetto…We took away that ridiculous, passed-on, generational, privileged stereotype towards food that Latinos have been eating for a long time, or street food in general…We’ve stopped downgrading a certain segment of society. That’s pretty cool.” from The Daily Beast
and here’s his concept (that’s where YOU come in!):
The recognition from Food & Wine, the first time the magazine awarded Best New Chef to a food truck, helped legitimize the trend, and, Choi believes, street food is what can save our cities.
“We can take empty gas stations and empty parking lots, we can take under performing centers, we can turn those into little hawker centers like they have in Singapore,” he says. “Then we can encourage small business to come in and make a delicious dish with one thing, like this Cuban sandwich you’re eating. Just make one thing and then just transform our city into a city that’s filled with just small vendors serving the most delicious thing that they can.” from The Daily Beast
p.s. Please start one in Boston!
p.p.s. Thank you to Nathalie for sending this link my way!
p.p.p.s. Here are three recipes by Roy Choi by way of Food and Wine Magazine.