Although Korean cuisine has played a key role in the LA food truck scene from the outset, it has always been part of a hyphenate--for example, the Mexican-Korean fusion of Kogi BBQ. With the rollout of Ahn-Joo at the LA Film Festival, however, mobile Korean food is taking center stage.
Helmed by Chef Debbie Lee, one of the finalists of season 1 of The Next Food Network Star, Ahn-Joo serves modern versions of Korean pub food both savory and sweet. After attending a screening at LAFF last week, I visited Chef Debbie at LA Live to taste some Korean pub grub.
Photo courtesy of Giana Mucci
Restraining myself from ordering the whole menu because of the late hour, I settled on sampling two dishes.
We began with the Seoultown Spuds (garlic fried potato wedges, chile sauce drizzle, $5.00) because potato dishes are inevitably my favorite part of banchan, the small side dishes served alongside Korean food. Each bite of the chunky wedges was delightfully crunchy, and the chile sauce drizzle added the perfect kick to the otherwise sweet potatoes. This dish was everything I love about Korean-style potatoes but kicked up a notch.
Our second savory dish was an order of Korean Nachos (fried rice cakes, smoky chile queso, soy braised pork, kimchi salsa, $7.00), which was a perfect fusion of Korean cuisine and snack nachos. While the tender, shredded soy-flavored pork and kimchi were decidedly Asian-inspired, the smoky chile queso did, in fact, remind one of nacho cheese. I only wished that the noodle-shaped rice cakes which formed the base were more like actual tortilla chips to tie the dish together.
Ahn-Joo also serves spicy pickled cucumbers and a housemade kimchi of the day which, on this day, was daikon. Both snack-sized sides had a wonderful spice and crunch in each bite.
Upon finishing our dishes, J and I were asked if we would like to try a dessert. Of course, we would! Shortly thereafter, we received a paper sleeve containing a Grilled Nutella Bhang ($5.00) cut into mini-triangles. The dessert features nutella and seasonal mixed berries sandwiched between pieces of buttery, grilled bread and is finished with a dusting of powdered sugar. This decadent dessert was one of the best sweets I've eaten in some time and struck me as an amalgamation of everything I love about dessert grilled cheese sandwiches and French toast.
Although I loved my first trip to Ahn-Joo, there are so many more things to try that I can't be fully satisfied until I return!
Ahn-Joo will be parked at the LA Film Fest Village at LA Live from 4PM-1AM on weekdays and 2PM-1AM on weekends.