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Monday, August 2, 2010

TaKorea: Late-Night Korean Tacos in SOMA

Posted By on Mon, Aug 2, 2010 at 4:55 PM

click to enlarge The Korean-fusion truck serves three kinds of tacos; recipes for marinades and kimchi come from the 28-year-old owner's family. - TAKOREA
  • TaKorea
  • The Korean-fusion truck serves three kinds of tacos; recipes for marinades and kimchi come from the 28-year-old owner's family.
It wasn't dreams of riches or an urge for culinary self-expression that nudged Mr. Cho to launch the food truck he calls TaKorea. It was how shitty he felt after buying a bacon-wrapped hot dog one night post- Bruno's. Turns out the dog was cold as Mission Street pavement in summer. "I was really pissed," says Mr. Cho, who asked us not to reveal his full name for fear of getting busted at his day job.

Combine wiener outrage with memories of L.A.'s Kogi trucks, and the 28-year-old Mr. Cho suddenly had a mission: Giving drunk San Franciscans a taste of the Korean tacos hammered Angelenos take for granted. So about a month ago, Mr. Cho got a couple of buddies to help him, and started parking his TaKorea truck outside Bar Basic on Brannan in SOMA, usually on Friday and Saturday nights beginning at 10.

click to enlarge TaKorea's tacos (from left), bulgogi, chicken, and spicy pork. - TAKOREA
  • TaKorea
  • TaKorea's tacos (from left), bulgogi, chicken, and spicy pork.
Mr. Cho, who grew up in L.A., uses his grandmother's marinade recipes and makes his mom's kimchi. He's a bit of a stickler when it comes to meat. Since, outside of specialty butchers, he can't find kalbi with the right mix of fat, he's taken a pass, focusing instead on sliced rib eye for bulgogi. TaKorea also offers a spicy chicken and a veggie taco (pan-fried kimchi and tofu, drizzled with toasted sesame oil), and Mr. Cho finishes off every taco with sweeter cucumber kimchi.

TaKorea will soon venture off Brannan ― the truck makes its uptown debut August 27 at Off the Grid at Fort Mason Center. By then, Mr. Cho says, he'll be ready to unveil a quesadilla and a burrito. "I've been working on the burrito for about a month," he says, pointing to a simple truth: fulfilling a mission isn't easy.

"It's very daunting," Mr. Cho says.

TaKorea: Parks at Bar Basic, 510 Brannan (at Fourth St.), 227-0449; 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Fri.-Sat. Check Twitter for updates. [Note: This weekend, Aug. 7-8, TaKorea might cancel its Bar Basic appearances. Like we said, consult Twitter.]

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie. Contact me at John.Birdsall@SFWeekly.com

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