We should specify that Korean-Mexican cuisine is big in Korea, but the fact that it’s being driven by Korean-Americans here – restauranteurs like Sid Kim – made us sit up an take notice. From an interview with Kim on NBC news:
Blending Mexican and Korean food seems strange at first — but why do you think they work together?
I grew up mainly on two types of cuisine: authentic Korean food and authentic Mexican food.
When I came home after school, I would look into the fridge to grab a bite to eat, and I’d almost always see some leftover Korean food that my mom had cooked the night before: meats like galbi, bulgogi, spicy pork belly, and seafood such as spicy stir fried octopus and grilled sea bream. Since I was a kid, I would grab a tortilla, throw in those ingredients, and there you have it — Ko-Mex fusion food.
To be honest, I don’t particularly like the world “fusion” to describe the food at Vatos. Fusion to me implies some sort of forced combination. Things like galbi tacos, bulgogi sandwiches, pork belly burgers and kimchi pizzas aren’t fusion foods. To me, they are just food — the food I grew up on.
That Kim spent significant time in California is not a surprise. We’ve seen a blending of Asian and Hispanic cultures in small and big ways here for years. What is the takeaway from this story? We don’t know. But speaking of takeaway, is there a restaurant like this in LA that delivers?