Kimchi Tacos Come to Colombia

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Kimchi tacos
I LOVE kimchi tacos!!!

One of the best foods ever created comes from a food truck.

In Los Angeles, two enterprising chefs decided four years ago to blend the foods of two prominent cultures in their sprawling city: Koreans and Mexicans.

Thus the kimchi taco was born.

They opted to sell the culinary creation out of a food cart, which became a food truck, which became a trend that has caught on in other major metropolitan areas, especially in New York and Washington DC.

These food trucks do their announcing and advertising through Twitter and usually nothing more, and they are the reason tweets became a part of my life: I wanted to know where to find TaKorean, the DC food truck that made and sold kimchi tacos.

I thought I had seen the last of kimchi tacos when I moved from DC to Medellín. I was wrong.

I found out when I went to Carmen one night, because the wait at Chef Burger Bar was 30 minutes and my stomach was growling so I couldn’t wait that long.

I decided to go to Carmen, instead of one of the many other Parque Lleras-area restaurants, because a traveler I met in Bogotá raved about it and Dave wrote such a great review about it.

Carmen
The grenobloise, the entrée I ordered after I ate kimchi tacos because, well, I was there, so I had to try one of the main courses.

The fine dining establishment with the low lighting and diverse dishes offers kimchi tacos as an appetizer, what they call tacos coreanos, or Korean tacos. I didn’t care that it was 32,000 pesos ($18) for three — exactly twice the cost for three from TaKorean — I had to have them.

The steak was topped with the perfect combination of kimchi and bulgogi sauce.

For those of you unfamiliar with kimchi, it’s a spicy, fermented cabbage that is popular in Korea and Hawaii, my home, the place I first came to love kimchi. Bulgogi sauce is another Korean staple, a marinade made from soy sauce, brown sugar and ginger, among other ingredients.

Since I was there, I figured I might as well try an entrée too and I went with the grenobloise, the fish of the day topped with a lemon caper cream sauce that looks like soap bubbles and accompanied by spinach and potato gratin.

My friend Laz had the bavette vera cruz, a special of the day that included steak, mashed potatoes and, from what I remember, some vegetables although I don’t remember which ones. The steak came with a brown sauce that Laz could not identify.

I loved my entrée, and Laz his, and I wouldn’t mind eating the grenobloise again or trying Laz’s dish sometime, but I’ll always love Carmen for offering a fusion of foods that collided in a food truck, thanks to two cultures and two entrepreneurs that call Los Angeles home.

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