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L.A. County

Line up at Kogi BBQ, Korean-Mexican queen of L.A. food truck culture

 (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)
(Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)

Why: The food, a spicy marriage of Korean and Mexican cuisine, tastes great. And the backstory is the stuff that contemporary California is made of: Young buddies hatch a scheme, rig up a truck, start tweeting and build an empire by fusing Korean, Mexican and web cultures. Now co-founder Roy Choi is one of the city's most famous chefs.

What: Born in 2008, the Kogi empire now includes three trucks (code names Roja, Verde and Naranja, which roam the coast, the valleys and Orange County); three taco stands; and three Chego! restaurants. The blackjack quesadilla is a potent introduction to the Kogi way: flour tortilla, pork bellies, Korean chili paste, cheddar cheese, Jalapenos and a host of supporting ingredients.

As Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold writes in his latest list of 101 favorite L.A. restaurants, Kogi "is cheap, unbelievably delicious and unmistakably from Los Angeles, food that makes you feel plugged into the rhythms of the city just by eating it." Accordingly, in October when L.A.'s Eric Garcetti made the traditional mayoral World Series wager with his Houston counterpart, he offered up Kogi BBQ and Golden Road brew if the Astros should win.

Where: The trucks keep moving. A Twitter feed, @kogibbq, keeps 152,000 followers in the loop.

How much: $8 for a Blackjack quesadilla, $2.50 for a spicy pork taco.

Info: Kogi BBQ

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