The Los Angeles area is home to the second-largest Mexican community in the world, second only to Mexico City. It is also home to the largest Korean community outside Korea. As Angelenos, most of us have spent a fair amount of time in Mexican restaurants. We eat a lot of Korean food too. At Roy Choi’s Kogi trucks, and at the imitators of the Kogi trucks, we eat a lot of Korean-Mexican food too – kimchi quesadillas and hot dogs with sesame mayo, but mostly the tacos stuffed with things like galbi or gochujang-sluiced chicken and condiments that neatly split the difference between panchan and salsa bar.
It tastes like Mexico! It tastes like Korea! It tastes like Los Angeles!
But Mexico is playing South Korea in a World Cup match Saturday at 8 a.m. — not even that early, all things being equal. And you may be torn: Cheer on El Tri at the Plaza Mexico in Lynwood, or pull for the Korean side at Wilshire Park Place? Pound mezcal at Guelaguetza, the splendid Oaxacan restaurant actually in Koreatown, or have soju for breakfast at Biergarten a few blocks north?
I’m thinking of going the Kogi-style route: Stock up on pre-marinated pork belly and short ribs tonight at a local Korean supermarket (we like the HK chain) or butcher shop (perhaps Choice Meat Market). Find the pickle aisle and get a few things — cabbage kimchi, steamed shishitos, pickled ggaenip, turnip — knock yourself out. Get some of the Korean hot sauce gochujang and maybe sesame oil if you don’t already have it. Pick up a few dozen of the best tortillas you know.
And set up your own Korean taco bar at the break of dawn, grilling the meats on the Weber in the patio (although we won’t tell if you just broil them until they crisp a little, or even sear them in a pan). OB and Modelo Especial are equally acceptable. Maybe chill a couple of both.