Korean Taco Craze?
Special thanks to the Ask a Korean blog and its author, without which I wouldn’t have written this article. He’s also contributed to changing my idea of what “authentic” food is.
After reading this article in the New York Times, I don’t know how to react. The article is about how the “Korean Taco” is becoming popular in the United States. The trouble is, that in my opinion, the Korean Taco isn’t Korean. It’s American to the core. The title of the article is even “The Tortilla Takes a road Trip to Korea.” Clever, to say the least, but the tortilla isn’t coming anywhere near Korea (at least not because of the Korean Taco.) Korean-American restauranteurs are instead using Korean inspired marination techniques for their taco meat. Korea itself has nothing to do with this story.
The American press has been buzzing about this kind of stuff lately, and I’ve even seen a few cases where the taco truck that they talk about in this article was featured on Korean TV. But, this isn’t Korean food! It’s American food inspired by the Korean-American idea of what Tex-Mex is (Tex-Mex itself often mistaken as Mexican food, when it really isn’t) and the Korean-American idea of what Korean food is.
You can search Google for “kogi truck” if you want more information about the origins of the “Korean Taco”. I haven’t tried, it, and I’m in no way saying that it’s bad, but suggesting that it is Korean food in any way is just silly. It’s 100% an American creation. It also appears that it’s becoming really popular and it has inspired copycats. Some have even attempted creating the “Chinese Taco” or the “Japanese Taco”. And, if they make a delicious creation that people are willing to spend money on, more power to them.