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3 Catt. 1: In re Seoul Food

2011 November 1
by CATTLEYA, J.

Opinion of JUSTICE CATTLEYA, in chambers.

Seoul Food (“SF”), run by a husband-and-wife duo, dishes up Korean and Japanese fusion cuisine. With a menu of items like caramelized kimchi rolls and kalbi burritos, I approached this truck hesitantly. As this Cart has seen in the past, fusion can be a disaster. See In re TaKorean, 1 Catt. 4 (2011). But positive reviews elsewhere convinced me to give fusion another chance, and so I found myself in front of SF’s brightly-painted truck one afternoon.

Seoul Food

SF’s owners were about to leave as I approached the truck, but they were very kind and stayed to make me a Korean Superbowl first. The $8 superbowl consisted of “sticky rice, bulgogi marinaded [sic] steak, . . . jalapeño & Serrano relish, caramelized kimchi, scallion, queso fresco, cheddar, [and] Korean salsa roja.” (Note to non-red meat eaters: You can select chicken instead of bulgogi.)

Korean Superbowl

All of the individual ingredients in the superbowl were of the highest quality. When mixed together, however, too many ingredients got lost. Here’s how everything broke down:

Bulgogi. The superbowl was topped with a fair number of thick bulgogi strips. When I bit into the meat, I could feel from its tender texture that it had been cooked perfectly. This skilled preparation, however, was a bit wasted because I couldn’t taste the bulgogi. The heat of other ingredients (see below) overpowered the bulgogi’s flavoring.

Sticky rice. The rice was just the way I like it: sticky and chewy. Cf. In re AZNeats, 2 Catt. 3 (2011). At first, I thought that there was too much rice and too little of everything else—but that was before I realized that I would need the rice to neutralize the heat of other ingredients (see below).

Kimchi, Serrano relish, Korean salsa roja, jalapeños. SF’s kimchi tasted like it came from a Korean family’s kitchen. This was real kimchi, fermented and all. Cf. TaKorean, 1 Catt. 4.  Combined together, the kimchi, Serrano relish, Korean salsa roja, and jalapeños were fiery hot. I’m talking about watery-eyes-and-runny-nose kind of heat.

Cheddar, scallion. The sprinkling of shredded cheddar and chopped scallion contributed very little to the superbowl. In fact, the only thing these ingredients added was color. I could not taste them—not even a little—over the heat of other ingredients (see above).

All I got from SF’s Korean Superbowl was a whole lot of heat. Even if you like spicy food, I suggest approaching this dish armed with a box of tissues and without any water nearby. For me, SF’s superbowl went the way of many Korean fusion creations that came before it: confusion. See TaKorean, 1 Catt. 4.

(I want to note that, despite the confusion of fusion, it was evident SF used top-quality ingredients and prepared them well. For this reason, I will return again, but when I do, I’ll stick to the more traditional bibimbap on the menu.)

I remand to Seoul Food for revision. It is so ordered.

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