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29 Catt. 1: In re Korean BBQ Taco Box

2014 March 5
by CATTLEYA, J.

Opinion of JUSTICE CATTLEYA, in chambers.

The bottom line up front: Korean BBQ Taco Box (“KBBQTB”) is a food truck for people who look for variety and big portions, but not necessarily authenticity, in a meal.

Korean BBQ Taco Box

Korean BBQ Taco Box

KBBQTB’s fusion menu features box lunches made of five different components. The first is the meat: Korean fried chicken, bulgogi, spicy pork, or chicken teriyaki. All four meats may be ordered over white rice. The last three may also be served in a flour tortilla taco. The second component of the box is a salad with ginger dressing. Third is a spicy chicken wing. Fourth is a fried cheese roll. A varying Korean-influenced bite, such as another roll or a dumpling, completes the box. Boxes range between $8 and $10.

I opted for a rice box with Korean fried chicken. In addition to the salad, chicken wing, and fried cheese roll that come with all boxes, the final Korean-influenced side in the box on the day of my visit was a kimchi dumpling.

As it is well settled by this reviewing court that rice-based platters are not street food (i.e., food that can be cooked in front of you and is meant to be eaten with your hands, without forks, while standing up), KBBQTB’s box must prove the quality of its offerings without the aid of any presumption that it should be upheld as street-service-worthy. See In re Eat Wonky, 2 Catt. 5 (2011) (defining street food); In re Big Cheese, 6 Catt. 2 (2012) (discussing burden of proof); see, e.g., In re NY Famous Kabob, 7 Catt. 3 (2012) (denying street food status to a platter of meat over rice); In re Mediterranean Delights, 20 Catt. 2 (2013) (same). The merits of the separate components of KBBQTB’s box are addressed below.

Rice Box with Korean Fried Chicken

Rice Box with Korean Fried Chicken

Korean Fried Chicken and Rice. A fillet of chicken battered and fried, then cut into easy-to-eat strips. While KBBQTB’s version was crispy (surprisingly so, given that it was trapped in a Styrofoam container while I walked back to the court), don’t expect Bonchon’s extra-crunchy Korean double fried chicken. The meat was not dry; neither was it juicy. But no matter, as the chicken strips were covered with generous drizzles of spicy mayo and sweet teriyaki sauces. The paired white rice was fluffy and sticky, just the way I have always liked it. The meal’s greatest indulgence was mixing the excess mayo and teriyaki sauces into the rice. Given my confession of my favorite meal as a child—white rice smothered with another condiment (ketchup)—this should not be surprising.

Salad with Ginger Dressing. A basic salad of iceberg lettuce. The dressing was not shy on the ginger, and the overall effect was wonderfully fresh and biting. However, the consistency of the dressing was too thick. While salad dressing should be thick enough to stick to the greens, it should still be liquid enough to toss with the greens.

Spicy Chicken Wing. Fried chicken wing (or drumstick) tossed in KBBQTB’s spicy sauce. Well-executed. The skin was crispy, and the chicken was moist. The sauce coating the wing was a nice balance of sweet and spicy. Boxes are supposed to come with one wing, but somehow I got two. Normally I frown upon such inconsistency, but in this case, lucky me.

Fried Cheese Roll. KBBQTB boxes come with two pieces of a fried cheese roll that is topped with a spicy mayo sauce. Unfortunately, I couldn’t tell that cheese was an ingredient in this dish. To me, this just tasted like fried batter covered in a sweet, creamy mayo.

Kimchi Dumpling. A fried, rectangular-shaped packet filled with kimchi. A nice little bite, but the ratio of dumpling skin to kimchi should have weighed in favor of more kimchi. Because, really, the answer to everything is more kimchi.

The bottom line, repeated: A lot of food. Several different items to please a palate that gets bored from one dish. While not terribly authentic or creative, KBBQTB’s Korean fried chicken rice box sticks close to a tried-and-true strategy: the more fried food, and the more mayo, the better. While your arteries might complain, are you really going to?

AFFIRMED. It is so ordered. 

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