Chris Oh and Yong and Ted Kim are the three gregarious food dudes that won Season 3 of The Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race” with their now nationally recognized Koreanized sausages. These are also three guys who have inspired their viewers, their supporters, and their customers time and time again (and not just by serving them one of a kind sausage). Their innovativeness stems from an honest passion for creating what people genuinely want to eat. These guys aren’t afraid of putting their opinions in food, taking chances, and ultimately, being themselves. Mainly it is the boys’ “fear not” motto, along with “Make Sausage Not War,” that has gotten them where they are today (order your shirt here). They have become a national influence and inspiration for the Korean food movement.
An instant viewer favorite on the show, their sausage truck ploughed through cities, serving up some serious flavors and championing the reality show. The guys are masters at taking the food that we know and incorporating the bold (and unfamiliar to many) flavors of Korea. Chef Chris Oh was inspired by the success of the Korean Kogi truck’s taco interpretation. Interested in sneaking Korean heritage into something else familiar, Oh eventually decided on sausages – without ever having made any before. Oh went to Bed Bath & Beyond and bought himself a vanity mirror. Just kidding. He went in for the sausage maker, and the rest is a journey of trial-and-error history that took place inside a tiny studio apartment kitchen in Los Angeles.
Once Oh had his ‘come to Jesus’ moment with the sausages, he collaborated with now co-owners/co-creators and friends, Ted and Yong Kim. They started catering out of Oh’s tiny kitchen and used Yong’s car as a “food truck” to transport their creations to street fairs and events. The overwhelmingly strong response to their food eventually made the three decide to open a brick and mortar to give their fusions a real home. For their location they decided on “Little Osaka,” a Japanese restaurant-dominated area in West Los Angeles. Since putting down roots, the area has been recognized nationally as a culinary destination, partly because of their influence. The boys are super proud of the area and feel “lucky to be part of the ecosystem.”
Chef Oh lovingly modifies American favorites with Korean flair. Inspired by his mom’s kalbi (traditional Korean beef BBQ), Oh opens the door to Korean umami by serving the flavors in a less intimidating vehicle: the recognizable hot dog form. It was during their excursion across the states, particularly in Flagstaff, when they frantically conceived their flaming fried balls. The balls are a battered and deep-fried mixture of kimchi fried rice, cheese, spicy pork and panko, and are served with a Sriracha mayo. What’s not to like? Bring on the education.
The guys take to the idea of their menu being a gateway food into an unfamiliar culture that the boys cherish and are obviously inherently a part of, just “like what the California Roll did for sushi.” Their toolbox of foreign flavors finds their home in what American diners know as familiar; what’s more reassuring than meat on a bun and some condiments? These condiments are tampered with and infused with Korean flavor, of course (think kimchi relish). Seoul Sausage serves up both beef and pork, and all of their locally sourced meat is organic and grass fed. The boys offer specials two times a week, usually on Mondays and Wednesdays. Past specials have been dangerous delectables like Korean Fried Chicken and Kalbi (short rib) poutine, both of which sell out every day.
What is the outside inspiration that keeps them tubing and frying, and encourages them to basically keep on living the American Dream? Their fans (especially the ones that dress up as them for Halloween) and their hangovers. Favorite hangover helpers? Pho, milkshakes and Taco Bell. After winning the show and the promised food truck that came along with it, ScionxB presented them with a tricked out “Pimp My Ride” meets Batman-style Scion xB. At the push of a button, the matte black ride lays out a fully operative kitchen, complete with a deep fryer, flat top grill and two TVs. Catch the boys at their storefront, stop for lunch at their truck, or catch them in action grilling with the Scion. The Seoul Sausage storefront is expanding, locking in a place that’s four times the size of their current storefront. Look out for more delicious brainchildren and industry role model status updates.
Check out the website for updates, catering info, and for overall kickassery.
Also, you can watch Season 4 of the Great Food Truck Race Sundays at 9pm/8C on Food Network.