How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

And now, the frozen Korean 'street' taco

Photo by pchow98/Flickr (Creative Commons)


By the time an item titled "Korean BBQ Steak Tacos" appeared on the menu at California Pizza Kitchen last year, the defining edible metaphor for 2010s-era Los Angeles had taken a considerable journey.

Pioneered by L.A.'s Kogi taco trucks, the simple but yummy combo of Korean barbecue on the inside, Mexican corn tortilla on the outside had by then spread throughout the country, with copycat Korean taco vendors plying the streets of Portland and Austin and restaurants serving their own versions from San Francisco to Atlanta.

But the jump-the-shark moment for the beloved multi-culti taco has come courtesy of the frozen-food label Bamboo Lane, purveyors of the frozen Korean beef "street tacos" being sold at Costco. Blogger Gary Soup of Geezericious wrote about the frozen tacos earlier this month. His post was followed by reactions on a variety of sites, from Korean culture sites to the SF Weekly, whose headline the other day was filed under a category called "WTF?"

From Soup's blog:

"No more waiting in lines behind the masses following the taco truck craze," says the copy on the back of the Bamboo Lane Korean Brand Beef Street Tacos box. "Bamboo Lane has delivered the sensation of Korean style beef tacos to your own kitchen. You can now prepare these delectable tacos by wrapping our succulent Korean BBQ beef strips with our hand pressed soft tortillas and adding shredded monterey jack and cheddar cheese. Make it your very own by adding cabbage, lettuce or cilantro or your favorite vegetables. To top it off and give it an additional kick, drizzle the taco with our mouth watering sriracha sauce. These tacos will make you go loco ('crazy') for more!"

In his post he cited a food blog in Hawaii that reviewed the assemble-at-home frozen preparation and gave it a thumbs-up. Still, it's weird.

Frozen Korean street taco, meet your predecessor, the frozen "bistro" panini.

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