Korean tacos are a Korean-Mexican fusion dish popular in a number of urban areas in the United States and Canada. Korean tacos originated in Los Angeles,[1] often as street food, consisting of Korean-style fillings, such as bulgogi and kimchi, placed on top of small traditional Mexican corn tortillas. Korean burritos are a similarly themed dish, using larger flour tortillas as a wrap.


Although nearly any savory dish can, has, and will be used as filling for a taco, burrito, or wrap, and other restaurants have occasionally served dishes they called Korean tacos,[2] the popularity of the dish is generally traced to the use of Twitter by the proprietors of the Kogi Korean BBQ, a food truck in Los Angeles, California, to announce their schedule and itinerary.[3][4][5] The idea of making Korean tacos came to owner Mark Manguera after an unsuccessful search of Los Angeles' Koreatown for carne asada tacos.[4] In its first year of operation, Kogi generated an estimated $2 million of revenue.[6]

Korean taco trucks later appeared in Portland, Oregon (the "KOI Fusion" truck), Austin, Texas (the Chi'Lantro BBQ truck)[1], and Seattle, Washington ("Marination Mobile", whose spicy pork Korean taco earned them Good Morning America's Best Food Truck in America).[7] In San Francisco the dish was popularized in 2009 by Namu Restaurant's Happy Belly food cart in Golden Gate Park, later moving to a farmers market food stand at the San Francisco Ferry Building.[8] The dish's popularity led mainstream fast food chain Baja Fresh to test market Korean tacos as a menu item in California, with plans to introduce the dish to hundreds of locations nationwide.[9][10]

By 2010, restaurants and food trucks serving Korean tacos had appeared across the country including Austin, Chicago, St. Louis, and the East Coast of the United States.[11]

In April 2010, Food & Wine magazine named Roy Choi, the chef of the original Kogi's, one of its annual "Best New Chefs".[12] It was the first time a food truck chef had been nominated for the award.[13]

See also


  1. ^ Jane & Michael Stern (2009-11-15). "In Search of American Food". 
  2. ^ A restaurant in Santa Monica, California called "2424 Pico", for example, began using the name as early as 1996 for Korean fillings inside of a lettuce wrap. S. Irene Virbila (1996-09-01). "New Kids on the Block". Los Angeles Times. 
  3. ^ John Birdsall (2009-11-23). "Indian Taco Truck Curry Up Now Headed for San Francisco". SF Weekly. 
  4. ^ a b Andrew Romano (2009-02-28). "Now 4 Restaurant 2.0: Thanks to Twitter and the Web, L.A. is obsessed with the Korean tacos of America's first viral eatery." Newsweek. 
  5. ^ David Farley (February 4, 2015). "The taco that's taking the US by storm". BBC. 
  6. ^ Joel Stein (2010-03-29). "Gourmet On the Go: Good Food Goes Trucking". Time Magazine. 
  7. ^ Matthew Amster-Burton (2009-05-28). "Korean Tacos Come in off the Street". Gourmet Magazine. 
  8. ^ John Birdsall (2009-07-23). "Namu's Asian Street Foods a Big Draw at Ferry Plaza's Thursday Market". SF Weekly. 
  9. ^ "Baja Fresh moves to start making Koji BBQ-style tacos". Brand X. 2009-07-20. 
  10. ^ Katy McLaughlin (2009-07-17). "Kogi Wars: Korean Taco Business Gets Ugly". Wall Street Journal. 
  11. ^ Edge, John T. (2010-07-27). "Korean-Style Tacos Move From West to East". The New York Times. 
  12. ^ Edwin Goei (2010-04-08). "Kogi's Roy Choi: One of Food and Wine Mag's Best New Chefs". Orange County Weekly. 
  13. ^ Betty Hallock (2010-04-06). "Food & Wine announces 'best new chefs'; Kogi's Roy Choi (big surprise) gets award". Los Angeles Times.