Korean food is a popular and delicious restaurant style in every country where it's served. It has turned into a global phenomenon since the start of the 21st century, penetrating pop culture like music, television, film, and recently, food!The influx of Korean Television Shows streaming all over the internet has opened our eyes to Korean culture. As we become aware of the existence of a country on the other side of the world, we become more and more curious about their culture and values. A Korean Concept for a food truck in North America is something new and will indeed spark curiosity. Here are a few ideas of menu items that are a must-have for a Korean-themed food truck!
Tteokbokki (Spicy Rice Cake)
Both Savory and Sweet, Tteokbokki is by far the most famous street food in Korea. It's made of a long, cylinder-shaped glutinous rice cake rolled and cut into one and a half inch logs, sauteed, and then simmered in a mixture of anchovy stock, gochujang (Korean red chili paste). You can add in fish cakes, mandu, vegetables, and hard-boiled eggs.Tteokbokki is commonly eaten as a snack, but it can also be eaten as a side dish in a complete meal.
Odeng (Fish Cake)
Odeng is one for the books! It's tasty, cheap, and effortless to make! A staple Korean street food, Odeng or Fish Cake, is typically made of surimi, wheat flour, carrots, onion, salt, sugar, and other additives. These ingredients are mixed, kneaded, shaped, then boiled, steamed, or fried.Fish cake can be poked into skewers and boiled or cooked in the same way as tteokbokki.
Korean Corn Dogs are a step beyond the traditional corn dogs we have in North America. The filling consists of a combination of hotdogs, mozzarella cheese, and a glutinous rice cake pierced through a stick. It is then dipped in an extremely sticky batter made mainly of potato starch, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking powder that fluffs up when deep-fried. There are other corn dog variations wherein the batter is dipped in crushed ramen noodles or cubes of fried potatoes. Korean Corn dogs are famous for their sweet and savory taste, a common feature in Korean cuisine. Sprinkled with sugar and drizzled with condiments like ketchup, honey mustard, and mayonnaise.
Hotteok (Stuffed Pancake)
Similar to a donut with a sweet filling but isn't quite the same. Hotteok, also known as Stuffed Pancake, is a famous Korean Street Food usually sold in food carts all around South Korea. It's not your traditional pancake batter of flour and beaten-up eggs but rather a glutinous and sticky yeast dough. A filling is added, usually brown sugar or something sweet. The brown sugar turns into a molasses-like consistency once deep-fried and is piping hot! It is then deep-fried to perfection at a high temperature, making it a famous dessert perfect for winter.
Bibimbap, sometimes romanized as bi bim bap or bi bim bop, is a Korean rice dish. The term "bibim" means mixing rice, while the "bap" noun refers to rice. Bibimbap is a bowl of white rice topped with kimchi, carrots, zucchini, spinach, pickled cucumbers, mushrooms, eggs, and Korean marinated beef. All topped with a sweet and spicy gochujang paste that ties all of the flavors together. Bibimbap is meant to be mixed all up into a delicious mess of different flavor profiles all rolled into one dish. There are other varieties to this dish you can explore. You have an option to add pork, chicken, or different types of seafood like shrimp or fish.
Pajeon (Savory Pancake)
This type of pancake is similar to what we have here in the western world. Pajeon is a savory pancake made of flour and egg batter with various vegetables, mostly scallion mixed in and dipped into a sweet soy sauce dip with sesame seeds.
Kimbap (Seafood Seaweed Rolls)
Kimbap or Gimbap is a Korean Sushi Roll packed with different fillings such as scrambled eggs, ham, spam, sausages, crabsticks, carrots, and spinach. It looks similar to sushi but is sweeter. The main difference of kimbap that sets it apart from sushi is the seasoning added to the rice. Japanese sushi primarily uses sake (vinegar), while kimbap uses sesame oil as a seasoning.
Mandu (Korean Dumplings)
Mandu is dumplings in Korean Cuisine. It can come in various shapes and fillings. Variations can also be from the way it is cooked. It can either be steamed, seared, pan-fried, deep-fried, or boiled. Mandu is versatile because you can practically put anything inside as a filling. Although the most commonly used fillers are pork, shrimp, spinach, cabbage, and carrots, you can still explore and be creative with it! It's pretty simple to make once you get the hang of it.
Japchae (Korean Glass Noodles)
The Korean term Japchae literally means mixed vegetables. The main ingredient in this dish is cellophane noodles made out of sweet potato, stir-fried with soy sauce, sesame oil, and different vegetables like carrots, spinach, mushrooms, onions, scallions topped with eggs and beef strips. We love Japchae because you can cook it in large batches, good for a day. As a food truck business owner and operator, especially if you have long queues waiting for their turn! The versatility of Japchae is what we love best about it. Japchae can be eaten alone or topped with warm rice. It can also be served hot or cold, depending on your preference.
Korean Style Burgers
It's similar to the burgers we have in the west, but with a twist. Its fillings include an egg omelet with various thinly sliced vegetables like scallions, carrots, and cabbage. There's also a sweet and tangy slice of Korean Ham, further topped with a potato pancake which looks a lot similar to a traditional ground beef burger. The base is then added with fresh and crisp cabbage and mayonnaise mixture, cucumbers, and ketchup loads. It's a menu item that hits closer to home since it's practically a burger with a different filling.
Are you looking for Cheap Eats? Cupbab is perfect. It's a rice bowl in a cup! A smaller serving of rice, usually Kimchi Fried Rice with various toppings like tuna, sausages, eggs, ham, beef, and pork.
Dakgangjeong (Sweet Korean Fried Chicken)
Dakgangjeong is a take-out staple in Korea! It's fried chicken dipped in a rich and sticky potato starch batter, double fried to perfection! After frying, it's mixed in different sauces with a sticky, syrup-like consistency and then topped with sesame seeds. Taking a bite off this juicy, crispy, and candy-like chicken is heaven on earth!
Sundae (Korean Blood Sausage)
No, it's not ice cream! When translated, this delicacy is Korean blood sausage is generally made by steaming cow or pig's intestines stuffed with various ingredients like pork blood, cellophane noodles, glutinous rice, Barley, and fermented soybean paste kimchi, soybean sprouts, and perilla leaves.
Jjangppong (Korean Spicy Seafood Noodle Soup)
Similar to Japanese Ramen, Jjampong is the Korean counterpart of it. It's a famous Korean Noodle Soup and comfort food loaded with a wide variety of seafood like squids, mussels, and shrimp.It's made of thin noodles in a red hot soup base. It's initially spicy, but you can adjust the spice level depending on your taste. Other toppings you could add are shiitake mushrooms, zucchini, cabbage, Why should you even consider Korean Cuisine as a food truck concept? Korean food leaves an unforgettable taste profile to those who dare try it. It's something that you can eat every day without becoming tired of it. It's healthy because it's packed with many vegetables, and you can buy the ingredients in Asian grocery stores or the farmers' market. Korean Cuisine is a competitive, interesting, and workable food truck concept that will blow your patrons away! It's a promising concept that you should consider exploring because there aren't a lot of Korean food trucks, and this is the time to explore the possibility. You can find a Korean chef to partner with, or if you are a chef yourself, you can do a Korean fusion concept that will appeal to western tastes. It's totally up to you!