The first KTOWN Night Market opened on Friday, April 18, 2014 for a 2 day stint at Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools in Los Angeles’ Koreatown. The first day attendance was astounding! Koreatown was abuzz with crowds headed to the same place to experience this inaugural event. The big draw for me was a star-studded line up of Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race winners and participants. The event layout was pretty good with the Food Truck Alley on the right as you enter the grounds, community outreach in the center, and to the left were carnival games for the kids, stage, and Food Town where you could find all kinds of street food from Asian cuisines that you might not see every day. There was plenty of dining space so you didn’t have to stand and eat if you didn’t want to.
Our first stop was The White Rabbit. The first time I saw The White Rabbit was on the television show, Travel Channel’s Man v. Food “Street Eats” episosde featuring the White Rabbit Burrito weighing in at 6 pounds and 2 feet in length. Owners Michael Dimaguila, Chef James Du, and Melvin Chua noticed a lack of Filipino cuisine represented in the booming food truck industry. On July 10, 2010, The White Rabbit food truck was born along with the White Rabbit Café in Canoga Park, CA on November 28, 2010. The Pork Sisig Burrito is fried pork belly, chopped and pan fried with onions and jalapenos combined with garlic rice, egg, and cheese wrapped in a flour tortilla. This burrito is definitely an anytime burrito (breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner). I loved the texture of the shredded pork with its crispy goodness. The garlic rice has just the right flavor, not too overbearing or bland. The egg gave it a nice touch by adding more richness to the pork flavor. The size was just right too, not too big and not too small, about the size of a Monster energy drink can. The only thing I would add is a little bit of green onion to refresh the palate, but other than that, it’s perfect! Thumbs up, way up! To find the truck, visit the café, or learn more about The White Rabbit, visit their website.
Our second stop was Bowled and Beautiful food truck. The first time I saw these gals was on The Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race Season 4. Liza Barnes and Jessica Butorovich are two single mothers that love to cook and want to share their passion for fresh, flavorful, delicious, and nutritious food served in a Beautiful Bowl. They didn’t win the race, but went on to fulfill their dream and opened up Bowled and Beautiful in November 2013. They were inspired by the salad bowl concept to make a complete meal – porta-bowl and afforda-bowl. The Chimichurri Grass-Fed Cheese Steak Bowl sounded interesting. The bowl starts with fresh organic salad greens, choice of cilantro lime white or brown rice, homemade black beans, grass-fed grilled steak smother in chimichurri sauce, melted jack cheese, homemade crème fraiche, corn salsa, and topped with crunchy tortilla chips. The bowl was buzzing with different flavors and textures. The chimichurri sauce was particularly flavorful. The steak was a little overdone for my liking. Thumbs up! To find where you can find them, Like them on Facebook or Follow them on Twitter.
Our third stop is one of our favorite trucks, Grill’em All! I’m all about metal with Megadeth being my favorite music band and Metallica being my husband’s. Grill’em All is a foodie headquarters for all headbangers. In January 2013, Grill’em All opened their brick and mortar in Alhambra, CA featuring an expanded menu, burger of the month, six beers on tap, and of course, metal music blasting on the stereo. One of our all-time favorite burgers is Samoa Joe. It’s a half pound of juicy ground beef cooked to a perfect medium rare with caramelized onions, cheddar cheese, and crushed pineapple. The flavors work well together with a perfect balancing act of sweet and savory. The toasted bun holds everything together. Thumbs up, way up! For more information about Grill’em All or to inquire about catering, visit their website.
After our fill on the savory portion of our food truck expedition, we walked through the crowded Food Town booths to check out what was going on. As we peered into booths through the wall of people either walking through the aisle or standing in line for a booth, we saw a young man making takoyaki. It looked so good, but we were still full from lunch. Definitely a must-do for next time! My mom and I love ika (squid) and had to stop at Gaja's Okonomiyaki booth to try some fried squid legs. They were slightly crispy and not too chewy. The flavor was exquisite just wished it was a little more on the crispy side. Ono nonetheless! There was an off putting odor wafting in the air. We didn’t know if it was fresh fertilizer on the grounds or barnyard animals. I found out one of the vendors was serving stinky tofu. Now I know why Andrew Zimmern couldn’t eat this foul smelling delicacy. I love odd foods, but I don’t think I could get this smell near my mouth.
After making a round and checking out the stage area, it was time for dessert. Fluff Ice is the brain child of owners Nicholas Huang and Annie Tran. It’s a hybrid dessert: shaved ice 2.0. I was introduced to Fluff Ice during a pop-up at Fat Choy in Las Vegas, NV. We tried the Halo Halo and have been in love with this concept ever since. With so many cool flavors and combinations, we couldn’t choose. Sa Wat Dee is Thai Tea Fluff topped with egg pudding, lychee jelly, and condensed milk. I’m not a big on tea but I loved the combined flavor with the egg pudding, lychee, and condensed milk. Thumbs up! My mom couldn’t resist her strawberry urge and ordered up the Strawberry Fluff with mochi and fresh cut strawberries. It was so refreshing and the mochi added a nice chewy texture to the dessert. Thumbs up, way up! To learn more about their locations in Costa Mesa and Monterey Park, CA, please visit their website.
And finally, one of my favorite ice cream spots in Los Angeles is Coolhaus. Coolhaus has gone nationwide with their phenomenal gourmet ice creams with distribution at Whole Foods, Sprouts, Lassens, Bristol Farms, and Gelson’s. They have also partnered up with Umami Burger so grab some dessert after having a burger. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, you still can stop by their stores or find the truck traveling around too. I couldn’t decide on flavors so I got a double scoop of Fried Chicken & Waffles and Red Velvet. The Fried Chicken & Waffles sounds pretty weird, but it was tastier than heck. Coolhaus’ base ice cream is so creamy and just tastes homemade. The fried chicken is caramelized and almost like eating candied bacon – sweet with a little bit of salty. You can tell you are eating chicken by the texture but there is no weird chicken flavor. I just had fun eating it! Thumbs up, way up! The Red Velvet is fantastic! Bits of red velvet cake and cream cheese frosting are blended through the ice cream with each bite containing the flavors you love about red velvet cake. Thumbs up, way up! Coolhaus just came out with a cookbook so be on the lookout for it! To find locations or learn more about Coolhaus, please visit their website.
With an astounding 80,000 attendees to this first KTOWN Night Market, I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next time!
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KTOWN Night Market