What: Pictured – Korean Bulgogi, Kimchi, Pickled Radish, Soy Egg, Sweet Asian Salad, topped with Yum Yum Sauce
Where: Track them Down
Rating (1-5): 🌿🌿🌿🌿
It’s been a while since I’ve been able to sit down and write a proper review. So, after having several lunches at this food truck, I thought I would talk about Seoul Bowl.
Seoul Bowl’s intent is to be Korean BBQ on wheels. This food truck offers an array of Korean classics made portable with a protein, variety of sides, sauces, and it all sits on a bed of rice. I’ve had a few different custom bowls, so let’s talk about what’s good and what’s okay. (Because, truly, nothing has been bad here.)
Bulgogi traditionally can be thin strips of marinated beef or pork that is then grilled. In the case of Seoul Bowl, it is beef, and it is delicious. If you love Korean BBQ at all, you’ll enjoy the bulgogi. If you’re like me, it’s your preferred protein. This beef is tendered, seasoned in that balance of sweet and spice that Korean cuisine always gets right, and is easily manageable to eat out of a bowl. If I could make my bowl half of just the bulgogi, I would. It’s that good.
The soy egg is probably one of their most popular sides, or rather, it’s the side everyone insists you get when you get the bowl for the first time. With good reason. If you love eggs, you’ll love the soy egg. It’s hard-boiled and marinated in soy sauce to give it a light brown color. Seoul Bowl’s soy egg adds an eggy, full-flavored edge to your protein. I get it nearly every time.
This will depend on how you feel about radish, I suppose, but this chilled and pickled side is a cool reprieve from a mouthful of beef and egg. Much like when going to a Korean BBQ establishment, the pickled radish is a colder side to help balance out everything else that might be warm and heavy on your plate. I actually recommend most people look into the pickled radish as an alternative. If you aren’t a fan of kimchi seasoning, the other cold sides may not jive as well with you. The pickled radish takes on a sort of melon-like quality in the bowl.
Growing up, I actually did not like kimchi. I think the taste of it was just too strong for my baby taste buds. Now that I’m an adult, and I’ve had kimchi in a setting with additional complimentary Korean dishes, I get it. It’s potent, yes, but that spice has something I just keep wanting to come back to each time. Kimchi with bulgogi is a perfect flavor combination because they work together instead of as contrasts to a meal. If you’re ever unsure of kimchi, try tasting a bit of it with your bulgogi and rice. You might be surprised. That said, the kimchi that Seoul Bowl provides can sometimes come in large pieces. As I make my way through the bowl, I often wrap my kimchi pieces around large bites of everything else. Seoul Bowl just encourages taking large, delicious bites of everything.
If you’re worried you won’t like kimchi, you can try the same style on cucumber! I really love Seoul Bowl’s kimchi cucumber. The cucumber is so fresh and chilled, so the layer of kimchi seasoning really brings it together. Again, paired with the bulgogi this is perfect. (Can you tell I wasn’t kidding about loving the bulgogi?) I like to balance my bowl with 1-2 cold sides with the rest of the warm bowl. It might sound like a strange balance for one meshed meal, but trust me when I say this is a mouth-watering combination. The cucumber is especially nice when it’s peak summer!
Sweet Asian Salad
There isn’t much to say about this, but I still usually get it whenever I can for texture. It’s your typical cabbage-based salad. Chopped and shoved into a corner of your bowl. It’s good, but it won’t blow your mind. Then again, I don’t know that that’s the point with something so full of flavor elsewhere. It’s traditional!
This one is a good addition – especially in the summer time, for me – but I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s to die for. Why? Because it’s just corn. At Seoul Bowl, you can tell them to pile your bowl high with everything, if you want. And you’ll enjoy the corn if it’s thrown into the mix. But don’t expect more than corn if you’re looking for something with a little wow factor.
The onion also is your standard caramelized onions, but I will speak more in favor of it than I might the previous two options. Caramelized onions are a favorite of mine, because the texture and sweetness that onions can bring to a dish. Onions are so subversive when it comes to culinary expectation. (I mean, we’re not early humans, so this isn’t a groundbreaking observation, but…) Onions can go from a sharp, and in some cases bitter, taste to a suddenly sweet and soothing flavor with just a bit of love. If there’s an option for caramelized onions, you can bet I’m there!
Alright everyone, I know this sounds enticing, but I have to admit… As much as I love cheese, this one just doesn’t quite work for me. Here’s the thing: It’s still cheese. It’s delicious. But calling it a “fall” doesn’t work in the same way my brain wants to interpret it. I believe the cheese is mozzarella, and it’s a solidified sheet of cheese that covers your bowl. I know, I know. This still sound great, right? Again, it’s tasty. It’s cheese. But for a bowl that encourages your food to commingle, this solidified cheese doesn’t really work. It’s not something that can be easily eaten out of the bowl, nor will it break apart easily with chopsticks to then be incorporated into each bite. It’s also extra, and since it’s difficult to eat in the capacity that Seoul Bowl advertises its portability, I just don’t recommend the cheese fall for a full bowl experience.
With that said, I do hear that Seoul Bowl caters, so perhaps their catering is more accommodating?
Korean BBQ Chicken
The chicken is good in that way that most teriyaki places have decent chicken. However, I call it “decent” because the chicken is fatty and not quite the tender meat you’d hope for in a bite. I understand that with a lot of places, not just teriyaki or Seoul Bowl, using the fattier pieces of chicken are preferred. Likely because of cost, but I also hear a lot of customer prefer it. I am not one of those people. Will I eat it? Yes. Would I call it good? Not really. I don’t like chewy chicken. I like juicy, tender pieces that fall apart in your mouth. Seoul Bowl didn’t have that when I tried their truck the first few times. Once, I did overhear them trying out a different cut of meat, but I’m not sure if that’s stuck around.
Seoul Bowl is delicious, and any meal that lets you customize how you want it is an easy choice for me for lunch. If you get a chance to go, let me know!