It’s pretty amazing how many new food trucks and carts have been sprouting up all over Austin. Thanks to Austin Food Carts I’ve been able to keep track of the newest kids on the block. More than anything I enjoy seeing what new niche food style will be on the city menu, like made-to-order ice cream sandwiches, customized funnel cakes, or specialty mega-doughnuts. However, this is actually about the exact opposite, where a new food truck is offering a nearly identical experience to a well-established favorite, or so I thought.
Despite the striking similarities in cuisine and menu between Coreanos and Chi”lantro BBQ, I decided to give it a go. Coreanos has been on the scene about two months serving up Korean-Mexican, with a subtle twist: California (more on that later). I walked up and chatted with front man Kevin about how I heard about the stand while deciding what I wanted to eat after a great 16 mile run earlier in the day. After a good deal of hemming and hawing I finally landed on the Loco Pollo burrito.
Just like Chi’Lantro (when I didn’t read the full description and was surprised by the fried egg), I didn’t read
everything described on the menu for this particular burrito. I waited outside the truck with Hazel while Kevin and his team went to work. I could hear the action and got the sense it wasn’t a normal (Korean) burrito being assembled. A few minutes later he popped out of the window presenting the foil-wrapped torpedo.
As I unwrapped my dinner I couldn’t help but notice the narrower, longer shape compared to the more common short and fat dimensions seen in those national chains. It would turn out that this longer shape served a purpose beyond aesthetics. My first bite was eye-opening as it exposed the California factor: French fries. Yes, wrapped into the Korean-flavored Mexican burrito were French fries, presumably in place of rice. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the fries integrated into everything else. The longer shape provided the space to line up the fries without overlapping too much. A bit off-putting, however, was the excessive use of El Scorcho sauce. It was spicy and creamy, but there was simply too much compared to the rest of the filling. In all, my burrito could claim to be Korean, Mexican, French, Californian, and Texan, which doesn’t exactly scream tasty, but it all worked.
p>I am pleased that my experience at Coreanos was completely different from other food trucks, despite my initial impressions going in. Looking back I wish I had gone with the beef burrito over the chicken. I was happy with the chicken, but the Korean-style short ribs is what would have made the experience more unique (and a better comparison to the Chi’Lantro beef burrito). I’ll definitely visit them again, though I have a feeling I’ll stay away from the bacon-wrapped hot dogs. Check ’em out if you cross paths and you won’t
be disappointed, though I do think there are some better options out there.
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