La Salida del Seoul

Asian fusion seems to be the darling of the food truck realm across the country, particularly with Mexican cuisine, which makes sense. There are latitudinal parallels in the climates of certain Asian countries and Mexico, resulting in similar flavors and spices, like those of Thailand lying almost directly east of the Yucatan peninsula, complimenting each other at restaurants like Teala’s here in Houston. Korea is situated just a touch north of Mexico, but I defy you to find anything better to put on a taco than bulgogi with a dash of Sriracha.

The Coreanos truck hails from Austin and had burritos on the menu when it came to Korexican fusion, though they do have taco, hot dog, and quesadilla offerings at other times. They were on hand Sunday at the Petrol Station, serving up spicy fare while the kitchen is being expanded. Lots of trucks use the word “spicy”, but when you’re combining tastes like Korean and Mexican, you know the results are going to fall on the hot end of the spectrum. Petrol became the perfect venue, then, not only for the cold refreshing beer, but because the craft haven is currently defending its title as Stone Brewing’s “Most Bitter Bar in America” – and hoppy IPA’s go great with spicy food.

Loco Pollo, Three Wise Fries, Stone IPA

The burritos are large and the specialty fries are piled high with toppings, so splitting one of each made a perfect late Sunday lunch. When it comes to protein, all of the dishes utilize beef short rib, pork belly, spicy chicken, or a combination of the above. I aimed to try a couple of these options, so I went with the Loco Pollo burrito with spicy chicken and the Three Wise Fries featuring the short rib, though it had some of the spicy chicken as well. Actually, the burrito came stuffed with French fries too, so are the fry orders almost a deconstructed burrito? Whatever you call it, I call it delicious. The hefty burrito was full of the spicy marinated chicken, fries adding an interesting starch component, with plenty of grilled onions, tomatoes, and jalapeños, all coated in a blistering El Scorcho sauce that was almost our undoing when slathered on the side of Three Wise Fries, which came offering our inner mangers gifts of chicken, pork belly, and short rib. The grilled onion and sprinkling of cilantro were a nice touch, but were overwhelmed by the extremely spicy sauce. I liked it though; summer is here, we just have to embrace it. The sweat started trickling down my brow, and each breeze that whipped around the Petrol patio brought cooling relief. The shredded chicken was just as good as on the burrito, the marinated bits of short rib brought the tangy Korean flavors, and the fatty pork belly added an indulgent richness.

Austin gets a lot of national attention, and while mostly deserved, Houston has been clawing its way into the spotlight with its burgeoning craft beer, fine cuisine, and international variety. I welcome this Austin import however, even though it’s ironic that I first tried the Coreanos truck at the Petrol Station, which sells a t-shirt proclaiming “Keep Austin 170 Miles Away.” Catch up with the Coreanos and other mobile eateries as long as the bar is undergoing renovation, particularly this week, when you better be sure to order one of Stone’s hoppy brews. I took the liberty of photoshopping a Stone logo onto my temporary plastic cup in the photo – might I recommend the Cali-Beligique? If they can get their hands on it, that is. You have until the 17th.

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