Innovation That Matters

Taco truck with a Korean twist, fueled by Twitter

Food & Drink

Restaurants on wheels have already come a long way, as upscale pizza, ice-cream and dessert trucks have joined the ranks of the Good Humor man and the hot-dog stand. Now the taco truck—a longstanding institution on the streets of LA—is getting a whole new spin thanks to Twitter and the infusion of some Korean spice. Launched last fall, Kogi Korean BBQ takes the taste of Korean barbecue and melds it with the portability of Mexican tacos and burritos for a whole new category of delectable food. Kogi’s signature Korean short ribs taco, for example, combines marinated short rib trimmings with sesame-chili salsa roja, lettuce and cabbage tossed in Korean chili-soy vinaigrette, and cilantro-green onion-lime relish. Spicy chicken and pork tacos are also available, as is a version with tofu. That all sounds mouth-watering, of course, but at least as compelling is that the company sells its food primarily through two trucks that are always on the go to new locations in the Los Angeles area—to know where to find them, customers must follow Kogi on Twitter (and more than 7,000 already do). Prices are recession-friendly—USD 2 for each taco—which may account at least in part for the fact that it’s not unusual to find hundreds of patrons lined up and socializing each evening while awaiting their turn at the Kogi truck, according to reports. For those who prefer predictability, meanwhile, Kogi also recently opened its first stay-in-place kitchen in the Alibi Room in Culver City. Take two taco trucks with a unique recipe, add a dose of Twitter, and you get a phenomenon the LA Times refers to as nothing short of “a burgeoning cyber-hippie movement affectionately referred to as ‘Kogi kulture’.” Which compels us to repeat our favourite refrain: Everything can be upgraded! There are always new twists, new delivery formats, new ways to create, present, package and get the goods to consumers, and technology increases the possibilities tenfold. Times may be tough, but real innovation is tougher—one to partner with or emulate in tech-savvy, food-loving neighbourhoods near you…? Spotted by: May Almero-Cruz



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