Category Archives: Food Truck

Koja Kitchen

 In between juggling schoolwork and having a blast in my final semester in college, I decided to take a break from my food blogging activities. Blogging may have been on a hiatus but the food explorations did not! A mere five minute walk from my apartment can take me to restaurant-flanked Telegraph Ave. In the last semester, many Berkeley students were excited about the opening of Koja Kitchen on this street.

Koja Kitchen which was initially a food truck that would often make appearances at the weekly Off the Grid. It was actually one of the few food trucks that I genuinely enjoyed and thought was decent worth for money. So you can imagine my friends and my joy when we found out that we no longer have to track the truck’s schedule and location for a bite of their juicy koja sandwiches.

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The first time I had the koja sandwich, I fell in love with the novelty of Korean fusion food and the rice buns (and enjoyed it more than ramen burgers). Most friends prefer the pork koja sandwich but my personal favourite is the chicken koja which was juicy, slightly spicy and sweet all in one.

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Unfortunately one koja sandwich will probably not fill you up so the kamikaze fries are a popular accompaniment to the sandwiches. They are basically french fries topped with beef bulgogi and sauce. I think they are alright but some people seem to love these fries.

I was quite surprised that I didn’t make more visits to Koja Kitchen throughout the semester. Perhaps the fact that it was no longer a commodity of limited availability didn’t make it seem all that hot to me anymore. However, I would recommend anyone in Berkeley who hasn’t had this before to  give it a shot!

Meating in Austin

Honestly, I am usually not a super huge fan of food like hot dogs, burgers and barbecued meat. However, there was no way I would pass up the opportunity to try these while I was in Texas. With so many people in the South loving their meat, I just had to find out what was so special about their burgers and what nots over here. Can their food convert a not-so-avid meat eater to a a meat-hungry carnivore?

Bratwurst @ The Best Wurst, Sixth Street 

Bratwurst This bratwurst came from a food truck on Sixth Street, a street lined with bars and clubs. The sausage and the sauerkraut were good but the best part was their curry ketchup. Call me a noob but this was my first time having curry ketchup and I absolutely loved it!

Beef Brisket Sandwich @ Salt Lick, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

Beef Brisket Sandwich

 Perhaps I should have lined up for two hours at Franklin’s for what is supposedly the best barbecue or ate at Rudy’s which is a local favorite but I did not. My laziness to go out of my way for good meat has ended up with me stuffing myself with whatever barbecue meat I could find at the airport, half an hour before leaving Austin for good. For airport and barbecue food, Salt Lick is actually pretty good bang for your buck. I have had meat-loving friends who really enjoyed this sandwich but the meat was not quite impressive enough to make a not-so-avid meat lover go crazy.

Everyone, and by that I mean every single Austinite that I have had the chance to talk to about food, raves about Hopdoddy’s. This gourmet burger bar is well known not just for their burgers but their milkshakes too. Thinking a burger alone was sinful enough, I decided to skip the milkshake. Lots of people rave about their Primetime Burger, which had way more meat than I imagined.

Primetime Burger @ Hopdoddy’s Burger Bar, Anderson St

Primetime Burger

Primetime Burger

 Honestly think that was hyped up way too much but hey, I’m not a meat person.

Food Finds in Austin

I love the food truck scene in Austin and luckily enough there was a block not too far from where I was living where food trucks parked every single day. One of the food trucks that I was most eager to try was Julie’s Handmade Noodles. Julie is well known for her beef noodle soup but I was craving some zha jiang mian which I hadn’t had in a while.

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Pretty solid bowl of noodles! Noodles are freshly made and Julie doesn’t allow customers to have her noodles to go because they supposedly only taste good when totally fresh. The only downside to this was that it was pretty salty, but what do you expect from noodles mixed with salty soy bean paste. I would probably frequent this food truck often if I was a student at UT Austin.

Another place that I managed to try my final week in Austin was East Side King @ Hole in the Wall, started by a Top Chef winner Paul Qui. Over here, I had his Thai Chicken Kara-age and boy was it good. Love the juiciness and the herbs that came with it. Some of the other popular items in the menu were the fried beetroots and brussels sprout salad, and there were some interesting ones like beer bacon ramen. However, I only visited this establishment once and wasn’t about to order any more food after that delicious but sinful fried chicken.

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I never go out of my way for doughnuts but after hearing people rave about Gourdough, I thought I’d check this place out. Th wait took about fifteen minutes and while I was standing in line, I stared with both awe and shock at 1) how beautiful the doughnuts were, and 2) how large they were. Each doughnut was probably the size of my extended palm. Anyway, I got the Miss Shortcake which is this baby down here, stolen from Gourdough’s website:

Gourdough's Miss Shortcake

One popular food truck in Austin is Chilantro which features Mexican-Korean fusion food. One day, they were parked outside my office building and I decided to have their bulgogi taco for lunch. What I liked about this was the spicy oil in the taco. However, they could have improved the way the meat was prepared, as it was not as tender and moist as I expected for something so hyped up. The taco was also one of the messiest tacos I had to work with as it was impossible to keep the oil from spilling.

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Other food trucks I tried worth mentioning are Torchy’s Tacos and Little Fattys. At Little Fattys, I had one of their amazing gorditas with great meat and great sauce. I love how I get to try things that I have never had or heard of in NorCal. Torchy’s were also great last tacos to have before leaving Austin. I absolutely love the tacos in Austin and I was right in thinking that I was going to miss Texas tacos so much.

Food trucks aside, I was fortunate enough to be able to enjoy some fine dining at Jasper’s, a restaurant by some  Iron Chef contestant. I had seared ahi tuna steak for my entree and it swept me off my feet. The texture was just perfect — not too cooked and not too raw. Hands down the best ahi tuna I have had, not that I have had that much ahi tuna in my life.

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