if you follow this blog, you probably read about the vegan dramz that occurred a few weeks ago in regards to the kogi taco truck. the korean/mexican-style bbq is definitely the latest food fad to hit los angeles, and there can be up to two hour waits and a shortage of grub wherever the trucks decide to make an appearance. i queued up for like 45 minutes just to get a tofu taco which i assumed was vegan, only to find out that it almost was….other than “traces of lard” in the corn tortilla…after i’d already eaten it.
i wrote a post about my kogi experience, which kicked up a minor stir…but it didn’t stop the la vegan drinks crew from organizing a meetup at the alibi room in culver city, the new brick and mortar home to the kogi taco truck cuisine. vegan drinks were arranged for saturday, march 28, with the selling point being that the word “vegan” is in fact on the kogi menu at the alibi (they offer a vegan taco wrapped in a leaf), plus the chef promised to create a “vegan special” just to appease our crew. i gotta admit, it was a pretty ballsy move on the part of vegan drinks. afterall, “kogi” means “meat” in korean and this is a place that has been known to have conflicting stories about the contents of their food. on the other hand, kogi is the latest culinary craze sweeping the town…why shouldn’t we vegans get to enjoy it as well? plus the alibi room is a hip bar with tons of vegan beer and a parking lot. having the vegan drinks meetup revolve around this controversial cuisine was obviously a good idea, because like 80 fucking vegans showed up!
the place was jam packed, with vegans and meat-eaters alike…you could tell the alibi must fill to capacity even without a huge vegan party taking over the place. when we left, there was seriously a wait to get in. what is it with la and these bloody fads…once la foodies get wind of one, there really is no stopping them! anyways, on to the food!
we started with the one and only main dish on kogi’s alibi menu that comes vegan as is: the vegan sesame leaf tacos. these tacos aren’t listed on the mobile kogi taco truck menu…but who knows, maybe they could make them for you if you ask. either way, they are always available at the alibi. they tasted pretty similar to the normal tofu tacos wrapped in lard, except these were wrapped in a delicate shiso leaf instead. the insides were a little bit sweeter than the normal tacos, and there was just a hint of hot sauce. they were pretty tasty, i just gotta admit i’m not a huge fan of eating tacos or burritos wrapped in leaves. i would have much preferred these to come in vegan corn tortillas, but oh well.
vegan special of the night and tofu burrito after the jump.Tags: alcohol, bar, beer, burrito, culver city, kogi, korean, mexican, tacos, westside
let’s just set the record straight on what us vegans can eat at the kogi truck…because the information presently available is confusing to say the least. here goes!
if you live in los angeles, i’m sure you’ve heard of the latest food craze to sweep the city…the kogi bbq truck. kogi serves up korean/mexican fusion food on the cheap with a menu full of tacos, burritos, and daily specials. the little truck has gotten so popular in just a few months, that it has been known to draw crowds of hundreds and even run out of food. i have been wanting to try their tofu tacos since forever…so imagine my excitement when i saw on vegguide.org that they were in fact vegan.
i ate the tacos and pretty much raved about them in a review i posted this morning. my party was ruined, however, when a very informed commenter named louise left the following in reply to my post:
Sorry to break it to you, but you just ate a mouthful of pork fat. The tortillas Kogi uses have manteca (lard) in them. That’s one reason why the BF (vegan) never eats their regular tacos. The only vegan one they have is the one wrapped in shiso leaf.
um…so the tofu tacos aren’t even vegetarian? that can’t be right. i messaged the kogi truck (who knew about my blog post) via twitter telling them i found out that there was in fact lard in the tortillas. they immediately replied, “U are mistaken. Im the roja manager steve. Come take a look anytime. We use canola oil” and i was like, “are you sure there’s no lard in them?” and he said, “yes.”
to follow up on the matter, we emailed the chef and told him we’d been hearing conflicting stories about the lard, and that the truck manager was saying the tacos were vegan friendly. it’s then that we got the sad, sad news from the kogi’s very own chef roy:
our tortilla itself contains hints of Manteca although we use canola oil…but we have a vegan taco with sesame leaf as the “tortilla”
alright dude, thanks for being honest. but that’s fucking so nasty that i ate something containing “hints of lard”. almost immediately after i received that email, the kogi twitter account deleted its tweets saying that the tortillas contained no lard, and sent me a direct message via twitter:
aLL the homemade corn tortiLLas are made with a touch of Manteca. The fLour tortiLLas aren’t. Hey! You can order an eggLess burrito! ^__^ (and cheeseless)
so that settles it. what a shame. those delicious fluffy tofu tacos topped with sesame-chili salsa, romaine lettuce and cabbage tossed in korean chilli-soy vinaigrette, and cilantro-green onion-lime relish were wrapped in a tortilla contaminated with piggy fatz. as louise put it in an email to me, “It’s kind of stupid that they don’t make it a point to tell you. I don’t see the point of a tofu taco if it’s wrapped in lard. The tofu taco would have been a great option for vegetarians, but now it’s just, ‘Haha, just kidding guys. No tacos for you.’”
so to take something good from this situation, at least we now know kogi does have some stuff that is vegan-friendly. i will definitely return to check out their lettuce-wrapped tofu taco, as well as their tofu burrito…minus eggs, cheese, and anything else unvegan.
for those of you vegans who aren’t phased and want to give this inventive cuisine a try…but don’t feel like queuing up and want to drink alcohol while you eat your korean/mex, kogi has taken over the kitchen at the alibi room in culver city monday-saturday from 6pm to midnite. their vegan stuff is available there as well, and if you call in advance, they say they can whip you up some extra vegan specialties.
in fact, lex over at vegan-la has talked to the chef and even arranged a “vegan drinks” session with alcohol and loads of kogi food at the alibi on march 28th. for more info on that, check out the vegan drinks site.
the way kogi seasoned their tofu tacos was nothing short of incredible…they truly blend flavors to create a really unique and delicious taste. i’m willing to bury the hatchet and try something that i know is vegan for sure, from the chef’s mouth.
hit up kogi when you can, and get there early to avoid the lines! i know i will be back. just don’t eat any fucking corn tortillas!! YUCK. oh, and don’t believe everything you read on vegguide or on twitter.Tags: food cart, hollywood, korean, melrose, mexican, taco truck, tacos