Food trucks may seem ubiquitous these days, but only a few years ago they were a roadside curiosity, and one to be approached with caution at that, for hungry passersby. Chef Roy Choi was one of the first to attract critical—and viral—attention for serving seriously delicious street food when he opened Kogi BBQ, a Korean taco truck phenomenon, in 2008. Los Angeles had never tasted a creation that so deliciously blended Korean-spiced beef with the traditional Mexican taco flavors and fixings.
So, when Jon Favreau decided to make a movie about a disgraced star chef who decides to rediscover his inspiration by opening a food truck, he called on the master for insider advice. And oh, are we grateful that he did. There is nothing more sinful in Chef than the scenes of Favreau and his fellow cooks whipping up multi-cheese grilled cheese, intricately spiced, sautéed, and sauced multi-course meals, and the most perfectly marinated and buttered cubanos imaginable.
In honor of the movie’s premiere, The Daily Beast asked Choi to share his favorite food trucks in L.A. Heads up: He really loves tacos.
Chef: Raul Ortega
THAT shrimp taco. THAT man. THAT family. THAT neighborhood. L.A. shit right there.
Ricky’s Fish Tacos
Chef: Ricky Piña
A man who has OCD about the heat and clarity of his oil must make some damn good fish tacos, right? Nope. They’re the best that’s ever been made. Damn good is the wrong term.
South Philly Experience
There’s been one truck that started in the early days right after Kogi that I respect to this day for their hard work and consistency. They are like the postman at the truck lot, day in day out. And they serve a mean sandwich.
If you’ve had their salsa roja, then you know what I’m talking about. Highland Park knows tacos and just being in this neighborhood makes me happy. Plus I love how the truck sits on a raised concrete platform and it’s like ordering when you were a kid: the window is like a foot above your head!
I love the ladies that work this truck. I know people try to hate because it’s hipster central, but that ain’t the fault of the ladies. They always give me a warm smile when I roll through.
This lunch truck is on Eagle Rock Blvd. on a stretch that borders Glassell Park in front of a Rite-Aid next to a bunch of Pinoy businesses. It’s not a famous truck, but it feeds a lot of mechanics and workers in the area and the dudes are real cool. Great quesadillas with salsa verde, too.
Tacos Arizas is an Echo Park institution. That neon sign is as recognizable as the Hollywood sign to some. They serve buche, which is stomach lining. Need any more convincing?
Tacos al pastor. People kinda hated me for what I said on Top Chef about al pastor, but there was a lot of editing done to twist my words and create drama. I was just saying, I’m very particular about al pastor because, when you’re from L.A., it’s something you grow up with and take seriously. Case in point.
This is the truck I’ve been eating off of even pre-Kogi. I still roll through from time to time. They are part of the DNA of Koreatown.