Korean Street Food Hits Chicago

There’s no shortage of food trucks in Los Angeles serving up the addicting fare Korean and Mexican fusion.  The kimchi quesadilla and the short rib tacos from the Kogi Truck left a lasting impression on me, and it had to be some of the best eats during my visit.  I headed back home to Chicago wondering when I would return to LA for another run in with the Kogi Truck, or something like it.  Well, it looks like I don’t have to travel that far anymore.

The Korean and Mexican flavors pair together so well, that they shouldn’t be confined to the streets of LA, in fact, Korean Short Rib Tacos should be shared with the rest of the world.  Well, the folks over at Del Seoul Korean Street BBQ are sharing the love with their fellow Chicagoans.  There is one item of note though, it’s not exactly served on the street, and don’t go looking for a food truck, search all you want, it’s not going to be there.  Due to strict food vending laws in Chicago, food trucks are not permitted.  Fail.

While my friend in LA called it downright blasphemous when I told him LA Korean street food had arrived to Chicago’s revered food scene, I couldn’t be happier.  Would my cravings for Korean street food be satisfied, or will I leave with an empty void in my stomach?  It was time to gather the boys and head out to Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood to get our grub on.

I have to admit, the Kalbi Short Rib Tacos from Del Seoul are better than what I had from Kogi in LA.  What a pleasant surprise!  I had expected a less-than-worthy clone of its West Coast brethren, but instead Chicagoans are treated to great eats.   The presentation, quantity, and quality of the food is just better.  One of my friends who just moved from Los Angeles agreed, and I think I saw him wince when he said that.  There’s more meat, more toppings, and most importantly, more flavor.  Almost all of the taco real estate is used up, and that means really messy goodness.  Way to raise the bar Del Seoul.

Aside from the crowd-pleasing short rib favorite, the spicy pork and panko crusted shrimp tacos are worth a try as well.

The kimchi fries seemed like an odd item to order, so I went ahead and ordered it for the group.  Surprisingly, the cheese, pork bits, green onions, and kimchi complemented each other rather well.  I guess this is the Korean answer to American cheese fries.  This was gone in no time at all.

Del Seoul has also jumped on the Banh Mi bandwagon, selling their ‘Korean-ized’ version of the popular Vietnamese sandwich.  I didn’t get a chance to try it out, but my friends who was eating it was giving it much love and his undivided attention… I’m pretty sure he wasn’t aware of his surroundings.  We could’ve shaved off his hair, robbed him,  and he still wouldn’t have noticed.

Chicagoans should feel privileged that Korean street food has arrived into the scene.  It’s the type of cuisine that everyone should end up trying at least once.  Not having to sit down on the curb of a sidewalk and watch my food bits drop all over side walk and sometimes my Pumas  is most welcome.  Recommended.

Del Seoul
2568 N Clark St
(between Deming Pl & Wrightwood Ave)
Chicago, IL 60614
Neighborhood: Lincoln Park

Food – 4 out of 5

Ambiance – 3 out of 5

Service – 3 out of 5

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