After yapping about it for a solid week, I located my taco truck in Seoul. On Chuseok, Erin and I spent the day wandering around Hongdae, takin in all the fantastic street art.
We had barely begun our expedition and were still on one of the main roads when I suggested we turn down one of the smaller side streets, lined with teeny tiny cafes, almost all of which had kitschy little old bicycles propped out front in an effort to make them homey and inviting (gross). It felt a little bit like a movie set, and I was just starting to say so when IT appeared! A bright orange beacon of deliciousness!
“There it is!! It’s fate!! THERE IT IS!! My truck!! BWAHAHAHA!!”
But it was closed for the holiday. I suspected as much and simply basked in the joy of having found it at all. Plans were made to return on Friday.
-Cut to Friday-
I’m sick as balls. We spent that afternoon looking for a doctor and visiting the doctor. And all I kept thinking about was that taco truck and how I better feel good enough later that evening to climb the hills that stood between me and a fuckin quesadilla. Upon departure, we recruited a few of our friends to join us at the taco truck, me, again, running my mouth about how awesome it’s supposed to be and how it’s like real tacos and how the chef lived in California and how food trucks are the shit.
We arrived to find it up and running, and I did a little dance of joy (no, really). Inside the truck, the chef man. Outside the truck, a few Koreans who didn’t appear to be ordering or eating, just hanging out. Turns out his family was visiting and they were just chillin’ with him while he worked. Awesome thing #582 about taco trucks: Your entourage can can accompany you to work.
A couple of us stepped up to the window and placed an order. He was out of rice (gee, what a bummer) so burritos were not for sale, but tacos and quesadillas were, and he even made a special vegetarian taco for our friend.
I had me a beef quesadilla. And being the cocky person I am when it comes to food, I was all “bring it!” when he asked about the ‘spicy sauce’. Turns out he wasn’t kidding. Habanero, one of the hottest peppers, is an appropriate name for his truck. Within a few bites my mouth was on fire, but I kept it shut while everyone else waited for their food and chatted up chefman.
By the time they were mid-meal, I was finished and riding an amazing endorphin high from the spice. Might have been related to my newly prescribed medication, or even all the dayquil, but still. I was in happyland for a solid 10 minutes. And when my friend couldn’t finish the rest of hers because it was too spicy, I greedily grabbed it from her and ate some more. If spice high is the highest I can get here, so be it.
All in all, the food wasn’t quite as authentic as I had hoped. Cabbage only belongs on fish tacos, and its presence in my quesadilla was a good reminder that we are still in Asia. But the cheese, oh the melty delicious, non-processed-American cheese, was fantastic. The tortilla? Hello, TORTILLA! Haven’t seen a single one of those since I got here. And of course, the habanero sauce. Magnificent, buzz inducing habanero sauce, I will return for you. I promise, I will.
**If you find yourself in Seoul looking for a decent Mexican staple, avoid some of the icky places in Itaewon that provide frozen chimichangas and marinera salsa. Go visit EJ in Hongdae. http://blog. naver.com/tacohabanero. Thank me later.