Spreading Korean fusion cuisines one sausage at a time

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What started out just as a passion project, lead to a dream that three best friends could not have imagined achieving. Ted Kim, Yong Kim, and Chris Oh started Seoul Sausage Company solely with their love for sausages and Korean food and when they developed their own delicious, Korean fusion of sausages, they wanted to share it with everyone. After becoming winners on Food Network셲 Season 3 of 쏷he Great Food Truck Race, everything fell into place as they had their very own store, food truck, and even got their own grilling mobile. KHerald met with brothers Ted and Yong Kim on Wednesday, Sept. 17 to talk about their experiences of when they first started out to what they are doing now.

KH: Can you tell us how you first started?
Ted Kim: It started out as a passion project where we were making sausages on the weekends and nights. The original food truck was Yong셲 jeep. After being in various events, we started getting a lot of reviews on Yelp and had a perfect 5-star rating, which lead to us opening our own store. While we were in the process of building our own store, we got the opportunity to be on the show 쏷he Great Food Truck Race on Food Network.

KH: What made you try out for the show?
Yong Kim: We wanted a food truck so we figured it was worth a shot. We made a video, submitted it, and we didn셳 really think that we would actually get in, but they were like, 쏻e love you. Pack your bags. You leave for 7 weeks.
TK: We were supposed to actually send a cooking video of making our favorite dish, but we just went to Toe Bang and drank, ate some boo dae jji gae (mixed meat and vegetable stew), and talked about how we love Korean food. On the last episode that aired, that셲 when we also opened up our doors to our store and the food truck.
YK: The timing was just perfect. It셲 funny, because everyone has their own story of how they think we opened. Some say we opened the store first, some say we started a food truck first. Here셲 the real truth it happened all at the same time!

KH: What did you learn from the experience of being on the 쏥reat Food Truck Race?
YK: For a food truck, there셲 no script, no formula. You got to have goals and to get there, there셲 no specific route you have to take. It셲 taught me that anything can happen and we had to do whatever we can to make it happen.

KH: Is there a secret method to creating Korean food that attracts the general public?
TK: I don셳 think so. For us, I think we did a really good job of creating a menu that셲 just simple. Our menu items are just simple; there셲 nothing confusing about it. We have hot dogs, deep fried rice balls, poutine, and fried chicken and they셱e all just infused with Korean flavors in it. We wanted our menu to be easy to understand so that once people bite into the food, they won셳 be afraid to try it.
YK: We셶e had children bite into the Flaming Ball, which is a kimchi fried rice ball. They have no idea that it셲 kimchi, but they absolutely love it. It셲 just like eating Korean food too. You have the main dish (sausages) and a side dish (rice balls), which is what our customers usually get.

KH: How is it like working with each other as brothers and best friends? Do you guys get into any conflicts?
TK: I think if you work with anyone closely, you셱e bound to have issues. The good thing with the three of us is we bring three different ideas to the table and everyone has their own roles so unless something bad happens, we don셳 get on each other셲 cases. Chris is in charge of all the cooking and creativity, Yong셲 in charge of the marketing and handling the food trucks, and I셫 in charge of operations. Although we each have our own role, we always help each other out as well. I think our relationships are healthy because even when we argue or fight, we all know that it셲 for the better cause for Seoul Sausage. We셱e three very different people and I think we do a good job of hearing each other out and molding all our ideas into one common goal.

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KH: You셪l be participating at the Los Angeles Korean Festival and the Orange County Arirang Festival. Is this your first time participating at a Korean festival event?
YK: We셶e had past experiences where we worked with Korean events such as when Ted worked with with KAC (Korean American Coalition) for the Korean BBQ cook-off.
TK: We knew our sausages were special when our parents tried it and they loved it. We just knew that if our parents loved it, that our sausages will become a hit in the Korean communities as well. This is our first year at the LA Korean Festival and Arirang Festival.
YK: I think we will bring a modern touch for the new wave cuisine because as much as we love the traditional ddukbboki (spicy rice cakes) at these types of events, there셲 going to be a new shape of food. I think part of the reason why we were able to be successful is we get the essence of American and Korean flavors and we put it together and it works.

KH: What would you like to say to the Korean communities?
TK: What we셱e really trying to do is not just own a restaurant, but to be the forefront of Korean food to the general public. We just want people to continue to support us like they have been doing. We셱e really thrilled that Korean food is so popular amongst the mainstream culture and we want to take that even further.
YK: I just want people to know that we make our food with love just like how moms and grandmas make their food with love from scratch. We have that same philosophy where we make everything from scratch and we try to provide the best quality we can of our products.
TK: It셲 like with Korean people and they have guests, you just bring out everything out of your fridge and serve it to the guests. We have that same mentality where we want to gladly serve to our customers and give them the best of what we have.

Seoul Sausage Company will be hitting their second year anniversary on October 6th and will be having a big party at the restaurant to celebrate with their friends and fans. They셪l be having their food truck there with a DJ and also a special guest. Be a part of the big celebration, especially if you haven셳 already tried their delicious sausages!

Yuna Hwang
K-Herald

Box:
Seoul Sausage Company
11313 Mississippi Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 477-7739