Ahn-Joo Truck.

I’ve returned to sunnier Hawaii from sunny California. I could have sworn months had gone by since my last entry, but after settling in I realized it had only been about a week. A very long and eventful week at that, I might add. My trip to California was my first trip in about two years and although it was relaxing and well-deserved, I must say it feels good to be home (minus the 3 hour jetlag that keeps waking me up at 6 in the morning). Can you blame me though? I live in Hawaii.



I’m half-joking. It’s not even about the fact that I live in Hawaii, it’s just the fact that I’m home and within my comfort zone. You know how it goes, don’t you? The long plane rides, the heavy suitcase, the uncomfortable jetlag, the exhausting driving, the general unfamiliarity of a place you have not been to in a while, or ever. Nonetheless, as anyone may have already assumed, food was undeniably an integral part of our daily agenda and it was also incontestably a major highlight of our week-long trip.

One of our first meals was supposed to be at food network’s acclaimed Café Des Artistes, however, we were most disappointed to discover upon arrival that they are only open for dinner. We clearly did not do our research properly. Luckily, as we sulked and moaned in our defeat, we found the Ahn-Joo truck right across the street!

Apparently food on-the-go has become extremely popular and pervasive within California. Hence, the currently never ceasing presence of many food trucks that have joined the trendy fleet. People are clearly compelled to track these trucks down over facebook and twitter in order to determine the next time and location since according to the concept, these trucks are always on-the-go. Initially, my friends and I had intentions of tracking down one truck only. That was the infamous Kogi Truck, but there were no complaints here as we did not have to mapquest our next destination.

“Ahn-joo” is a Korean term meaning “pupus” or refers to the foods you eat while drinking – bar foods or what have you. While different cultures have different ideas of what constitutes good food to accompany alcohol, Koreans definitely know what they like and are certainly sure of what tastes good when doing their favorite pass time, drinking -needless to say.

Chef Debbie Lee joined this truck food fleet with foods from her Southern-inspired Korean “sool-jeep” or bar and has made its big debut at the L.A. film festival. It definitely left an impression on us as customers. Although I’m not completely sure that I would find the location of this truck and track it down if it was out of the way, I do know that if it was ever around and in town, I’d already be on my way there. The service was terrific despite the unconventional set-up of this food joint. Everyone was extremely cheerful and hospitable, only enhancing our dining experience.

I think it’s because we’re Korean and accustomed to most of the food served by the truck that we weren’t totally blown away by the presentation of the food nor the menu. The taste and flavors involved were excellent, but I wouldn’t hunt down a truck to eat snack dishes such as kimbap (Korean sushi roll) or bibim kooksoo (spicy mixed noodles). Although, I would definitely go back to eat the Korean Nachos and try the enticing list of skewers on the menu. The Korean Nachos, which was like nacho ddukbokki (if that is even remotely fathomable) was an experience of its own. The dish was the most innovative approach to Korean-Mexican fusion and we were all definitely eager to devour it. The Kimchee Citrus-glazed Pork with Roasted Fuji Apples was also a refreshing twist to what is normally considered “ahn-joo.” I know that the next time I’m in Los Angeles, I definitely want to check out the restaurant/”sool-jeep” that started this Ahn-Joo truck craze. I wish there was something like that to spice up life on the island as well!

10 comments

  1. Monica

    eegi <3
    I was about to say . . .I didn't know there was a little Korean food truck driving around in Hawaii! I always wanted to go to Cali! Lea just moved back there so I REALLY want to go now. I've been craving Korean food these days and I even made plans to go to Korean town here this weekend. I'll take pictures for you so you can be the judge of if it's authentic or not (although, I can't give you a taste test :P). miss you dearly!

  2. Monica

    eegi <3
    I was about to say . . .I didn't know there was a little Korean food truck driving around in Hawaii! I always wanted to go to Cali! Lea just moved back there so I REALLY want to go now. I've been craving Korean food these days and I even made plans to go to Korean town here this weekend. I'll take pictures for you so you can be the judge of if it's authentic or not (although, I can't give you a taste test :P). miss you dearly!

  3. Hannah

    I have to say, I’m terribly jealous- Of the top five places I want to live, California and Hawaii are high up there on the list! The Asian influence in much of the food seems so well suited to my tastes… The fact that a food truck like this exists is just so cool!

  4. Hannah

    I have to say, I’m terribly jealous- Of the top five places I want to live, California and Hawaii are high up there on the list! The Asian influence in much of the food seems so well suited to my tastes… The fact that a food truck like this exists is just so cool!

  5. Haein

    Monica – let me know the foods you try! i’m excited to eat vicariously through your photos 🙂

    Hannah – California and Hawaii are definitely heavily influenced by Asian cultures and there are so many food trucks in Los Angeles, it’s unbelievable. The three that we’ve tried are all predominantly Korean-Mexican fusion, but who knew cheese with Korean foods tasted that good? You should definitely come visit.

  6. Haein

    Monica – let me know the foods you try! i’m excited to eat vicariously through your photos 🙂

    Hannah – California and Hawaii are definitely heavily influenced by Asian cultures and there are so many food trucks in Los Angeles, it’s unbelievable. The three that we’ve tried are all predominantly Korean-Mexican fusion, but who knew cheese with Korean foods tasted that good? You should definitely come visit.

  7. Ginny

    it was super delish! 😀
    haha you really did the research for the truck. im impressed!
    im telling you,, one day we should drive around like guy fieri and check out all the restaurants and diners all over the country!!! pleaseeeeee?

  8. Ginny

    it was super delish! 😀
    haha you really did the research for the truck. im impressed!
    im telling you,, one day we should drive around like guy fieri and check out all the restaurants and diners all over the country!!! pleaseeeeee?

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