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I've been hearing good things about the Soo Bak Korean Seoul Food truck for a while now, but haven't been able to get to where they are when they're there. I finally found them today at the UNM South Campus (just north of Cesar Chavez on a campus road called Bradbury SE) and was happy I went.
The food is good. Great smokey flavor in the grilled meats but not so much charring that you can't taste the spices and the meat itself, a nice amount sprouts and other veggies, and a really lovely Napa cabbage kimchi, maybe the very best I've had since leaving New York. Nothing was over salty or too soy-rrific, as can be the case at less good Korean places. It's simple, confident, homey cooking being done by someone who seems to have a natural understanding of how to use spices and herbs.
The menu is small, about 3 or 4 dishes, and those dishes change from time to time. Today they were offering Korean tacos, a fried rice burrito, a classic bibimbop, and something else I can't remember. Everything is around $8 and they can sub sauteed mushrooms for meat to make almost any dish vegetarian.
The only downside was the wait. We got there at 11:50 AM and only got our food at 12:15 PM. Because there was so little space in the truck and they appear to be cooking each dish to order in small pans, maybe even one dish at a time rather than one check at a time, if you go with a group of people, one of you will get your food -- there will be a wait -- another one will get his -- there will be a wait -- and so on. So a small group's order can take upwards of twenty minutes to accumulate not counting the time it takes them to reach your check in the queue. I kept thinking there must be a way to improve this system, but maybe there just isn't. I think the wait would be less noticeable when they're parked at their usual nighttime spots at Tractor Brewery and some other bars. As good as the food was dead sober in the middle of the day, I imagine it would be even better late at night with a slight buzz (like almost everything else, I suppose).
Except for the ubiquitous Vietnamese restaurants, Budai, and one or two other Chinese/Taiwanese places, we're pretty weak on Asian food here, so Soo Bak is a great addition to the city's dining options. The best way to find out where they are on any given day is to check their Facebook page. If you need to know where they'll be at a future date, leaving a message on that page seems to get a pretty quick response.
Picture: Soo Bak's Bibimbop.
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