500 Tacos: Salsa & Kimchi

 
 
An Austin taco a day for 2015 — and then some
 
Salsa & Kimchi
1620 E. Riverside Drive, Austin (map), 512-200-3082, Facebook page
Hours: 5-9pm Mon; 11am-2pm and 5-9pm Tue-Thu; 11am-2pm and 5-10pm Fri; 5-10pm Sat
 
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 12.24.15
 
At a trailer where full plate lunches of chicken kotsu, bulgogi and beef teriyaki run $9-$12, the taco versions of those lunches are like samplers on tortilla plates for a third of the price, a fringe benefit of fusion when a taste of intrigue is all you need.
 
The taco: Chicken kotsu
Fusion can lead to confusion when two styles fold in elements of a third. Taco meets Korean kimchi meets Japanese-style fried chicken. But here in the Great Melting Pot, we can live with that. Because the breadcrumb armor is as sharply spiked as Cap’n Crunch, leaving the bird beneath it hot and juicy. The sauce is barely there, just enough to suggest sweet-hot counterpoints. A corn tortilla, onions and cilantro bring this taco back to the border. For a more pronounced Korean swerve, add mild, salty kimchi with a good shrimp-shell finish for 50 cents. ($3.25, dressed with onions and cilantro)
 
 
 Ribeye bulgogi taco: Korean cooking long ago figured out that a sweet glaze turns red meat into beef candy. The trailer slices the steak thin and cooks it just until it firms up, with a teriyaki tap on the shoulder at the end. ($3.50, with onions and cilantro)
 Not tacos: Because sometimes you need crunchy little potstickers to remind you that there’s a world without tortillas out there somewhere. These fried pork dumplings come four to an order for $2.50, with a choice of sauces, including a rich concoction of Korean chili sauce and mayo called Dragon sauce.
 Tortillas: Storebought, single corn tortillas softened in oil.
 Salsa: A trailer with “Salsa” in its name could do better than this tomatillo green and a hot, runny red sauce, each of which draws half its sting from salt.
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The 500 Tacos Project
 
 
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)