It’s a weekday night at Chego, a rice bowl joint situated next to a convenience store in a postage-stamp-sized mini-mall in West L.A. Customers line up at the register to order dishes like buttered kimchi chow, a bowl of rice topped with fiery Korean pickled cabbage, a fried egg, and red chili tofu, strewn with a colorful garnish of Mexican fried pork rind, and Japanese dried seaweed. Many customers supplement their orders with a house favorite — a glorious mess of French fries smothered in sambal-spiked sour cream, melted cheeses, chilis, cilantro, and pickled garlic. The amped-up flavors — salty, sticky, sweet, spicy, and addictive — assault the senses like stoner food from a Harold and Kumar fantasy.
These loud-mouthed dishes are the inventions of Korean American chef Roy Choi, 42, who grew up in L.A. thinking he was Latino and who in 2008 ignited the food truck revolution. […]
Choi is part of a tsunami of rule-breaking Asian American chefs who have created a new genre of cooking in America: a robust and astonishingly creative blend that draws on Asian, Latin, and Southern foods.
Read more. [Image: Nancy Matsumoto]