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Searching for Seoul Sausage

Sausage with a soul.
Sausage with a soul.

A with most entertainment, things are not always as they appear. Reality TV isn’t always reality, “based on a true story” is typically nothing like the truth and Guy Fieri doesn’t actually drive that red convertible to every diner, drive-in and dive. Likewise, food almost always looks better in ads and on TV than in real life. Nonetheless, after watching Seoul Sausage on the last season of The Great Food Truck Race and subsequently learning that the winning crew had put up a bick-and-mortar shop, I knew I had to get some of their sausages in my mouth.

Play that funky music, sausage boy.
Play that funky music, sausage boy.

Taking up shop in Little Little Tokyo, Seoul Sausage is one of the non-Japanese restaurants transforming the Japanese section of town into a greater sphere of Asia that welcomes the Korean, Chinese and even Vietnamese.

They are also helping to make the area “cool.” And I mean that in a trendy way, because I felt the place was cool when I was introduced to it shortly after I moved to LA more than five years ago simply because they had kick-ass Japanes curry. But now, the coolness is undeniable when you walk into a sausage joint to find a DJ in his own little top-floor booth pumping out tunes.

Great balls of flameyness.
Great balls of flameyness.

Anyway, you probably care more about the food than a commentary of the evolution of Little Little Tokyo and you are in luck. I began my order with their Galbi Sausage. This sausage was homemade with galbi beef and topped with garlic jalapeno aioli and kimchi relish. Having no desire for pickled cabbage, I ordered without and then proceeded to order a Flaming Ball. This was filled with cheesy kimchi rice and spicy pork before being deep-fried and served with DMZ Sauce (garlic, jalapeno, kimchi and sriracha aioli). In this case, I was willing to risk the pickled cabbage because everyone on the show had raved about the balls.

Nothing but a half-eaten sausage and ball.

For both items, it turned out that I made the right choice. The sausage was quite tasty, although it probably could have used a better sausage-bun ratio. The Flaming Ball was even better and miraculously had no taste of kimchi. In fact, it seemed the only thing the ball had retained from the kimchi was its spice level, which was perfect. I also had a chance to try out their Lil’ Osaka Ball (filled with curry rice, beef and potato) and it was equally tasty.

It was nice to see that Seoul Sausage had retained the mentality of a food truck, keeping their menu small and simple. In the short term I think this will serve them well, but I wouldn’t mind seeing them expand a bit into new and exciting terrain. As much as I enjoyed their food, I didn’t necessarily feel a pull to go back unless I found myself in the area in need of a quick, reliable bite. With a few additional items, I think Seoul Sausage could truly secure their place in Little Little Tokyo long after memories of The Great Food Truck Race have faded.