The $2 Taco Returns, and It's Korean

The $2 taco is back at the Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles. In 2008, the price went up to $2.50 at the three main taco purveyors there, Tacos Tumbras a Tomas, Ana Maria and Roast to Go.

But in December, new owners took over the Teriyaki Kings stall. And they quietly introduced a $2 chicken taco. Furthermore, it's unlike anything their rivals can produce. Those tacos are Mexican. The newcomer is Korean. It's called dakgoki, which means chicken, but say it quickly and it sounds like taco-kee--a pretty smart choice for a name.

This is no bargain taco, trimmed down to fit the lower price. Plenty of chicken, quickly warmed on the grill, goes onto two corn tortillas, with a third provided to wrap any overflow. Then the taco is heaped with shredded lettuce, tomato, onion, finely cut-up jalapeno and a bit of cilantro.

What makes it Korean is a spoonful of cabbage kimchi. And the hot sauce in a little container on the side isn't green or red Mexican salsa but spicy-sweet Asian Sriracha.

Just so there are no hard feelings, the Teriyaki Kings does offer a $2.50 taco. That one is made with Korean barbecued beef, bulgogi. And if you're a big spender, you can throw in another 50 cents and get a $3 galbi (beef rib meat) taco.

The drink dispenser offers the familiar Mexican jamaica, horchata and tamarindo. Or you can opt for a quintessentially Korean accompaniment, kimchi rice soup.

Teriyaki Kings: Stall C 4-5 in the Grand Central Market, 317 S. Broadway, Los Angeles. The market phone is (213) 624-2378. The stall phone is (213) 687-0772.


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