It's hard to believe it's been only been a year since Roy Choi and the Kogi crew opened up Chego, Choi's version of Los Angeles expressed through bowls of rice smattered with the diverse flavors of the city. After doing the food-truck-as-bar-food thing at the Alibi Room, Choi moved into a strip mall in Palms last April, and the rest is 99 Essential Restaurants history.

Chego will celebrate its one-year-young growth spurt tonight at 9 p.m. Festivities will include a birthday rice bowl, a special dessert, and, of course, an eating contest.

Aspiring Kobayashis will compete to eat as much of the specially made Ultimate Chego Bowl as possible. Said ultimate rice bowl will include herbs (easy), egg (no problem), chicken (can do), prime rib (this is getting serious), pork belly (uh oh), and “birthday rice” (this likely will be what does you in). The winning eater will get a $20 gift certificate, and, like every great carnival game payoff, her or his pick of available toys off of Chego's wall o' knickknacks. Oh, and the respect that is, to quote the credit card ad, priceless.

For those who like live-out-stories that are more man versus self and less man versus man, you can have at the Ultimate Chego Bowl for $20 and, if you finish it solo in one sitting tonight, you'll get your Andrew Jackson back and probably your picture on the wall, Facebook and otherwise. For those of us with smaller (read: normal) stomachs, may we recommend a bowl of Buttered Kimchi Chow (just one) and a Sriracha bar for your goodie bag. Happy birthday, Chego. Many more.

LA Weekly