A lot can happen in two years. I first encountered Seoul Sausage Co. in 2010 at the LA Street Food Fest when they were pressing to hand out quarter-cuts of sausage with sliced bread on the Rose Bowl field. By the time Ted Kim, Yong Kim and chef Chris Oh opened their doors on a Little Osaka side street, they’d built much more momentum (and confidence). The trio dialed in their sausages, diversified their repertoire and stormed to victory on The Great Food Truck Race. Seoul Sausage is part of a new breed of Sawtelle Boulevard restaurant that combines grub with buzz that is no longer limited to Japanese cuisine.
My initial visit to the newest spot on Little Osaka’s hottest block was for a pre-opening event sponsored by Scion. A tricked out car touted a booming sound system and built-in grill. Of course, it’s easier to draw a crowd with free food, but the momentum carried over to our second visit, which was full business.
The party vibe also carried over. Both times, Seoul Sausage peddlers bumped dance music from their upstairs DJ deck, and people were willing to wait in lines that extended to the sidewalk. The upbeat vibe includes a Make Sausage Not War motto on a wall mural and T-shirts.
Kalbi Sausage captured the flavors of a classic Korean beef BBQ preparation inside a casing. The soft bun also cradles kimchi relish and garlic jalapeno aioli, which adds some good pop. Some of my friends complain that the sausage is too grainy, and the links could probably use a little more snap, but the flavor works well for me.
Lil Osaka Ball ($3) is a Korean twist on arancini featuring spicy pork sausage, molten cheese and punchy kimchi. We previously enjoyed their Flaming Fried Balls, and this time, opted for the version with shoga Sriracha mayo, seasoned with ginger and furikake flakes.
Da KFC ($8) is a fun play on Korean fried chicken featuring boneless thigh meat, coated in semolina and panko, fried in canola until crispy, and tossed with scallions, julienne carrots, daikon cubes, and sweet, tangy chile sauce, a la OB Bear. The chunks of chicken could be bigger, so the meat stays juicier. One innovation that isn’t available in K-Town is their sweet square of cornbread slathered with creamy sriracha honey butter.
Upcoming specials include galbi poutine, pork belly with duk boki and Army stew, a subsistence dish that was necessary after the Korean War. Their Great Food Truck Race prize – a food truck – also hits L.A. streets featuring different options, including hamburgers, which propelled them to victory. Seoul Sausage Co. is clearly on an upward trajectory, so get in on the ground floor while you can, win the hottest building along Sawtelle.