Curious, I came closer and saw...
Whoa! Korean/Middle Eastern fusion. Pitas and lavash wraps stuffed with Korean barbecue. Genius!
So I ordered a shik hae (Korean rice drink) for $1.50 and a bulgogi lavash wrap with sesame/ginger/soy sauce for $8. I was sad that the shik hae came in a small can, but it was so hot that day I gulped it all down while waiting for my wrap.
The lavash wrap was soft and fluffy and generously stuffed with Korean marinated beef, chopped field greens, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
The sesame/ginger/soy sauce seasonings blended with the usual Korean barbecue flavors. What I liked most was that the lavash wrap nicely complemented the fillings. Why had I never thought of this before?
So I went back again.
Jap chae (Korean stir-fried glass noodles) for $3. The mushroom flavor was a little too strong, but the noodles were fresh and warm.
This time, I got a barbecue chicken pita with balsamic/olive oil flavor for $6.50. The pita was very thick and fluffy, unlike any I've ever had before. It was a perfect cushion for the thick chunks of seasoned chicken, again served with chopped field greens, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
While the balsamic glaze nicely matched the chicken, it didn't taste Korean to me. I felt like the barbecued beef lavash wrap was better representative of this Korean/Middle Eastern fusion.
Curious, I asked the lady at the booth where the idea came about? Was the market ripe for fusion cuisine because of the Kogi BBQ fusion food truck craze?
"Oh, have you tried Kogi?" she asked. "Is it good?"
I said I had. That I remembered liking it, but since it took me two tries and more than four hours (Ack!) to eventually get two tacos, it wasn't something I was willing to go back for.
So nope, just a happy coincidence. Her partner owns a Korean grocery store in the San Fernando Valley and had recently taken a trip to Israel where she was drawn to the food. It seemed natural to add Korean barbecue meats to the pita wraps she had enjoyed.
It's a homey type of atmosphere. Where their kids help out by taking orders, sometimes needing just a little nudging to figure out how to add up prices.
The booth opened about a month ago. I hope it stays awhile.
February 8, 2010 update: I haven't seen the Korean BBQ Corner stall for several months now so I don't think it's part of the Alhambra Farmers' Market anymore. :(
Korean BBQ Corner
Located on Monterey Street. The following is general information for the Farmers' Market - Alhambra.
Farmers' Market - Alhambra
On Monterey, between Bay and Main Streets
Alhambra, CA 91801
Sundays 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
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