by Brianna Scott
Houston is one of the largest cities in the United States. With a population of over four million people it comes as no surprise that our city is comprised of different races ranging from Indian and Korean to Vietnamese. Houston is the epitome of what it means to be a “melting pot,” and our food scene is the perfect reflection of the different cultures here. When you have a city as diverse as Houston you are going to get food that is not traditional. Fusion food trucks and restaurants are popping up all over the city. Trucks like Coreanos and Oh My GoGi combine Mexican and Korean flavors, while a truck like Fusion Taco offers a combination of South American and Pan-Asian ingredients, and Casian Kings mixes Cajun and Asian cuisines.
On a recent trip to Discovery Green, located within Downtown Houston, I had the delightful experience of trying both Coreanos and Casian Kings. Food trucks were lined up and down Lamar Street, but these two trucks stood out to me the most because of how different the food was that they were offering. I was instantly curious to know how Mexican and Korean food would taste together, as well as how Cajun and Asian ingredients paired together. Coreanos offers items such as Kimcheese fries, Korean BBQ burritos, and Kimchi quesadillas. I chose the Kimcheese fries which were crispy fries topped with your choice of meat, caramelized kimchi, onions, cilantro, a blend of shredded cheese, and El Scorcho sauce. The fries were amazing. I had my fries topped with chicken, and although the fries seemed busy due to all the toppings, they came out really good. The chicken had a bit of a sweet taste to it, but it made a perfect contrast against the spicy Sriracha sauce and El Scorcho sauce.
Casian Kings is a bit different as their fusion is focused on Cajun and Asian food. I feel like there is such a stark contrast between Cajun and Asian food, so I was rather curious to see how they combined their ingredients. Casian Kings offers items such as kimchi fries (they top theirs with egg), plus bulgogi beef tacos, and a Korean BBQ beef po’boy. I went with the buffalo shrimp po’boy, which was basically fried shrimp coated in buffalo sauce between toasted French bread. It was a bit out of my comfort zone because I don’t enjoy seafood that much, but I love buffalo sauce, and I’d never had it on shrimp before. The sauce on the shrimp worked surprisingly well, and it gave the fried shrimp a nice kick. I would have liked for the sandwich to have a bit more of the dressings on it, like lettuce or tomatoes, but it was fine nonetheless.
Both trucks are really combining their ingredients in dynamic ways, and they are the perfect representation of Houston’s uniqueness. They are pushing their limits by being more experimental with the ingredients they choose to use and combine. Casian kings has managed to create their own niche with their po’boys because beef is not a meat that you traditionally see on a po’boy, and when shrimp is involved it’s typically just fried with Cajun seasonings, as opposed to being fried and then tossed in buffalo sauce. Coreanos on the other hand is serving traditional Mexican dishes but they’re using Korean seasonings.
It doesn’t just stop with these trucks though. Trucks like Muiishi Makirritos, a Japanese and Mexican fusion, and Mingo’s Latin Kitchen, a gourmet Latin street food with a Tex-Mex flair, are also putting their own stamp on the fusion food-truck game as well. Houston is not a city that can be defined, and as the city continues to grow so will the number of new types of foods that we have here. We are sometimes seen as the underdog, but our city is changing the game in many different industries, and our food scene is one of them.