A masked chef named Steve Cho tends to a griddle crackling with oil beneath a red pop-up tent just outside a strip mall parking lot. Sausages and hot dogs sizzle alongside jalapeños. Cho stirs corn kernels and cream with a spoon in a shallow pan before adding fistfuls of shredded mozzarella. Butterflied buns toast in the corner. Nearby, three squeeze bottles await their turn. These ingredients all play key roles when Cho composes Soseji’s unique street foods.
Cho cooked at restaurants including Bäco Mercat and Sugarfish, as well as at the InterContinental in DTLA, and now griddles two different links in Rampart Village from Thursdays through Sundays. Soseji, a mashup of Taiwanese rice sausage and Korean blood sausage, is his marquee encased creation.
The Valencia native originally found soseji inspiration from a spontaneous 2015 trip to Taiwan. He had a sausage epiphany at Taipei’s Shilin Night Market. “I happened to come across a stall which specialized in Taiwanese glutinous rice sausages,” Cho recalls. “One bite of this street food left a delectable memory.”
In 2020, during the pandemic, Cho found himself unemployed and, he says, “not knowing when I will ever come back, so I started cooking at home.” He started making sausages and remembered the variety he enjoyed so much in Taiwan. “I started to add more and more things, try and incorporate more of my culture,” he says. Cho also channeled soondae, a soft sausage bound with pork blood, glass noodles, and glutinous rice that he typically enjoys at 8th Street Soondae. After five versions, he was happy with the current result. Cho named his business for how his first generation Korean-American parents pronounce sausage.
Cho originally sold soseji near Avenue 26 Tacos as part of that street’s vibrant street food scene, but switched to his neighborhood, sandwiched between Koreatown and MacArthur Park, since logistics are so much easier.
At his nearby apartment, Cho takes three days to make plump sausages with a mix of pork belly, glutinous and plain white rice, and minced scallions, garlic, ginger, and onions in a natural hog casing. He griddles each skewered sausage in a shallow oil pool, dressing with three homemade sauces—sweet chile, teriyaki, and Japanese mayo based cream—before finishing with crispy fried onion bits. He plates in paper boats with tart pickled daikon and spicy griddled jalapeño.
Soseji also serves thin, all-beef hot dogs on toasted buns blanketed with molten corn cheese and sprinkled with furikake, a portable riff on the popular Korean bar snack. Cho pairs both streets foods with homemade iced passion fruit green tea.
Cho considers his goals for Soseji. “Take home a memorable experience,” he says, “whether it’s the moment I get to interact with customers or the very last bite of my food. I just hope to make someone’s day better or even greater!”
Soseji, 534 S. Occidental Blvd., Westlake.
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