Cheap Eats: Korean, June 2012

The glazed pork belly rice bowl, stocked with no less than a dozen ingredients, looks like something made by a cook cleaning out his fridge. But Kogi guru Roy Choi weaves in culture-mashing toppings like cotija cheese, water spinach, pickled radish, roasted peanuts, and fried eggs in a way that somehow makes sense. The rice bowl, it seems, is the new melting pot.

The crew behind the Kogi food truck phenomenon (and L.A.’s food truck craze, for that matter) has gone brick-and- mortar with Chego! It’s not much fancier than the curbside operation, with everything served on compostable dishware and a DIY condiment-utensil-beverage station in the back. The cuisine is as kick-you-in-the-teeth flavorful, though here it comes in a bowl, not a tortilla. Riffs on the Korean rice specialty bibimbap are served with bits of moist dark-meat chicken or pork belly, Chinese broccoli or water spinach, and always a fried egg with a salty sesame sprinkle on top. For sides, try a tangy pickle assortment or charred asparagus doused with a spicy Caesar-like dressing.