With Tweat Up’s Taco Wars less than 24 hours away, I thought I would provide you all with a little insight into, what I believe, is one of the front runners for tomorrow’s title of Taco Wars Champion. Kimchinary is one of the ten participants featured in the Taco Wars taking place at The Merchant Yard on Kingsland Road tomorrow from noon till 5pm. The cover charge is £35 and gets patrons a taco from each competitor and two beers or glasses of wine, money well spent indeed!
I first came face to face with Kimchinary tacos a couple of weeks after Hanna Söderlund (the founder) had been receiving some high praise and hype on my Twitter feed. With so many people talking about her tacos, I was itching to find out what all the fuss was about. Luckily enough for me, Kimchinary was featuring in KERB‘s lineup at the Gherkin not long after!
When I made it to the Gherkin site, there was already a long line of people waiting in anticipation for some kimchi action. For those of you that aren’t familiar with kimchi, it is a traditional Korean dish created using fermented vegetables and different seasonings. What Hanna does is to create her own Kimchi and then pair it up with some incredible mouth watering ingredients such as, slow braised ox cheek and confit pork belly.
I was feeling particularly peckish and thus quite greedy when I heard other people ordering a single taco or two and then I stood up and requested a box of three! Then to make matters worse, just after I got my order in, they soon ran out! It only added to the guilt when I looked around to see hopeful faces turn to disappointment, no doubt cursing me and my appetite.
I went for two of the confit pork belly tacos and one braised ox cheek. All the ingredients looked so fresh and vibrant, I couldn’t wait to get them in a box and head off back to the office for further inspection.
How good do they look! The colours were incredible and the smell was so inviting, they had heads turning in the office!
I decided to go for the pork belly first. The taco was full to the brim overflowing with delicious pork, ssamjang, kimchi, pear and sesame slaw, chives, chilli flakes and gochujang mayonnaise! A flavour sensation for the tastebuds! The pork belly was succulent with a slight crunch and the kimchi and chilli produced the perfect amount of warmth on the palate. All the ingredients worked together to create a delightful and original mouthful that was extremely moreish. The first one flew down the hatch and it was soon time to sample the braised ox cheek. The textures in this one were slightly different. Whereas the confit pork belly had been slightly crunchy, the braised ox cheek was shredded and simply melted in the mouth. It was rich, slightly sweet and again mingled beautifully with the other ingredients, all wrapped up in a soft taco shell.
After three I was stuffed, covered in beef juices and truly satisfied. These were unlike any tacos I had tried before. Hanna’s objective when creating Kimchinary was to introduce the people of London to her passion for kimchi and she chose tacos as the vehicle that would enable her to do this. The translation has worked perfectly and she has ended up with an original and flavoursome result that demands attention. The pride in her and her team’s work is such that after watching them delicately stack the tacos with a variety of ingredients and seasonings you’re surprised when they don’t ask you if you’d like them gift wrapped!
Sadly I cannot attend Taco Wars tomorrow but if I did my money would be on Kimchinary to easily make the top three. If you too are missing out then I suggest you get down to the nearest food market where they are pitching and grab a few to try for yourselves. If you are one of the lucky ones who managed to grab a ticket before they sold out, make sure you tweet us your pictures of all the tacos and keep us updated with the winners!
We The Food Snobs x