The merging of Japanese-American, Korean-American and Hawaiian…in a Food Truck.
One of the things that’s hard to write about is differentiating one Food Truck from another.
No, its not the food I’m talking about it. The food’s always different. It’s the ambiance.
One of the things I write about when I write about Food is the overall experience of walking into the a place, what you can expect what you’re supposed to do, etc.
And with Food Trucks, it’s…all pretty simple. Walk up to food, purchase food, walk away with food.
So, when it comes to Food Trucks, we can only really talk about the food…
…and maybe the folks who make it.
Apparently, Rice Balls of Fire is the brainchild of James Park. He’s been in the business for ten years, opening his own restaurants in San Francisco, South Korea and Guam. (Yes, you read that right. Guam).
He finally came back to Los Angeles, and opened Rice Balls of Fire, which at least according to him, takes advantage of all the knowledge he’s accumulated for years on the road.
Okay, well maybe.
I’ll give him this, the idea of trying to fuse Japanese, Korean, and Hawaiian cuisines and tastes is not a bad one. It’s not an original one, but it’s not a bad one. Given the amount of interplay that there’s historically been between the Japanese-American, Korean-American in and out of Hawaii, this should be a no brainer, right? All you have to do is not screw it up.
I am pleased to report that Chef Park does not screw it up. In fact, he’s got one or two really tasty items on his menu. But it is a place to drive out of your way for to go find, like you might with Kogi BBQ? Yeah, it’s probably not that.
Still, if you’re in a place, at an event, and see a bunch of Food Trucks around, go ahead and give this one a try. It’s worth a shot.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Let’s bury our lede. I may have bought the Kimchi Fried Rice, but the star of the show was the Spam Egg Musubi, Cooked Spam, Smelt Egg, Rice, bound by a band of Seaweed. Yes, I know. You just saw me type the words Spam into this review, but like Pork, like a fried egg, I’m developing a weakness for this stuff, especially since it comes in the context of Hawaiian cooking, which (as I said above) Rice Balls of Fire definitely does. Some of my breakfast favorites all wrapped together for a great Lunch treat. Only $4, and I’m so having it again. Delicious.
The Kimchi Fried Rice, on the other hand…was…well…
Look, I mean it’s Fried Rice. Like Pizza, Fried Rice can only suck so much, but this stuff…was just only okay. Yeah, I could taste their particular blend of Kimchi mixed in there, but it tasted like the kiddified version of the stuff. It wasn’t that spicy. It was more salty than anything. It wasn’t great, but I will give Rice Balls of Fire credit for one thing. Putting pickled onions into the mix. Good idea. Not enough to save it (for me), but a good idea.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Well, like with all Food Trucks, they’re not Cash Only, but they’re probably easier if you brought cash because so many of these iPad Cash Register apps require a .50 cent surcharge.
PARKING: Well, it’s a Food Truck. Parking is going to vary depending on where the Truck parks itself.
Rice Balls of Fire