By comparison, Seoulmate is downright sedate. I mean, like I said, you can actually eat sitting down, not a perk offered by most food trucks. And it definitely smacks of a cheerful local joint. By that, I mean what’s mostly Guy Food: You eat with your hands, you make a mess, the table looks like a war zone when you’re done, and your clothing looks like a Jackson Pollock, but only if you’ve really enjoyed yourself. This is chow meant to be indulged in with big bites, lots of happy chewing, loud groans of pleasure. This is not dainty food. The restaurant even shut down on Super Bowl Sunday, “So We Can All Watch the Game…Thanks for Understanding Guys,” read the website.Eat with your handsThis is what I like to describe as Slob Food, in a good way, of course.
When they hand you your meal at the Korean-Mexican Fusion food stand Seoulmate, you also get a small white package with a chocolate chip cookie in it — and a little poem.Which is so sweet. Great food at two in the morning, if you’re young and immortal. And so typical of the caring, concerned, mildly hip-hop-infused style at Seoulmate, a groovy spot on busy Seventh Street in Long Beach where you order at a window, then find a seat on an outdoor patio, which is surrounded by bamboo plants in barrels with signs on them that say, “Do Not Water.”Seoulmate is a fine reminder that the whole Korean-Mexican Fusion thing got started in the funky Kogi food truck, which would show up at Hollywood clubs late at night to feed burritos to the barely sober.
Seventh St., Long BeachInformation: 562-433-1158, www.seoulmatelbc.comCuisine: Korean-Mexican fusionWhen: Lunch and dinner, Tuesdays through SundaysDetails: Soft drinks; no reservationsPrices: About $10 per personCards: MC, V ★★򽫝ress: 4712 E.
Very fillingNot far from The Old Boy is The Running Man, a breakfast burrito that’s good all day long. But it’s once you get away from the fusion burritos, that you recognize the other directions that Seoulmate has gone in, from the world of Kogi. (Since Seoulmate doesn’t open till 11 a.m., it has to be.) Instead of bulgogi or kalbi, it’s packed with scrambled eggs and melted cheesed, along with kimchi and lettuce, once again with avocado if you wish. And there are more burritos, filled with really good spicy pork, pork belly in a soy and sesame marinade, spicy chicken and more.
If only there were beer, it would be perfect.For anyone who’s been to Kogi, or any of its many siblings and clones, the dishes are familiar, though with many a Seoulmate twist and turn. And funny Seoulmate names as well. You have to sort of nibble away, working on The Old Boy like a termite, till the whole thing crumbles to bits and pieces. Why, I do not know, but perhaps for the South Korean film. It’s a monster creation — most of the plates are — a tortilla packed with bulgogi, kimchi, diced onion, cilantro, lettuce and lime flavored rice, with avocado for a few cents more, that’s quite literally too big to take a significant bite out of. Thus, there’s a burrito called The Old Boy. Fun!