Relax, y’all. Sure, there are more Californians stampeding to Texas than surfing the waves off their own coast these days, but there’s an upside, at least for Austinites. Not only are the people of the Golden State migrating this way, so is the latest golden trend: Korean-Mexican fusion. Take Chi’Lantro, Austin’s answer to LA. A wave of the future, the trailer Tweets its upcoming locations to hungry lunchtimers and late-nighters. When I arrived to sample its goods recently, the place was packed. Businessmen, truck drivers, and students were all lined up and waiting to get their hands on some junk food at its finest. The best, by far, were the quesadillas, with Asian-spiced chicken, cheese, cilantro, onion, and an unusual, almost nutty house-made “salsa roja,” topped with sesame seeds. Pretty and filling, with crisp, thick tortillas, these stole the show. The bulgogi tacos were also gorgeous. My favorite was the spicy pork, with tender, marinated meat, chopped romaine lettuce and white cabbage, onion, cilantro, and dark salsa roja generously assembled over double-layered corn tortillas. The beef, slightly stringy and tough, disappointed, but the light, flavorful tofu seemed like a great vegetarian option. The kimchi fries were really just glorified chile-cheese fries: fresh-cut potatoes, cheddar jack and monterey jack cheeses, cilantro, onion, Korean peppers, the same tough bulgogi beef, and spicy orange sauce. Even though “kimchi” is in the name, I barely tasted any of the (supposedly caramelized) pickled cabbage. Are they thinking that some Americans aren’t ready for that tangy flavor? I for one was looking forward to it. However, the cheese, potatoes, and spicy sauce entranced on their own. As for the trailer itself, I’ve hardly seen one more tricked-out. You can pick some chicharrones or Korean potato chips and sweets to complement your tacos, sign your receipt on an iPad (which they e-mail to you later), and pour yourself some coffee from the installed spout on the side of the truck, all while listening to fusion music like Rob Thomas and Santana’s hit, “Smooth,” from a few years ago. Three words for the whole experience: spicy, sweet, and addicting.
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