Seoul Sausage reveals its edge in The Great Food Truck Race, interview

Seoul Sausage team members, as seen on The Great Food Truck Race, Season 13. Photo courtesy Food Network
Seoul Sausage team members, as seen on The Great Food Truck Race, Season 13. Photo courtesy Food Network /

As the winners of Season 3, Seoul Sausage knows what it takes to succeed in The Great Food Truck Race. Returning for The Great Food Truck Race All Stars season had the team stepping back into their element. While many people were ready to get a taste of their Korean-American BBQ Fusion, the food truck team appreciated that it needed more than delicious food to do well in the Food Network culinary competition.

Seoul Sausage might be easy to identify with their shirt, “Make Sausage Not War,” this food truck is more than just Korean sausages and a single food truck. Over the years, the brand has built a huge food business. Leveraging the Korean fusion trend in the Los Angeles area years ago, Seoul Sausage has been featured at LA Food & Wine Festival, has a presence at Bank of California Stadium and can even be ordered on Goldbelly.

Even with all that success, Seoul Sausage chose to return to The Great Food Truck Race. While some of their success stems from that original Food Network appearance, the All Stars competition enticed them to get back in a truck.

Ted, Han and Yong from Seoul Sausage reveal to FoodSided their Great Food Truck Race secrets to success.

For the team, stepping back into the food truck was not a simple task, but it was enticing for the team. As Yong said, “It was really fun for me personally since we were now competing with past champions who were all on top of their games. We had to be on our toes constantly because we knew one mistake and we could get sent home. The cooking part was actually the easy part for us, it was the strategy which set the great trucks apart from the others.”

In some ways, that statement is quite telling about The Great Food Truck Race. All of these food truck teams are great chefs. It is more than just preparing and serving amazing food. It is about the strategy. The team with the best strategy will earn the title.

But, that food truck space isn’t like a restaurant. For Seoul Sausage, there was a little bit of adjustment. As Han shared, “It was so hard to come back to a mobile truck! We had to dust off all the other hats that came with it. Issues with plumbing? Now I’m a plumber. Issues with the truck getting a parking ticket? Now I’m a lawyer. We had to come up with creative ways to adapt our dishes to the limited equipment that was available to us. Challenging…but also a lot of fun. That’s me putting on my engineer hat.”

Those candid comments show that a successful food truck is more than just serving customers. Like any food business, it has to have all parts working together to succeed. In some ways, that food truck might be harder than a brick and mortar location.

Even though there are other factors that contribute to a great food truck, the food is what draws people to the window. For Seoul Sausage, it is all about the Korean-American BBQ Fusion. Even as that term evolves, it is a flavor that people crave.

As Han said, “We’ve watched Korean food evolve a lot over the years. What’s great to see is that there are a lot of chefs adding to the definition of Korean American cuisine. It’s as if we are all a community working towards the same goal of making Korean food and ingredients more accessible to the general American palate.”

In some ways, it is about seeing how flavors play off each other and being willing to blend ingredients. Instead of saying there is a “rule” about certain foods and ingredients staying in their lane, it is embracing the willingness to think differently.

As Ted said, “We grew up eating both Korean and American cuisine so it was only a matter of time before the two held hands and started dancing. I remember our Dad used to always add kimchi to his pizza and we’d plug our noses and say yuck. But now Korean food is basically food for the modern day as we like to call it. It’s definitely mainstream.”

In many ways, it isn’t about the label, but it is about the willingness to take that first taste. After that bite, people go back for more and it changes the landscape. Walking down a grocery aisle or picking a restaurant for dinner is filled with options from all genres.

Ted believes that “People’s palate’s have definitely evolved. Thanks to people like Anthony Bourdain people are more adventurous with their taste buds and have found lots of respect and appreciation for other countries foods. Even 9 years ago when we were competing on the show (season 3) we were able to find kimchi in almost every town we competed in. It’s been amazing to see more and more people eating and utilizing Korean ingredients and food.”

Even though more people are craving a taste of Seoul Sausage, the reality is that the Great Food Truck Race All Stars competition offers another opportunity for the brand.

Yong shared, “We got a great boost from when we won season 3 and super grateful for the opportunities it brought to our business. We hope more than anything (by competing in the All Stars Season) that the viewers see us as normal human beings trying our best, loving what we do and each other, all while representing our food and culture the best we can.”

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Be sure to watch Seoul Sausage in the Great Food Truck Race All Stars on Food Network. New episodes air Sunday nights at 9 p.m. EST and can be streamed on Discovery+.