SF: Meet the Koja Kitchen Food Truck and its $5 KoJa Sandwich

photo by Luis Chong
photo by Luis Chong

Some gourmet food trucks stretch the meaning of “affordable menu.” Fortunately, new food truck KoJa Kitchen stays true to affordability. Their signature KoJa “sandwich” is just $5.

The KoJa is a clever combination, where toasted rice cake patties act as buns for your pick of filling: Korean BBQ beef, Korean BBQ chicken, or a vegetarian patty. The last two choices include a slice of pineapple. The vegetarian option is soy-based and gluten-free.

But this is not a revival of the rice cake snacking craze of the ’80s. The rice patties soak up the juices of the tender and flavorful meats so well that just a bite should convince anyone that this is no diet food.

Luis Chong

​The other stars on this menu are the Kamikaze fries ($6), crisscut fries topped with Korean BBQ beef, kimchi, green onions and Japanese sweet mayo, and Mochimisu ($4), an otherwise typical tiramisu dessert hiding housemade chocolate mochi morsels among the layers of soaked lady fingers and mascarpone, topped with cocoa powder and an elegant chocolate-dipped strawberry.

Luis Chong

​Every item we sampled was delicious and well executed. It’s hard to believe that except for the executive chef, the team has no previous culinary experience.

The name KoJa (short for Korean-Japanese), refers to both the ethnic background of some members of the group, and the cuisine theme. (We’re told future specials will borrow from other cuisines as well.) Half of the group members are originally from the South Bay (San Jose), and the other half is from further south (the O.C.).

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This is the first food venture for this group of entrepreneurs. But unlike some other food truck owners who lost their previous jobs during the economic downturn, the group saw this as a niche opportunity, separate from their thriving careers.  KoJa told SFoodie that they learned the basics about running a food truck business by watching TV shows like The Great Food Truck Race and America’s Next Great Restaurant.

This was supplemented by months of research in the catering industry, plus trial and error while experimenting with recipes.  Check Facebook or Twitter for truck location updates.