Watch Out, L.A.: Here Comes Seoul Sausage

by in Shows, September 30th, 2012

seoul sausage
The third season of The Great Food Truck Race hit the road with eight rookie food trucks with a grand prize of $50,000 and the chance to keep their truck. Every Sunday we saw each truck pull out all their team’s tricks to stay in the game. But ultimately, one truck said goodbye each week. Tonight it was down to the final two: Seoul Sausage and Nonna’s Kitchenette. Both battled multiple Truck Stops and Speed Bumps in three different cities that constantly kept them on their toes. In the end, it came down to a difference of $103.

All season long we saw these three friends give it their all in an effort to prove to their parents that they had what it takes to be successful in the food truck industry. With their clever menu names, irresistible fried kimchi rice balls and unmistakable ambition, Seoul Sausage walked away with the grand prize — Los Angeles, welcome your newest food truck!

For seven weeks, we’ve watched you sell the fried kimchi rice balls. Where did that idea come from and why do you think those were so popular?

It came out of both necessity and coincidence. You have to remember the first week we were thrown off guard — all of a sudden we couldn’t make sausages anymore. In Flagstaff, Ariz., Chris had to think on the fly and create a new dish that could really encapsulate what Seoul Sausage the food truck was all about. He did that perfectly and it was just a fun food item that people ate up.

What was your most memorable moment of the competition (besides the winning moment)?

The graveyard shift in Fayetteville, Ark.: All of the customers that we didn’t serve earlier that day (due to the Truck Stop) came back out during the middle of the night after 1:00 a.m. to support us and buy from our truck. That area was coned-off specifically for Seoul Sausage and when we came rolling in, we seriously felt like the Beatles. Thanks again to all those who came and waited for us that night.

The Fried Ball stadium chant during the Amarillo Sox game was a close second.

seoul sausageHow do your parents feel now?

They want to try our Flaming Fried Balls (laughs). They are really happy that we are pursuing what we love doing.

No matter where you traveled, you changed the menu names to reflect your moods or the towns you were in. Do you think that strategic move became part of your success?

We place high value on connecting with the customers. That’s why when we first started the race, it was a no-brainer to put Ted (who’s really personable) up front to interact with the customers and have them become part of the Seoul Sausage experience. All of the cities we traveled through during the race are ones we’ve never visited before. So we felt it was natural to do whatever we could to make us feel at home and personalize it. Plus, it was us being goofy, too. I mean, if you had a choice, would you rather order a Tofu Salad or a Manly BUT Sensitive Steak Tofu Salad?

When you rolled into Lubec, Maine, you said, “We have an even playing field and that’s our advantage right now.” What did you mean by that?

Whenever we competed head-to-head versus another truck this season, or in a group setting, we always felt that our food, our personality and our energy stood out, and when we arrived in Lubec, we were ready for the challenge.

How come you guys never made any sausages on the show?

People don’t understand that we could never afford a sausage maker with the money Tyler gave us every week. Plus, it was near to impossible to find sausage casings on the fly from city to city. So we did what we do best, which is to improvise. What is a sausage without its casing? It’s a hamburger! People don’t realize it, but everyone was in fact eating our sausages, just in a hamburger or ball form.

What has the team done with the prize money and when will Seoul Sausage officially be on the road?

We are going to spoil our parents first. I think I’m going to buy a desk. Chris is missing somewhere in Las Vegas and Ted bought some new underwear and socks. But in all honesty, we are going to give Big Momma a small makeover, stock up, prep and head out to the streets of Los Angeles to serve our awesome fans soon.

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Comments (178)

  1. Jas says:

    Recap , Seoul Sausage won by $608 ($500+$5+$103+ 3hours lost to clam shucking). They deserved every single $$ of their prize money and food truck and this Finale win. It was all fair, they used creative strategies, they cook good food and some darn good balls!!!

    No matter how the FN twisted the game to their disadvantage, SS still comes up pushing strongly ahead fair and square and doing so with great attitude and spirit. Everyone should learn from these young men. Very strong hardworking values there . Nothing to flaunt , just good ole sweat and fabulous work ethics !! I have never heard them backtalk any other groups which the runnerup has done numerous time. With all this summation, there is only one clear rightful winner .. Go Seoul Sausage.

    • meme says:

      correct! but they had a trained chef ! so others cooked good also sort of balanced it out glad they won but thought maybe second should get a prize also.

      • Sue says:

        I don't think any of them are trained chefs . They just had an amazing menu and creative food ideas with awesome business strategy, coupled with lots of hard work . Giving credit where it's due !

      • Alan says:

        I don't think he was, either, but I could be wrong. Regardless, it takes more than a trained chef to make the truck run smoothly. I think last season the Green Truck (the guys from OC, California), were all trained culinary chefs. The fish truck from Atlanta ( I think they were eliminated in the 3rd or 4th week), they were all trained chefs as well. In past seasons, there have been trained culinary chefs, and some were not. It all balances out in the end, to me. There is much more to just having the experience as the competition showed.

      • Vic says:

        I think the only teams that had a formally trained culinary chef were the Atlanta, and Pop-A-Waffle teams. No one else.

    • Kruz says:

      Thank you! That was an awesome recap.

  2. dee says:

    Both Teams were very impressive . Congrats to the winners didn't watch but knew who would win after second team lost could see it was pre destined. sad to say all contests lately seem to be pre destined or maybe I just have talent to see it , wish it worked for the lottery. felt all that were part of it were great!

  3. Sharon says:

    I watched every episode and have to say my FAV team won.

    Nonna’s did a great job as well. But i just wanted give kuddo’s to

    Tyler. I really think he did a great job as well. He had a great balance

    Of encouragement but was tough when the trucks screwed up. Like,

    Knocking down a street lamp. I know he’s a veteran but I really enjoyed

    In a large part due to Tyler hosting. Congrats Seoul Sausage and

    Congrats Food Network. Great job.

    • Alan says:

      While they may not have been my favorite team, they were consistently the best-performing team in the race, and I feel they deserved the win.

      A lot of people are complaining about the rules ethics, the speed bumps, the truck stops, the advantages/disadvantages, etc. of the show. But c'mon, people, it's a TV reality show. Purely for entertainment. Don't get too wrapped up in all the smoke and mirrors. It's just a fun show to watch.

      All things being equal, the cream usually rises to the top and I feel that this has been the case the past three seasons: Grill'em All Heavy Metal Burgers in Season 1, The Lime Truck in Season 2 (sorry, I think I previously referred to them as The Green Truck), and this season, Seoul Sausage!

      • Bobbrowntown says:

        Agreed, glad the result came out that way, who cares, it is reality tv. it is not like soul sausage is heading to Afghanistan. They just have to drive a truck back to LA. Good luck to them, they won a game show.

  4. Howard says:

    Seoul Sausage cheated. They gouged their customers on one of the final stops by raising their prices $1.00 per item. That wasn't ethical. The second place winners should have at least been given their food truck. What an unfair final for everyone, especially the gouged customers. If those guys are going to use that kind of business tactics, they won't last in business too long. Ethics should count for something. Wake up Food Network and make this right for the girls.

    • Sue says:

      uh ? what are you smoking ? Besides the very last stop where both had to set prices and sells at $2 , I believed they were free to set the price otherwise for all other stops . So be it if they raise their price by a $1 . heck their food must be so good and worth every penny if they raised their prices and still sell out . Nothing stopping others from raising their prices too … Too bad they had lousy food so no one cares.

      • Howard says:

        I don't smoke. Ethical is ethical. They gouged their customers simply to make up for losing 3 hours because they made a lousy lobster dish.

        • Alan says:

          In a previous episode, Nonna's did the exact same thing. I think it was in Nashville, but the girls of Nonna's Kitchen thought they would get a larger profit margin if they charged more than in the previous city. If you were watching the series at all, all of the teams had to deal with that. Setting the prices at each stop.

          It's totally fair and a part of the competition: Maximizing your initial investment (seed money), setting the menu and the products for sale, setting the price point of the product, and how much product you buy in order to cook and sell. Even factors like the location of the truck and the rapport with the customer once at the site. They're all factors that play into not only this game, but food trucks and businesses, in general. If it was in the rules that no team was allowed to charge more than others, I could see your point. But that isn't a part of the rules any of the teams had to follow.

          It's called Business 101 and it's a part of life.

          Don't be a hater if Seoul Sausage just formulated a more lucrative system! That's what the competition is all about.

          • guest says:

            Couldn't have said it better myself! Exactly what I was saying to my hubby, that it's a business and u are allowed to raise your prices.

    • Howard says:

      I'm 69 years old and have run several very successful businesses. Ethical is ethical. They gouged their customers because they lost 3 hours over making a lousy lobster dish. Food Network has too much at stake to "fix" any contest. Wake up.

      • Corey says:

        Are you then saying it's unethical to have sale pricing? Because it's different from the regular price? "You only get to price something once, ever. That's it. Live with it for eternity." Has nothing to do with ethics.

        And FN has plenty at stake — ratings. Very few people (I'm one of the few) are interested in seeing the blowout victory it should've been.

      • Alan says:

        Why so bitter? What they did was completely fair. Why didn't you bag on Nonna's for doing the same thing in Nashville (I think it was Nashville)?

      • Alan says:

        "… they lost 3 hours over making a lousy lobster dish." You must have been one of the food judges, I assume? Only they would know if it was 'lousy' or not. Their lobster roll looked pretty good to me from what I could see. Were you the guy who wanted more lobster claw meat, or the one who preferred his lobster chilled and with the slaw on the side.

        If you have run successful businesses in the past, how would you assess your profit-margin if you sold your product at a lower, 'fairer" price to your consumer vs the price-point you would consider profitable for your business? Where's the balance? You can't make everyone happy, I suppose…

      • Gene says:

        I think you are an old man discriminating against some cool hip and young Asian dudes
        You just wanted to see the hot Italian chics win. LOL. All good! But no, I don't think so.

        Why are you character bashing? You don't know these young men personally.
        How can you say such horrible things about them?
        They worked hard just like the other teams. Their food must have been just that good cuz people paid to eat it. If anything they were smart because Seoul Sausage knew how high the stakes were and took the risk of raising their price. It's called, "Go Big or Go Home". They went Big and Won! Wahoo :)

      • Anonymous says:

        I think you need to go eat your sour grapes now. Maybe being 69 explains it all or most of it. I'm 61 and my mind is nowhere near as narrow as yours. Go Seoul Sausage! Very inventive marketers and creators of apparently good food. That's what brought them success.

    • Xig says:

      FYI. The Aussie girls lost bc they sold their burgers for $8 instead if $10. Pricing is not illegal. It’s up to the customer support that wants to pay for it. E.g. $7 for McD combo or In N Out? I’ll take the late when it’s available.

    • MoHub says:

      There is nothing unethical about assessing what the market will bear and what you need to make decent money; it's simply a wise business decision, and I'm sure if the food did not sell at the increased price, the Seoul team would have reduced their prices.

      Different areas support different price structures. Just watch an episode of any home-buying program on HGTV and look at the differences among prices from one region to another. What buys a huge house in the South might get you an apartment condo in the DC area.

      And it's not like the customers in the higher-priced location were checking back with the earlier locations to see what they peid.

    • Susan says:

      Oh Howard..

    • VickiW says:

      What an idiot. They were competitive & exercised their right to charge what they needed to win. Don’t like the price? Don’t buy it.

    • Sandy dog says:

      Omg, that ending was amazing and the best team won. Those guys were humble and definitely gentlemen. Each team does what they have to do to win. SS did the damn thing and without the 500 dollars and three hour advantage. All is fair in the game! If you remember SS was way ahead before any of the pit stops. So don't hate! Give props to the well deserved winning team. Don't forget the unethical ways of Nonna's trying to bad mouth and bringing bad karma to themselves. Even the girls new the best team won.

    • kitchenhead says:

      Gouging can only occur when the customer has no other option. Raising prices in a competitive market is not cheating, it is a risk. The customer is free to go somewhere else. There is nothing unethical in what SS did. They took a risk and were rewarded. If the customers decided they didn't want to pay the extra dollar for the food, SS would have lost. Simple economics.

    • Abby says:

      They're a food truck, if you don't like the price, you walk on by. If they bought it, that means people were willing to pay. There were also no rules saying they couldn't price it that way. It's one thing for you to disagree with their pricing (that is, you wouldn't have paid that much for it) but it's another to call that cheating… because plain and simple, it isn't. Your local Starbucks is beating a lesser-known cafe with cheaper coffee in terms of profit. Do you call them cheaters?

  5. TechnicalStuff says:

    Is there a cost break down by menu item and truck?
    It would be interesting to see what the profit margin were.
    Did seoul sausage sell more items or did they make more on each item sold?

    • Alan says:

      Hard to tell. But in the final food stop in Lubec, with everything being sold for $2.00, one can assume that with only a $5.00 difference between them going into the last day, Seoul Sausage sold more on that day to take the win.

      During the competition, all the teams played with differing food items at different prices at different times. It varied from city to city, and part of the game was formulating the perfect balance of all the varying factors.

  6. ehy says:

    I have a question that has lingered from the very first season – what happens to all the money each truck makes? Since they don't get to keep it, does it go back into production costs? I love the concept but next season I would love to see the teams be allowed to just cook and sell without those crazy (and sometimes annoying) truck stops and keep the money they make. This would be a true test of good they really are. But truck stops or not, I love this show! And congratulations to Seoul Sausage – a very deserving winner!

  7. JuliaD says:

    Congrat to Seoul Sausage…Make Sausage Not War!! Find a new home in LA and kick some food truck posterior.
    I have questions for the FN as well. And it is similar to spitting in the wind as we never get anything answered from these blogs…that is one thing I would love to know…does FN even care what we the viewer thinks? *FNS fiasco!!! But it did cause drama and viewers to come here and complain about it. Why not hire someone to run PR on these blogs on behalf of the FN instead of just writing the blog and disappearing.

  8. JuliaD says:

    Why are some people able to make a foot long comment and I can't make a few paragraphs???
    Balance of original post:
    1. The vehicles that matched the trucks…we saw the departing contestants drive off in them. Did they belong to the teams and then were just "made over" so they kept them? Or did each departing team get to keep the follow vehicle as part of agreeing to appear on the show?
    2. Did the money earned get to go to the teams? I read it did. Then why would they have no money except the "seed money" they got at the top of each show? I get it, it needs to be fair, so everyone starts with the same "seed money". Certainly Seoul Sausage or Nonna's made a ton of money on the 7 shows – if they indeed did get to keep the money.

    • MoHub says:

      In answer to your second question: I don't know whether the teams got to keep the profits from each stop; I suspect they didn't. However, regardless, FN cleaned out the tills after each challenge was completed, so the teams had only the FN-supplied seed money to start up in each new city.

  9. JuliaD says:

    Really? Three posts to make one statement???? Get it together FN.

    3. Why was there only the main huge prize given? It seems to me that the "truck" was a big deal AND got the $50g's too. Why not give the second place NO truck but $25g's as runner up and they can buy a truck with that money. Third place $10g's? To go home in style and have a big party? I dunno. It just seems like a huge effort and learning process. I didn't feel so badly for Pop A Waffle (honestly I never figured how to make money doing waffles – small profit – but great if you can do it)…where I did feel badly for Nonna's. The winner is the hands down …Seoul Sausage…but Nonna's did incredible (for you bashers out there – I would like to see YOU have done what either of the final two did geesh) It takes nothing away from Seoul Sausage to also admit that Nonna's obviously something "going on" with their excellent food too.

  10. NotCool says:

    Seoul was running around portland talking crap & telling customers that nonnas was in the lead and begging for people to buy from them, so we went to nonnas instead

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