Watch Out, L.A.: Here Comes Seoul Sausage by Sarah De Heer in Shows, September 30th, 2012
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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.
How 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.