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. activekitchen says:

    I think next year they.should have contestants with the same approximate level of experience running a food truck before the race begins. In other words, don't bring in ringers who win at nearly every stop. To take two other FN shows as a comparison, if you match up an Iron Chef against a Worst Chef contestant who do you think would win a face off? Having contestants of such unequal experience (according to the women of Nonna's Kitchenette) just really destroys the show.

    • Gene says:

      Really? I see your point but do you think that would really make the show better or even more fair? Not sure I see that. I really enjoyed the show because of the diversity that you think should be taken out.

      Besides being a success can't always be measured by experience. There are plenty of talented and just lucky people who become successful. So stop being a hater and either enjoy the show or don't watch. It's a contest…sometimes you win and sometimes the other person wins…LOL. I have definitely been on both sides of the coin. Hey, if I AGREED to accept the conditions of the challenge as they were (which every team did or else they wouldn't have made it on the show) then good luck to us all! (I'd say)

      Additionally, all these teams got a heck of an adventure and exposure just being part of this show.
      All in all not such a bad deal :)

  2. Sayra says:

    I'm sure there are people out there who can relate to SS even if you're not Korean. Our parents taught us to work hard at everything we do. They taught us how to make dreams come true. But it's not our dream, it's their dream. LOL. We just want a chance to shine and show our parents that we can be successful AND be happy too by being true to ourselves! (While still working hard).

    I don't know what it's like for others but if you are Korean, you have parents with one track minds and they will be on you like white on rice. So my hats off to you guys for making your parents proud. Great job.

  3. MoHub says:

    Agreed. If the Olympics can award silver and bronze medals, Food Network can certainly come up with second- and third-place prizes.

  4. Robin says:

    Honestly, I am glad that Seoul Sausage won. I am from Maine, and was deeply offended by the attitude that the Nonna Kitchen girls had towards coming to our state. First when they were told that they were coming to Portland, they made faces and condescending remarks…then when they were told that they were going to Lubec, they made even more condescending remarks. They also lied to the crowd to try to steal customers. Maine is a beautiful state with wonderful caring people. We are laid back and welcoming to all who come.
    Congratulations Seoul Sausage.The guys from this team were like the people of Maine. They were humble, and hard working, and not rude. I hope that some day, I will get to try your food, and congratulate you in person.

    • Kaz says:

      Yes and to think they took the short cut in the final stop selling only doughnuts for $2 ea. it's daylight robbery!! Not only that, they sold store bought rivoli and simply deep fried them. Gross!

      Seoul Sausage worked hard throughout and gave the customer value for money good food !

      • PortG says:

        If they hand made raviolis they would have gone home the first week… apparently from reading blogs no team gets prep time. Seems production only cares about the show and not about the food or I'm sure all of the teams would have had more extensive menus. Seoul was selling frozen tator tots and using instant rice in their fried balls so I wouldnt be so quick to judge, it's a game.

    • Vic says:

      I watched the entire series, and Seoul won in spite of a lot of negativity against them. I one episode, Mike's Pizza falsely promised them their turn at a water hose at the park only to be bullied by the Atlanta team.

    • PortG says:

      Robin, you must be on team soul (because I like both of them) but I met the ladies and they were extremely pleasant and happier than ever to be on the east coast…saying how beautiful our city is, so I don't know why you would post that

  5. Jeanne says:

    Yes, I think the non-winners (no losers here, all teams worked hard) should be given the opportunity to purchase their trucks. What is FN going to do with them, they're used?

  6. Walter says:

    The amount of ignorance in this statement is mindboggling.

    Ellen, can ignorant people like you give other ignorant people a chance to leave ignorant comments?

  7. Shirley says:

    I think it was pretty fishy that the Seoul team had a man, who just happened to speak Korean, come up and purchase 25 of their items to put them 25 sales ahead right at the last competition. Sounds to me like the Seoul team had a ringer!

    • Guest says:

      And in Portland, right out of the gate, a customer ordered "one of everything", to the tune of $70!

    • andrew says:

      Who was to say that Nonna's didn't have people do the same thing buying a lot of their items at once too?
      Plus a sister of one of the Nonna's was rallying support through twitter while the final leg was going on.

    • Guest says:

      I think the point is that garnering support from friends and family is all a part of the game. Congrats to Seoul Sausage – they were awesome all the way!

  8. FactChecker says:

    The "mystery" of the missing sausage maker is revealed! Chef Chris Oh bought one, back in 2010, using Bed Bath and Beyond Coupons, according to the Seoul Sausage Company blog found on google dated 7/19/12. Obviously the rice balls were easier & cheaper to prepare!

  9. Vic says:

    Well said, Walter. The bottom line is, it's a competition. Congrats to both Seoul and Nonna's for making it so far.

  10. Vic says:

    I finally got a chance to watch my DVR'd last episode. Big congrats to Seoul Sausage. You guys won in spite of some challenges against you in some episodes. Congrats to all contestants too. I saw the whole series and it got pretty tense! Well done. I just thought the inclusion of advertisers like Pop Tarts and Outback was silly.

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