When we wrote Our 10 Best Vegetarian Street Foods roundup last week, we hadn’t yet been able to make it to the Kimchi Taco Truck. But now that we have, we’d like to make its tofu edamame falafel tacos an honorary member of the canon.
Earlier today, the truck Tweeted that it would be parked at the corner of 24th Street and Fifth Avenue, so we hiked up to meet it. As did roughly half of the Flatiron District: When we arrived at nearly 1 p.m., the line was about 15 deep. A half-hour passed from the time we joined the line to the time we got our food, but given how hard the friendly staff — headed by a smiling Youngsun Lee — was working, it was obvious they were moving as fast as they could.
And in any case, the falafel was worth the wait. Before we got a chance to judge its quality, we were impressed by its quantity: $7 gets you three tacos, and they’re definitely not of the silver-dollar-sized-tortilla variety. Each is weighted with three meaty, golf-ball-sized orbs, generous wads of kimchi, and diced tomatoes and jalapeños, and you have the option of dousing them with either spicy or mild barbecue sauce. We asked for both, and much preferred the spicy version, which was a little like a smokey sriracha sauce.
The falafel themselves offered that crunchy-creamy one-two punch that tends to drive people to hyperbolic distraction, and were enjoyably spicy. The menu describes them as “flavored with signature Asian spices,” and though the only spice we could distinguish was the somewhat prominent fennel seeds, we had no complaints. Paired with the kimchi and jalapeños, which were scattered about like grenades, it was hot enough to make our nose run, but not so hot that it was one-dimensional. As much as we enjoyed the falafel, we liked the kimchi even more, and would have happily eaten it crammed into a tortilla on its own.
Speaking of those tortillas, they were the only lackluster part of the tacos. They were thick but prone to toughness and breaking. Fortunately, the truck gives you a fork to scrape up all of the spilled innards, and, more importantly, a wet wipe to get rid of whatever evidence remains on your fingers.
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