Hi Reddit! I’m Chef Roy Choi and our Kogi BBQ trucks have been selling Korean barbecue tacos on the streets of Los Angeles since 2008. We’ve now got four trucks cruising L.A. and O.C., a taco shop in the Alibi Room, and a place called Chego if you’re hungry.

I’ve got a new digital series on CNN where I get to talk to influencers and trendsetters like Beastie Boy Mike D, YouTube star Michelle Phan, Dilated Peoples and Anthony Bourdain. I also sat down for some food and cooked with “Iron Man” director Jon Favreau, who asked me to be involved in his life when he was getting ready to make the movie “Chef”. We were also on “Top Chef” together last season in New Orleans.

You can binge-watch every episode of “Street Food with Roy Choi” on CNN.com and see what people are saying about it by following the hashtag #whatsyourstreetfood.

I also love cooking for kids and making wholesome, delicious food affordable and available for everyone.

Let’s get this started. Ask me anything!

Proof tweets : https://twitter.com/CNN/status/524633334031605760


More proof http://i.imgur.com/AtK7vdY.jpg?1

edit This was fun. Really fun. If I missed you go to @ridingshotgunLA on Twitter and hit me up there. Peace, Papi.

Comments: 224 • Responses: 82  • Date: 

RoyChoi20 karma

adios from LA - Papi

ilikeCRUNCHYturtles17 karma

Who is your favorite Korean-American, and why is it David Choe?

RoyChoi24 karma

David Choes is fucking porn stars, is a millionaire, talented artist, humble dude, tender soul, and loves my food. he is a pretty good korean to favorite. but i like all the young homies coming up in ktown right now as my favorite KA's

Astridasteroid13 karma

Can you please bring this party to the DC Metro area?!

RoyChoi11 karma

Go-Go DC style

Astridasteroid8 karma

I wonder - do you ever cook something up and then not want to eat it? It's pretty common (for everyone who cooks for themselves), yeah?

RoyChoi14 karma

of course. i fucked up a lot of things trying to impress girls back in culinary school. i was like yo eat this even tho i wouldn't. ha ha

cptn_garlock10 karma

Oh god if I could get Kogi locally, I might never go home for dinner ever.

RoyChoi25 karma

home is where you lay your taco

bixbytrixy12 karma

Hi Roy! Thanks for doing this AMA. Last July, I picked up an issue of Lucky Peach magazine which featured your trip to Honolulu with Christina Tosi. I was depressed for quite some time and had very little interest in anything, but after reading the editorial, I decided to book a trip to Hawaii. Going to Hawaii was life changing and perhaps one of the best things I did for myself, and it started with your feature in the magazine so much thanks!

My question is, what are the top 5 favourite places you look forward to eating each time you're in Honolulu?

RoyChoi20 karma

oh man, that is such a wonderful story. i'm touched and i hope you are out of depression now. i have delt with it deeply before too and it's a muthafucka, i know. i love side street inn, helena's bbq. leonard's, rainbow drive in, young's fish market

TOOLbandGirl11 karma

Hello Roy! Thanks so much for doing this AMA. I’ve read that Emeril was an inspiration to getting you into cooking. Emeril is Portuguese and so is my husband. Can you throw out a couple of Asian/Portuguese fusions you think might work? Kale, cod and kimchi?

RoyChoi20 karma

just think hawaii. i think all the food of hawaii is a portuguese fusion in some sorts. malasadas with lilikoi powder anyone?!

CinRich11 karma

Hi Roy! Have you and Anthony Bordain had a session yet?

RoyChoi25 karma

they don't call me papi thc for nothing

emmarolyat9 karma

Roy! What is your favorite burrito in LA?

RoyChoi22 karma

i used to like chabelita on western. but right now i gotta go with my own. kogi por vida. burrito life

worker119 karma

Chocolate Tres Leches looks like the most amazing thing ever! Any chance on the recipe? You have a book?

RoyChoi45 karma

dude, the tres leches is the stoner ultimate cake of ultimate stoner cakes. we once cooked them with 1/2 ounce of weed each and tripped for days. I have a book called LA Son but no tres leches, sorry

Ducwt7 karma

Enjoyed Chef, glad to hear you were a part of it. Had a discussion about the Kogi truck right after we watched it too (before I knew you were involved).

How difficult has it been to adapt to the growing competition in OC/LA? No doubt your Kogi truck established a trend of gourmet food trucks in the area. I remember the hours long wait to get some of your food back in college.

RoyChoi15 karma

i don't think about competition in that way. we focus on the food, our staff, and our people and the streets. what happens beyond that is out of our control. kogi is strong because we care. it's strong because we focus on what's in front of us, the moment. not the drama around it

gatr7 karma

I think your Korean tacos solidified my love for tacos and have made me realize that LA has its own culture of tacos worth exploring. Of the traditional and creative types of tacos, what are your favorite spots in LA?

PS. The drunk version of me thanks you immensely for all the burritos and tacos I've had from Kogi.

RoyChoi11 karma

my undrunk self accepts your thanks on behalf of kogi. traditional depends on which neighborhood you are in. some are: mariscos jalisco, leo's, ariza, taco zone

RoyChoi6 karma

signing out at exactly 2pm pacific. this was fun. like really fun.


Roy, I really admire your candor and passion when it comes to food and life. Could you speak a little bit about your time in law school?

RoyChoi15 karma

law school was a joke for me. socratic method was not a good thing for a guy who has problems with authority. i was doing what i was supposed to do as a asian kid but i found out that i needed to follow my own path and not one that was determined for me. law school is good for others tho, just not me.

RemSaverem6 karma

Do you have any advice for other up and coming gay chefs?

RoyChoi17 karma

other? i'm so flattered

RoyChoi10 karma

i see no color or race or whatever, it's the skill that makes you a chef and your culture and personality that make the flavor. just be you.

shetlandshaun6 karma

Firstly: short rib burrito is truly a thing of beauty and i want them all.

Secondly: craft beer scene is growing huge in LA right now what local breweries would you recommend pairing with some of the kogi menu?

RoyChoi9 karma

thanks on kogi. we love LA. Golden Road is killing it right now locally and they have been good to Kogi.

euthlogo5 karma

Any plans to bring Chego back to the westside?

RoyChoi12 karma

we serve three bowls at the alibi room on washington. but as far as a chego store, still searching on the west. i hope one day soon but i barely know what i'm doing next week. really.

CGZFRS5 karma

Big fan! I wanted to know, how were you able to open your first food truck and how does it compare to running a traditional restaurant?

RoyChoi11 karma

i was out of a job, my friend called me, he had access to the truck, we trained on trucks for weeks, then gathered all the money we had and made the kogi taco. it blew us away and we were possessed. then we went out on the streets and put our heart and soul out there and people responded. twitter was huge too, technology and food. we were honest and naive. those were the keys.

matssundin13925 karma

Were you/are you shy at all when it comes to being on camera?

RoyChoi3 karma

of course, it's always nerve racking. but i found a strength in the streets and stopped being self conscious

euthlogo5 karma

What's gonna be the next big food trend?

RoyChoi20 karma

Filipino bbq

icystorm5 karma

What is your favorite burger in LA?

Been a fan of Kogi since the beginning and my mom enjoyed her experience at Pot. Keep up the great work!

RoyChoi8 karma

thanks on kogi and pot. OG kogi followers know the deal. I love the burger at in-n-out and plan check

a_v95 karma

I saw chef multiple times and I have to say, that was the hungriest I've felt after watching any movie ever! You have done such a brilliant job at making the food look so appetizing and appealing. Kudos for that.

So, as an expert in the field, what is the key to making food look so appetizing?

RoyChoi4 karma

i think it was a collection of talented individuals with a collective goal. we had the best camera people, the best stylists, the best lighting and props, the best director, etc. then what i did was just cook food from the soul and Jon allowed it to make it past the cutting room floor. it was a team effort on Chef. but my advice is, cook with deliciousness in mind and focus on color and composition.

SkeletorSwag4 karma

Do you know any other ways to make good ramen noodles besides hot sauce or an egg? I'm broke as hell at school, and I'm experimenting with my microwave.

RoyChoi13 karma

american cheese my friend. also use salted nori sheets and canned meats. do it up mang

thedavebot4 karma

Hey Roy, thanks for the AMA. I saw your segment on Parts Unknown and was happy to see you expose Bourdain to Jollibee's. If you could order only one item from Jollibee's, what would it be?

RoyChoi7 karma

fried chicken and spaghetti combo with a halo halo at the end. ya heard?!

Crash_Burn_Death4 karma

What is your favorite dish to make?

RoyChoi12 karma

i still love cooking the kogi taco because the way it affects everyone who eats it inspires me to believe in the good things in life even amidst the bad sometimes

claytondufresne3 karma

Hey Mr. Choi,

I don’t know if you remember me or my group, but we were there for your A-Frame soft opening in LA. My group was a little larger than, I believe, you’d expected and may have caused you extra stress that you didn’t need that night. I just wanted to apologize for that and thank you so much for your hospitality and the delicious Furikake Kettle Corn and Cracklin Beer Can Chicken with the salsa roja & verde (and the drinks!).

I moved to the East Coast, so I’m not able to visit your restaurants as often as I’d like, but I’ve heard nothing but good about your new Line Hotel – can’t wait to try it out.

Question: How and when did “feeding the people” become your mission?

RoyChoi5 karma

damn that was a long time ago at AF, no need to apologize. I found my mission six years ago on the streets of LA. The energy from the people in line opened a door in my soul and I honor that everyday

z0han3 karma

When are you bringing Kogi to the San Jose area?!

RoyChoi5 karma

shit, you got Meal Top ot there (my FAVORITE) red bean shaved ice. Trade?

Manfrenjensenjen3 karma

Congratulations on your success!

Also, is Wolf Blitzer a cyborg?

RoyChoi13 karma

i am the teen wolf blitzer and THIS is CNN

two_off3 karma

What are your favourite cooking(-related) TV shows to watch?

Can you come to Vancouver and fix our food truck scene?

RoyChoi7 karma

i like pbs food shows like america's test kitchen. absolute FAVE. vancouver seems nice, i got homies in Seattle. would love to feed y'all. you know good food up there and have such a great bounty from the earth

socalscribe3 karma

Man, thanks for bringing Chego to Chinatown! I love how that area is slowly starting to become an exciting food and cultural destination once again, and I think Chego is partially to thank for that. Did the Chinatown community embrace you once you started to set up shop?

RoyChoi4 karma

not only did they embrace us, they HELPED us. it's the youth, their moms, dads, grandparents, everyone. chinatown showed massive love for chego. george yu was instrumental in helping us build a shop and yes now others are believing in chinatown again too. pok pok, starry kitchen, scoops, etc

euthlogo3 karma

I love all of your restaurants (favorites are Pot and A Frame)

What's your favorite ramen spot in LA? What's your favorite type of ramen (other than Shin Ramyun)? Any other ramen thoughts?

RoyChoi7 karma

people are gonna hate me but i love Tatsu ramen in LA. go ahead and sound the firing squad i know because i'm supposed to say Tsujita Ramen because everyone loves Tsujita Ramen but I think they are kinda just ok even tho we showcase them in the show. so what the fuck do i know?! ha

cptn_garlock3 karma

Your cooking style fuses Mexican and Korean. Is there another style you'd like to try to learn about and fuse with others?

RoyChoi3 karma

i love french food and am truly interested in the foods of southeast asia. i don't know if i would ever fuse them but i would love to visit indonesia and eat and cook

qqwertt3 karma

Roy ! Thanks for this! Big fan of what you do & your food. Any plans to hit up Miami ? When did you know cooking was what you wanted to do? Any tips for an aspiring chef with a lot of love but little experience ?

RoyChoi4 karma

thanks, i love miami. i love your hip hop radio stations out there because y'all curse on the air n shit. experience is everything. don't take short cuts.

SisterClegane3 karma

What's the weirdest thing you've ever cooked for yourself while you were high?

RoyChoi4 karma

soupy chilaquiles with canned chili and cheese

Russ9153 karma

Hey Roy, Big Fan. I love your idea of "locol" fast food. When that hits the ground running what type of expansion are you looking into? I'd love to get some of your inspired foods on the east coast.

RoyChoi9 karma

thanks, we want to go toe to toe with all the big boys. start small in SF and LA then we are gonna go to Detroit for first location outside of cali then the world. so you will see us for sure on the beast coast

chimsliz3 karma

Hi Roy! As a Korean-American, any Korean food made by my mom brings me home. What's the dish your mom makes that no one else can make better?

RoyChoi7 karma

kimchi jiggae and mauen tang. her bbindaedduk is pretty unbeatable too. i grew up on all this. it made me into the twisted soul that i am :)

RoyChoi3 karma


ray9x3 karma

Hi Chef!

What are you thoughts on balancing authenticity and tradition, while still trying to push the boundaries of food? Can you shout out other restaurants who are also killing it on that front?

See ya at LINE soon. K-Town reppin'! :)

RoyChoi11 karma

nothing is authentic and tradition is in the human mind. we can create new ones as long as we are honest. I think it's more important to challenge authenticity and tradition than accepting them if they are old and irrelevant. Thanksgiving anyone?!!! Momofuku is legend

fnfactor3 karma

Love your food! What cuisine do you feel is not represented well in the Los Angeles street food scene?

RoyChoi14 karma

i would say thai street food. it's amazing over there and if we had that on our streets, shit would be crackin

serhm3 karma

Hey Roy, as someone who has climbed the ladder to being the sous chef of a fine dining establishment locally and looking to move up in a larger city, what advice can you offer for obtaining that goal?

RoyChoi7 karma

focus on your craft. when it's time to be a chef and run your own kitchen you will know or the universe will throw you into the deep end and you will have to figure that shit out. but if you chase your tail and skip steps like some of these competition contestants do then you will struggle the rest of your career. head down, knife sharp, taste everything, corner to corner. focus on that! then you move on and you will be ready

serhm3 karma

Unfortunately I was offered the position of Head Chef at the restaurant, but turned it down because I thought I was going to quit for something higher paying (my checks are not that great), and they offered it to a new hire, fresh out of culinary school. I feel like I set myself back.

RoyChoi9 karma

pay is never great in the kitchen, even when you make it to the top. don't worry, you didn't miss out. the craft itself is all you got. stay true to it and it will be true to you. if you need more money then go to a hotel for awhile and get a good pay and benefits, work on the craft, and bounce back to something else more high profile if you want

nikeeterz3 karma

hey, what are some of your favorite food trucks in the Northeast area? I loved Street Food with Roy Choi!

RoyChoi4 karma

thanks on street food for loving it. we did our best, convince cnn to take it long form and on tv. ha! cnn.com/roychoi northeast i don't know too well sorry

changstagangsta3 karma

Hey Roy! Which "celebrity chef" do you respect the most and why?

RoyChoi7 karma

i respect eric ripert but he's not a celebrity chef per se. he is the truth and a seeker of it.

Deadmanx1324893 karma

What is your favorite board game to play ?

RoyChoi17 karma

i roll weed on board games

RoyChoi10 karma

i like chess tho

euthlogo3 karma

What album is on heavy rotation for you rn?

RoyChoi10 karma

Dilated Peoples: Directors of Photography

Anfini3 karma

Love your food, Roy. Been to all your places. After seeing your CNN series, I get the feeling you can take the Tony Bourdain route, but you'll be going to various hoods and barrios around the world. If this happens, will your career as a chef be put on the side burner?

RoyChoi3 karma

thanks!!! depends on the show. right now i am heavily involved in all my restaurants and trucks. they are my family. just because you get a job do you leave your family? so it would depend. i don't think i could ever leave them all the way, but if i do get a show that goes around the world then yes i will have to re calibrate everything. it will all reveal itself it it's meant to be

euthlogo3 karma

Favorite diner in LA?

RoyChoi5 karma

The Nickel and Pann's

senkichi3 karma

Hey Ryan, thanks for the great food! Question, why do your trucks only give out sporks? I ask because I ordered a wet burrito a month ago and eating it with a plastic spork was one of the most frustrating things I have ever attempted. Great burrito, but damn man, that fucking spork.

RoyChoi11 karma

we consolidate for the sake of the environment. i know that sounds stupid but it's true. the spork is the answer.

cptn_garlock3 karma


RoyChoi7 karma

fuck what your parents think (in regards to your career) love them for being them and love them for being family. but this is your life. do what you want and do your best, they will love you more for that, even if the road is difficult in the middle.

SisterClegane2 karma

Hey Roy! I've had so many great meals at your restaurants in LA; saw you once at Chego in Palms and it made my day. Also loving the new CNN series.

What's your favorite dish at POT? Or I guess: what would you recommend ordering your first time at POT?

RoyChoi3 karma

thank you. i love the Jamaal Wilkes and Kimchi Fried Rice at POT. tofus soup and fried rice respectively. they mean a lot to me

Axel9272 karma

Hi Roy,

I'm really excited for your digital series. Also, Chef was one of my favorite films of the year - thanks for making it so delicious.

If you could have one last meal, what would it be?

Also, what is your favorite book?

Thanks so much!

RoyChoi7 karma

why do you want me to die? i'm just getting started. ha. but let's eat burritos for this imaginary death today. favorite book is on the road and where the wild things are and the giving tree

steelcoffeemug2 karma

HAHA, great imgur pic! Have you lost the facial hair for good?

RoyChoi3 karma

growing it back now as we speak. muthafuckas all asking me where's your goatee. even in spanish my crews have been clowning me like jefe, adonde su bigote? i'm growing it back. too much stress...

i-like-ike2 karma

Hi Roy -what's the best way for me to get your book signed by you to me? I kind of want you to write down that I'm the baddest mofo you've ever met.

RoyChoi6 karma

Ha. I feel like a character in a Tarantino movie with that title. just come by POT or Chego and drop it off and I will sign

agent47AMA2 karma

Hey Ryan, big fan. What are some of your favorite spices to use?

RoyChoi4 karma

coriander seed, black pepper, cumin seed, juniper berries

prettymuthafucka2 karma

I'm moving to LA soon. Would you sit down for a meal with me?

RoyChoi3 karma

from one prettymuthafucka to another, sure.

prettymuthafucka2 karma

And a blunt of course. I'll bring that you cook?

RoyChoi5 karma


ooppee2 karma

Hey chef! I'm going to Seoul in two days! I plan on crushing food 24/7. Any street food recommendations???

RoyChoi5 karma

seoul is not like that where you name a specific stall or anything. it's always changing. so it's important to focus on neighborhoods and float. shinsa dong, hongdae, shinchon, apkujong, wangshimni, myung dong. have fun

steelcoffeemug2 karma

From the movie "Chef" has the thought about taking one of the Kogi trucks on a road-trip come up? Like a long distance kind of road trip for a few weeks to visit college campuses, culinary schools, etc?

RoyChoi6 karma

shit we can barely make it out of LA. it's like roulette everytime we turn the key. but a road trip sounds fun. with LOTS of weed and good tunes

jchas52 karma

Hi Roy;

Did you ever envision the explosion of the food truck industry? Is this industry here to stay or is it a launching pad for new foods that will eventually get delivered through traditional mean, e.g. brick and mortar restaurants?

Thanks for inspiring all the good eats through out LA.

RoyChoi5 karma

i never imagined anything other than making tacos for the people in front of me. but the energy then gave me and my team the imagination to dream and trust our instincts. of course it's here to stay because it was here before twitter. it's the way the whole latino culture eats and working class citizens enjoy their lunch. and now it's spread it's wings to involve everyone. it's a beautiful thing that helps small business in america and beyond. grassroots underground independent love

euthlogo2 karma

Will you ever start another truck?

RoyChoi8 karma

kogi is my life. i am a one woman truck man

mustbeyang2 karma

hey Roy, what's your favorite chipotle order? they forgot to interview the king of street food for this article.


RoyChoi6 karma

i don't really eat chipotle but much love to them

anjeylovescheese2 karma

When was the last time you and Eddie Huang hung out?

RoyChoi7 karma

i saw the Based FOB about two months ago in chinatown. i love what he's doing and will champion the homie in whatever he does. we ate chego with Andy Ricker, talked about shorties, and just hung out

Shugbug19862 karma

You ever consider having your own YouTube channel and show how to prepare some of your favorite dishes? Also I loved the movie chef! It was really good.

RoyChoi3 karma

i do have my own channel now cnn.com/roychoi peep it. thanks on chef the movie. more to come on the videos hopefully. bother cnn for season 2

Thinksforfun2 karma

Hey Roy, Have you considered expanding your dessert menu? They're so good!

RoyChoi3 karma

ha, thanks. it's all from the hip. we used to have a pastry chef but she moved on to pie hole and since then it's been us savory guys trying our best. i appreciate that. at POT tho, we have an amazing pastry chef and i'm proud of the desserts at the line hotel and POT. people sleep on our red bean ice

euthlogo2 karma

What aspect of the Line Hotel are you most proud of?

RoyChoi5 karma


anjeylovescheese2 karma

What's the weirdest street food that you've ever tried?

RoyChoi7 karma

the dirty water hot dog in NYC is pretty weird in a delicious way too

RoyChoi5 karma

silk worms in korea

JMan6042 karma

Hi Roy! Love what you stand for and the love you bring to the people of LA. If you were to get stuck with 3 chefs in an island with you, who would it be and why?

RoyChoi2 karma

Daniel Patterson Jon Shook Vinny Dotolo because i love these three fools and we are intertwined already

euthlogo2 karma

Are there any popular dishes that you can't stand?

RoyChoi4 karma

kale salad

forensics4092 karma

Hi Roy,

I was wondering if you could tell me what your go to cook books are/were (when you were starting out)? Whether it's just for a recipe to make or for inspiration. I do a lot of cooking at home and I'm always looking to expand my abilities.

Also, how much work did it take to get Jon Favreau up to your standards, since I know that he did a lot of the cooking in "Chef"? The movie was absolutely fantastic, by the way. My girlfriend and I enjoyed it so much that we were smiling for hours afterwards.

RoyChoi3 karma

thank you on Chef. Half the work was Jon being able and willing. He really made the role, I just gave him some thoughts and details but he had to bring it to life. He is a talented mutha that man is. early cookbook loves are Sauces by James Peterson, Escoffier, Zuni Cafe, Jacques Pepin La Methode and La Technique

euthlogo2 karma

What do you order to judge a taco truck?

RoyChoi11 karma

al pastor and carne asada plus i taste the salsas and look at the taquero's face

koalakushy1 karma

Roy Choi! I loved the movie Chef, and I'm going to use your pork recipe in the slow cooker this weekend. Any chance of bringing some korean street food onto trucks? I'd love to see what you could do with dukbokki and soondae, but please leave the silk worms alone! Much love from ktown!

RoyChoi2 karma

have you ever heard of Kogi? we have been bringing ktown food to the streets for six years

aglowa1 karma

What works best with korean bbq? Having it for the first time tomorrow.

RoyChoi6 karma

soju, kimchi, friends, old clothes that you don't mind stinking up, stretchable pants. enjoy!!!

rollDeezStones1 karma

How'd you get to know/reach out to Bambu from LA? #partyWorker

RoyChoi2 karma

Bambu!!!!!! i've been a fan like forever then through kogi it all connects. the hip hop community has mad love for kogi, so whenever i meet someone they just give love like no other. i started connecting with Bam over twitter just like we all do these days then finally met him through Evidence at Ev's concert at The Viper Room where Bam opened up for him. I was so nervous like yo that's Bam then he found I was the kogi dude and he was like yo that's the kogi due...ha and we both got over our excitement and kicked it.

rollDeezStones1 karma

haha, I was starstruck first time I met him too.

just saw your name on this Party Worker album liner notes (just came out today for backers!) and didn't know you had such a big contribution to that project aside from the collaborative Kickstarter rewards.

peace from Orlando.

RoyChoi1 karma


Soulrise1 karma

I'm from the Bay Area and can't wait for Loco'l to open. Any chance Kogi and Chego might make their way up too?

RoyChoi3 karma

thanks on loco'l. Bay Area Kogi would be a beautiful thing. I love the Yay so much. we are trying but like I said before, Kogi is a spiritual beast and very stubborn. everytime we try to grow it, it wants to stay underground and low low. but we are trying to grow it. it's kinda like me in my early twenties. stubborn and powerful.

Anfini1 karma

I remember you were in Austin, Texas awhile back. I'm planning a BBQ crawl next year for my vacation. So I'd like to know which BBQ joint has the best brisket?

RoyChoi3 karma


k1rkm1 karma

How many waffles does it take to cover a roof?

RoyChoi1 karma

watch out for the fries