The last time K-pop sensation Psy’s song Gangnam Style ran through my head was back when I wrote about Shin Ramyun Black Premium Noodle Soup. Leave it to a Korean-American sandwich to revive that earworm. The Fat Gangnam Boy ($12) being served up by Kimchi Smoke every Saturday at LIC Flea & Food is aptly named. The soft hero roll overflows with bulgogi ribeye topped with grilled onions, chipotle bourbon BBQ sauce, American cheese, and kimchi pickles. It’s the type of sandwich you have to take your watch off to eat, that is to say gloriously messy and delicious.
Robert Cho, the man behind Kimchi Smoke, is quick to point out that what he’s doing isn’t fusion. “It’s the way Korean’s have been eating for 30 or 40 years, we put kimchi on everything,” he said. In Cho’s case that includes low and slow barbecue; the smoked kimchi and pork shoulder he sampled me was amazing smoky, fiery, and funky. Like Cho himself the food is Korean and American.
The Fat Gangnam boy eats like a Korean take on a Philly cheese steak, but Cho says that was necessarily his intent. “American cheese reminds me of my childhood because that’s the cheese I grew up with,” he explains. Hopefully dancing around C+M headquarters will help me to work off some of the calories that I’ll be consuming at his stand this summer.