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Posted: 2010-10-18
Categories: Projekt NewSpeak

 

The Mexi-Asian Persepctive: A Mexican’s Guide to All Things Latin, Asian, or Both by David A. Romero

 

El Sereno… land of Mexicans, Woodrow Wilson High School, train tracks, warehouses, graffiti and… spicy kimchi? It is if Travis Cho, owner and head chef at Red Hot Kitchen: Asian and Mexican Fusion, has anything to say about it!

 

In the process of devouring a red hot chimichanga and spicy fish burrito, both large and tasty enough to keep me satisfied for days, I had a chance to sit down with Cho and discuss his unique culinary creations.

 

What gave you the idea to create Asian Mexican fusion food?

I have been thinking about it quite a long time, it’s been over ten years. I always said, “I will open a restaurant when I retire…” but I am not retired yet, but I opened a restaurant.   I still have a job at a marketing company which I still work part time, and this job took lot out me and I needed to find a hobby to forget stress.  Cooking was the answer.  I always sampled food especially with Korean and Mexican food because there are lot of similarities with the seasoning and types of food.  For example Koreans use fresh leafy vegetables as a vehicle to wrap the meat called ssam rather than tortillas for tacos.

 

Where are you from? Was there a strong Latin and/or Asian influence there?

I am originally from Chicago.  I grew up with a majority of Hispanic kids all through elementary and high school.   Every time I slept over at my best friend’s house who was Mexican, his mom used to make us quesadillas, tacos, and enchiladas. This is where I learned home cooked Mexican food.

 

What is your nationality (if you don’t mind me asking)? Do you have lots of Latin and/or Asian friends or family?

I am Korean American.  I have more American friends than Asian friends.

 

What’s your favorite item on the menu?

Most favorite item is the chimichanga, which is a big deep fried tortilla filled with seasoned rice, choice of meat, beans, cheese, and special house sauce.  It’s really good.  But you have to take a nap after eating one.

 

 What’s the most popular item on the menu?

Korean bbq tacos & burritos and of course, the chimichanga.

 

 Do you get any negative responses to making Asian Mexican fusion food? Does anyone say anything racist about either culture? How do you deal with that as an owner?

All I have heard was the compliments for far.  I try to stay close to original cultural recipes without offending them.  No overkill.  When you taste my food you will taste the Hispanic flavors and Asian flavors at the same time.

 

Do you think Asian Latin Fusion food is just a trend, or the future?

I think it’s the future.  More restaurants will pop up all over the place.  I think it’s a great way to sample foods of a different culture without the culture shock.   I am looking into opening more restaurants as well.

 

Who is your favorite Latin celebrity, historical figure, or fictional character?

Honestly I can’t really think of anybody, but I always liked Julio.

 

Would you rather date an Asian or someone of Latin descent?

Well, I dated a Mexican in High School, but I married a Korean.

 

Any last words or shout outs?

I think my shout out will be don’t be afraid of what you want to do.  Do what you like to do, then you will be happy. I commute over an hour each way, but I enjoy what I am doing so I do not complain.

 Go check out

Red Hot Kitchen: Asian and Mexican Fusion

4625 Valley Blvd

Los Angeles, CA 90032

 

David A. Romero is a cheese enchilada-making spoken word artist who knows a great deal about Mexicans. A lover of boba and a citizen of Diamond Bar, CA, he also knows a thing or two about Asians.

 

Have any ideas for the blog? Questions? Comments? Email me at davidaromero@projektnewspeak.com