This summer marked a new round of competition for Los Angeles based food trucks Kogi BBQ and Bull Kogi. Their 2 dollar Korean taco menu is being assaulted by a truck offering the same cuisine for half the price. Pyongyang Express is a North Korean food truck that proudly flies the flag of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and an image of its dictator Kim Jong Il but the difference from this truck and its rivals in the Los Angeles area is that this truck was designed to provide viral marketing for a video game.
THQ’s Homefront is to be a first person shooter style game that revolves around a plot which has North Korea invading the United States in the year 2027, and is due for release in March of 2011. Although the Pyongyang Express was launched in June, the fact that the game’s release is less than 6 months away means the truck already has a use no later than stamp on it. If the rumors are true, these Los Angeles truck owners won’t have to deal with this invasion for the entire 6 months. We have heard through the grapevine that the Pyongyang Express may be headed to New York and San Francisco to market in those cities before the game’s release, leaving LA in its dust in the near future.
Behind the wheel and stove of the truck is 76 year old Bob Gottlieb, who just so happens to be a Korean War veteran, a US Korean War veteran at that. When asked about his thoughts about the fare he prepares he said, “North Korean people take much honor and care in every ingredient used in their recipes, unlike very fast, tasteless food. Pyongyang BBQ caters gourmet food and should not be considered street food.” Gottlieb also mentioned that at one of its early stops, the truck was shooed away from the front of the Korean Consulate by armed guards. Not quite what one might expect from fellow comrades.
Angeleanos have not been too concerned with this marketing ploy, as they have been more interested in the trucks motto; Subsidized Good Food for a Better America. The truck offers a simple, yet inexpensive menu which includes chicken or beef Korean tacos, chicken or beef rice bowls and kimchee quesadillas. All of these items are priced at 2 dollars and under.
Another topic that may ease the minds of the popular Korean taco trucks comes from Tyrone Miller, part of the Public Relations team at THQ, “Our goal is not to get into the food truck-management business; frankly, we’re not making any money on this.” Using a food truck as a marketing tool is nothing new as we mentioned in our article earlier this week, but even THQ wasn’t sure Americans would take kindly to their campaign. “We had a whole crisis management plan ready to go;” Miller said, “but thankfully we haven’t needed it.”
Will this Korean food truck be looked at as part of the Axle of Evil (excuse the pun), or will their customers take into account that the meals they order consist of more food than the average North Korean eats in a month, for under 5 dollars?
Have you had a chance to try out their food, if so, what are your thoughts?