When Susie Song moved from Chicago to Portland, OR she found a “liberal and artsy food, music and lifestyle” scene that she loved. What she didn’t find? Korean street food. Song had cooked in restaurants before, but had never run her own business. She’s now the chef/owner of one of the trendiest food carts in a city full of trendy food carts.
Ko Sisters Seoul Food is part of Cartside Food Carts, a pod of seven food trucks with indoor and outdoor seating, free wi-fi and flatscreen TVs. There’s even a new taphouse pouring beer, cider and wine to go with the trucks’ dishes.
As someone who always loved cooking for family and friends, Song wanted to make sure the focus of her business was the food itself, which is one of the reasons she chose to open a food truck instead of a full service restaurant. She seems to have done just that since she opened in June 2020, landing on Eater Portland’s list of “Knockout Korean Restaurants” and best fried chicken spots in the city.
Besides being tasty, Ko Sisters dishes are fun and photogenic. The gochujang glazed rice cakes and corn dog/mozzarella stick hybrid both come on sticks and are internet favorites. Song says customers are eager to try new dishes and welcoming of her menu, which includes Korean favorites like bibimbap, kalbi and seafood pancakes. She’s also a handheld meal evangelist, saying, “Anything can be held on a stick. Why not make everything easy to eat on the go?”
Despite the craziness of the past year, Song is grateful that the opportunity to open Ko Sisters at Cartside came about. “It’s been a very isolating year due to Covid,” she explained, “so to have this tight-knit group of carts working through the pandemic has been a blessing.” She has learned that “food will always bring us together, no matter the challenges.” Song is incredibly appreciative of everyone who has patronized Ko Sisters since it opened and looking forward to the relationships and discussions that will blossom with masks out of the equation, as well as new menu items and catering opportunities.
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