Koja Kitchen opens B&M on Clement St

According to Yelp reports, Koja Kitchen opened a brick and mortar on Tuesday at 343 Clement St. The good news is that one of the best food truck operetors (and perhaps THE best Asian fusion food truck operator) now has a permanent location and an expanded menu.

The bad news is that it replaces O’Mai Cafe, with its anatomically correct bun bo Hue and Kobe beef banh mi.

I ate at the food truck once a few years and wasn’t too impressed. What do you like to order?

To be honest, I don’'t hit Koja Kitchen often because I’m always searching for something new from food trucks, but I like the sandwich with the spicy bulgogi-like filling and the Kamakaze fries. Other than it, Little Green Cyclo and Phat Thai, I haven’t been very impressed with Asian food trucks.

It’s all relative.

1 Like

Ahhh ok, I agree with you that it is pretty good “for a food truck”. I still think if I had to eat at an Asian fusion truck, it would be chairman. I can’t get enough of those steamed buns. Ever since I moved away from SF Chinatown I haven’t found a good supply of “man tou” and I really crave that plain steamed bread sometimes. Haven’t found anything really great on trucks except cupcakes and creme brûlée and donuts.

I also like the bulgogi “koja” from Koja Kitchen and the kamikaze fries. The koja(s) are like a burger but the buns consist of a slightly toasted compressed disc of rice, so its kind of like eating a rice bowl in burger form.

They also have a B&M in Berkeley near the UC campus. Haven’t tried that one.

I tried the Berkeley B&M

I like the KoJa concept of fried rice buns making a kind of portable Dolsot (hot stone bowl) Bibimbap with the crisped rice.

Unfortunately, this Beef KoJa ($6.95) fell short of that for me.

Mostly the buns! They say it’s garlic rice in the buns, but they were really bland and the crisp edges didn’t have the nuttiness that I crave in crisped rice.

For the fillings, the Bulgogi type meat was OK; very thinly sliced which I think made some bites dry-ish. The mild red sauce was on the sweet side and with the sweet marinade on the beef and the slice of pineapple made the filling overly sweet.

I didn’t notice that sriracha was an optional sauce and that might have helped balance the sweet flavors more for this particular KoJa.

Yeah, I’d never rate it as a destination, but I’ve stopped by the Berkeley store several times when I’ve been parked on that side of campus and needed a fast food style meal or snack. Which is to say I’m judging it relative to fast food (which it is, quick service). On that scale it is good and convenient for me.

I was also disappointed at the closure of O’Mai Cafe. Really good soup, banh mi and home made condiments.

I just had spring rolls and the sweet potato tater tots from Little Green Cyclo this week. I work at Mission Bay and they sometimes show up on Wednesdays. Both items I ordered were pretty wretched. Worst, Peanut. Sauce. Ever.

My esteem for Little Green Cyclo stems from their first truck, when Quynh Nguyen was doing all the cooking. (I will add that I never liked their popular garlic noodles, doused as they are with so-called “truffle oil,” which I find pretty gross.)

They now have three LGC trucks, a spin-off boba truck, a B&M at the Hall on Market St. and a commercial kitchen producing kits and sauces for retail. They may be spread pretty thin.

Not that you have any reason to return, ever, but if you do I thought the broken rice dishes were decent. I also did not like their tots but did not try spring rolls.