The food truck industry is spreading around the world, but no matter what country it gets to the vendors seem to run into the same types of distractions. “Unfair Competition” is a common push back from governmental officials and restaurant owners no matter where they live, or what language it is said in.
SEOUL, KOREA – Korea is famous the world over for its vibrant street food culture, with stalls, carts and booths selling time-tested delicacies at every turn. So it may come as a surprise to some that food trucks — vehicles outfitted to accommodate cooking facilities — were just legalized in Korea in August 2014 as a part of the deregulation efforts pushed by the Park Geun-hye administration.
Although food trucks were touted as a way to increase opportunities for young entrepreneurs who may not have the capital to rent shop space, that effect has yet to be seen because the “system to regulate food trucks is still in its infancy,” according to Bae Young-gi, who heads up the Korea Food Truck Cooperative and also runs Duriwon F&F, a food truck renovation company.
The process of legalizing food trucks has been rough, particularly because of pushback from storeowners who fear the additional competition. But this opposition has produced an unexpected, yet welcome outcome: In order to appease surrounding businesses and increase competitiveness, many food trucks feature unusual and quirky offerings, or interesting themes to add personality to their menus.
The food trucks parked at the colorful “Food Truck Market” in the trendy Common Ground mall near Konkuk University, for example, offer Korean-Mexican fusion dishes, churros, hamburgers and onigiri (rice balls wrapped in laver). The trucks are decorated with catchy phrases like “For the burger/By the burger/Of the burger” or “It’s good enough to eat!”
Food Truck Factory, a truck renovation company that gained fame by designing food trucks featured on TV, offers trucks designed for selling Greek gyros, Mexican food or Philly cheesesteaks.
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