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On the Border on the move to export bulgogi taco to U.S.

Korean-Mexican fusion bulgogi tacos just recently gained popularity in Los Angeles in the U.S. with the rise of bulgogi taco trucks run by Korean Americans.

Seizing on this momentum, the Korean franchise of On the Border Mexican Grill will export bulgogi tacos and burritos to U.S. consumers through more than 200 outlets of the U.S. restaurant, as it has developed bulgogi menus for casual dining.

“We’ve been always thinking how to introduce Korean foods to the world. And finally, the R&D team of JRW, which operates On the Border in Korea, has developed bulgogi taco and burritos,” said Jimmy Lee, CEO of JRW Inc., in an interview with The Korea Herald.
Jimmy Lee, CEO of JRW Inc., operator of On the Border restaurants in Korea, poses with new bulgogi taco and burrito menus at the On the Border restaurant in Samseong-dong in southern Seoul on Dec. 1. (Ahn Hoon/The Korea Herald)
Jimmy Lee, CEO of JRW Inc., operator of On the Border restaurants in Korea, poses with new bulgogi taco and burrito menus at the On the Border restaurant in Samseong-dong in southern Seoul on Dec. 1. (Ahn Hoon/The Korea Herald)

“We plan to present the bulgogi menus in the U.S. within six months and continue developing other menus such as quesadilla,” he said.

Bulgogi, thinly sliced beef marinated and barbecued, tends to contain a lot of water and reducing this was key to developing the right bulgogi tacos, Lee said.

On the Border’s bulgogi taco menu, priced at 14,900 won ($13) includes two tacos stuffed with bulgogi, cheese, lettuce and tomato. Mexican rice and either re-fried beans or black beans are also served.

The bulgogi burrito, priced at 15,900 won, includes two tortillas stuffed with bulgogi, Mexican rice and cheese. Salad is served as a side dish.

While other fast-food Mexican tacos sold in Seoul are priced at about 6,000-7,000 won, On the Border’s menus are generally suitable for casual dining for families and friends, Lee said.

The servings of the bulgogi tacos and burritos are large enough for two people to share one dish, he added.

About 20 percent of the guests at four outlets of On the Border in Seoul are expatriates and the restaurant will keep receiving feedback from expats to improve the bulgogi menus, Lee said.

On the Border restaurants are located in Sinchon, Samseong-dong, Yeongdeungpo and Apgujeong in Seoul.

By Kim Yoon-mi (yoonmi@heraldcorp.com)
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