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Mexico Meets Korea With Fiery Tacos for Cinco de Mayo

By Serena Solomon | April 30, 2014 6:43am
 The chef at Kimchi Grill and Taco Truck dishes details on how to blend Korean  gochujang  with salsa.
Kimchi Grill and Taco Truck
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MANHATTAN — Cinco de Mayo is less than a week away, and for those looking to cook up a celebration of Mexican heritage, DNAinfo New York can help.

We've collected recipes from some of the best Mexican restaurants across the five boroughs, presenting a dish each day that you can prepare for Cinco de Mayo weekend — from fabulous flan to sweet sangria.

A taco truck that roams Manhattan mixes the flavors of Korea and Mexico. The combination is not as odd as it sounds, insists Kimchi Grill and Taco Truck director Tina Chiu-Maes.

"Both Mexicans and Koreans are huge spice lovers," she said.

For Cinco de Mayo, Mike Calderon, the chef at Kimchi, has created a recipe that combines shrimp in a fiery marinade that's made with the staple Korean condiment gochujang (a fermented hot pepper paste). The entree is topped with tequila salsa.

Here's a DIY guide for spice-loving revelers who either aren't near Kimchi's taco truck or can't reach the popular restaurant at 766 Washington Ave., in Prospect Heights.

Fiery Shrimp Marinade
1/8 cup gochujang (a fermented hot pepper paste)
1/2 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
1/2 lime, zest and juice
Salt and coarse black pepper to taste
1/2 pound raw peeled shrimp
1 tablespoon canola oil

Tequila Salsa
1/4 cup diced plum tomato
1/2 cup diced cucumber
1/4 cup diced daikon
1 1/2 tablespoons diced jalapeño
1/8 cup diced red onion
1/8 cup diced cilantro
1 lime, zest and juiced
1/4 cup tequila
Salt & coarse black pepper to taste

Serve with lightly toasted corn tortillas and queso blanco cheese


1. Mix shrimp marinade ingredients well.

2. Add marinade to shrimp.

3. Marinate four to six hours or overnight.

4. Add oil to griddle or pan.

5. Sear shrimp on griddle or sauté.

6. Add salsa ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Salt and pepper to taste.

7. Wrap shrimp with tortillas. Top with tequila salsa and sprinkle with queso blanco cheese.