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Reality

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For Koi Fusion’s creator Bo Kwon, combining traditional Korean flavors with unlikely partners was really just second nature. The oldest child of two working Korean immigrants, Kwon grew up putting together tasty concoctions for after school snacks like Kimchi Grilled Cheese sandwiches, leftover Spaghetti with Bulgogi & Kimchi, or really “just whatever was in our fridge when I was hungry; left side was the parents’ side and right was our side” he says. And the Food Truck aspect? That came easily too. While working at a nightclub as a host in downtown Portland, Kwon frequented a nearby cart pod, where he chatted up cart owners and grew familiar with the whole process of operating in Portland’s booming cart scene. When Kwon’s dad mentioned the idea of opening a traditional sit down Korean BBQ restaurant, “I said, Dad, no one likes smelling like Korean food!” Kwon reveals. But then, he saw a Korean news segment on TV lauding LA’s Kogi BBQ truck, “and it just hit me—Portland needs that!” Kwon travelled to LA the next day to receive Roy’s blessing, and with persistence, his guidance developed from there. “Roy didn’t have the ability to expand to the Portland area at the time, but he loved the idea of us developing our own concept and running with it.” Kwon’s next step was to purchase a local Mexican food truck in Portland and learn the ropes of running and operating a food cart. “I literally walked up to this lady and said, ‘I want to buy this cart from you, but only if you let me work for free for six months and teach me everything you know.’” And that’s exactly what happened. Soon enough, Kwon began serving his signature Fusion tacos on the PSU campus with help from his aunt, mom, & brother, and Koi Fusion has run with that concept. The first stationary location has received multiple facelifts since it first opened, but is still operating at SW 20th and Burnside, just outside Providence Park. Koi Fusion is rooted in Portland’s food truck scene, and is continually expanding and evolving. The company now operates an extensive catering and mobile truck department, has multiple locations in the greater Portland area, and is planning on continuing to expand throughout Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.

Bo Kwon