On Sunday, October 11, the Korean American Coalition hosted the city’s first-ever Korean Food Festival in Northwest Portland, a chef-centered event for gochujang fanatics and bulgogi newbies alike. With bouncy K-pop blasting and soju cocktails flowing, everyone had a smile on their kimchi-smothered faces—even mayor Charlie Hales.

From authentic staples to creative twists on Korean favorites, there was not a bad bite to be had. A few standouts: melt-in-your-mouth galbi skewers from PJ Yang, Toro Bravo’s otherworldly octopus and oyster pancakes, and fried chicken sliders with a spicy gochujang and tamarind sauce on a bouncy, chewy bun courtesy of Stray Dogs’ Peter Cho and Johnny Leach. Not to mention Beaverton's Gobugi Market and their array of delicious ddeock, a Korean rice cake (thank you, Gobugi, for teaching a white girl how to say “ddeock”).

If 2015 was any indication, we’ll be first in line next year for the mashup of authentic Korean cooking and chef-driven, only-in-PDX riffing.

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