Bulgogi Cart vs. Korean BBQ Cart: Chris6Sigma Reports

It’s been awhile since we talked about the two Korean carts on 6th Ave… the Bulgogi & Kimchi Cart on 49th btw. 6+7th, and the newer Korean BBQ cart on 50th btw. 6+7th. Well, Lunch’er Chris6Sigma checked in in the comments last week with this report.

Bulgogi & Kimchi Cart Menu 2

As a Korean, I love the fact that Korean food is becoming ‘mainstream’ enough to serve streetcart style in Midtown Manhattan. Will they ever become as popular as the ubiquitous chicken & lamb halal carts? Probably not, but all of a sudden, 6th Ave has drawn two unlikely and scrappy competitors to the street meat scene.

Korean BBQ food cart

Enter the bulgogi and kimchi cart (I’ll call it B&K for short) located at 49th & 6th and the Korean BBQ cart (I’ll call it KBBQ for short) just a block away 50th & 6th, in the vacated Happy Well Being Cart space (not sure if they’re related? ed note: they’re not). The proximity of the two carts to each other of course warrants a comparative review, so here we go!

I ordered the bulgogi and rice combo from both carts, each coming in at $7. Bulgogi, an extremely common entrée in any Korean restaurant and household, is thinly sliced beef, marinated in soy sauce, sugar, ginger, scallions and other seasonings. It’s usually pan fried (though sometimes BBQ’d), with scallions, carrots and other veggies.

side by side 2

With both bags in hand, the KBBQ cart was noticeably heavier. Upon closer inspection, the KBBQ container was a few micrometers larger than the B&K container.

Guess they source their bags from the same place.

Bulgogi & Kimchi Cart

An inside look (Bulgogi & Kimchi)

Korean BBQ Food Cart

An inside look (Korean BBQ Cart):

Both meals come with a generous serving of white rice, bulgogi, and a small side salad. Here’s a quick breakdown:

Both bulgogi’s were approximately the same texture — slightly juicy, not too fatty, and tender. However, B&K upped the flavor quotient with a heavier hand of soy sauce and sugar marinade. If you’re averse to salt, this is probably a negative trait, but I thought it was overall tastier.

Edge: Bulgogi & Kimchi

The rice bedding of each cart were nearly identical — slightly dry though still retaining the sticky and fragrant nature of a good short grain rice. I sampled the rice side by side multiple times and couldn’t come up with a clear winner.

Edge: Tie

The salad category is where the carts truly started to deviate from each other. KBBQ’s salad was composed mostly of romaine lettuce, with a single wilted cherry tomato. The salad had been heavily doused with Italian dressing and left to sit for some time, so it turned into green mush. I didn’t want to take a bite of it, but for this reviews sake, I had to. It tasted like it looks — mushy, over-seasoned, horrible, FAIL. B&K on the other hand, had a delicately dressed salad of crisp mesclun greens. I finished the B&K salad with gusto.

Edge: Bulgogi & Kimchi


The ‘X Factor’:
Much to my delight, after killing the B&K salad, I discovered a hidden treat. A small, but very well made side portion of japchae. The noodles were slightly al dente (I prefer my jap chae to be a little more tender), but the flavors were good, and it gave a little more variety to the meal.

I guess you could give credit to the KBBQ cart for giving slightly more food for the same price, but both meals are very filling regardless.

Edge: Bulgogi & Kimchi

The Winner:
Bulgogi & Kimchi is the clear winner with their more flavorful bulgogi, crisper salad, and jap chae surprise. Now everyone can stop whining about how there’s no good Korean food outside of 32nd st.


Bulgogi Cart on 49th Finally Comes into its Own
First Look: Bulgogi Hot Dogs & Short Rib Tacos From New Korean BBQ Cart

Photos courtesy of Chris6Sigma


  • LOVE Japchae!!!
    Dont love bulgogi though… I’d a galbi person!

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    I’m definitely going to have to try these now (at least B&K)…I’ve walked by both carts dozens of times but never took the plunge. Thanks for the great review.

  • is that sauteed carrots on the top? Also is that a hot sauce? and where is kimchi?

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    Why can KBBQ stay, but Happy Well Being had to leave almost the exact same spot?

    Please come back, Happy Well Being cart.

  • @ mkim – Kimchi is $1 extra at the Bulgogi & Kimchi cart, but I didn’t want to offend my co-workers too much with the smell. The red sauce was a slightly watered down ssamjang (I think they had to water it down so it would work with a squeeze bottle). The orange things were sauteed bell peppers.

    @ MikeNYC – I’m guessing that gender had something to do with it. The two dudes running the Korean BBQ truck looked pretty battle hardened. However, the Happy Well Being House was staffed by by two ladies, so I guess they would have been easier to intimidate.

  • Great review! Eating salad drenched in Italian dressing with bulgogi would confuse my tastebuds, I think… =)

  • i can also say w/ a pretty high confidence a kalbi review between the two carts would be identical to what is above.

  • i’d pay $2 more and get the bulgogi from cafe duke.

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    Nice review. I’ve had both but not side by side.

    In kbbq’s defense, I do like their korean tacos. Mostly cause it is different than anything else. But you almost need two orders to get full. The bulgogi hot dog I have passed on. A co- worker didn’t think it worked.

  • Funny because before I read the bottom comparison, I looked at the pictures and thought “I hate mixed greens/mesclun salads generally” and picked the FAIL one. Then I thought I was silly because who picks the cart they go to based on the free side they get with the meal? THEN I realized… me. lol. Great write up.

  • BTW – Neither of these carts are here today. I was going to go, but went to Sabor instead.

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