Or, 'Bringin' the Kimchi to the D.C.'
In October of 2006, the District reversed a moratorium on sidewalk vendors in an attempt to diversify the downtown culinary landscape. Under this new legislation, half-smoke carts can share the roads with trucks vending chicken and waffles, tacos, falafel or anything the heart desires. Sadly, just a few new entrepreneurial minds have stepped forward, and the most consistent (in terms of showing up and actual flavor) is a Korean cart known as L Street Vending on the southeast corner of 14th and L Street.
A tub of homemade kimchi welcomes you with big silver tongs hanging out, ready to scoop. The big, leafy cabbage hunks aren't spicy, as in they'll activate the tear ducts spicy, but it should get your attention. Behind the counter, the son and mom chef-cum-cashiers are Korean and make it fresh at home.
Bulgogi and bibimbap are the "house" (mobile home?) specialties. For each, meat options include beef or chicken, regular or spicy, and a veggie option for bibimbap. Bulgogi was filling, but the spicy beef is slightly reminiscent of a sloppy Joe's: a bit sweet and tomato saucey.
Bibimbap is the way to go, especially for the indecisive eater. A little of this, a little of that. You get a choice of meat with fried egg, bean sprouts and carrot slices. "As good to eat as it is fun to say! Bee-beem-bop! Bee-beem-bop!" my friend wisely noted.
Another option—the boring one, in my opinion—is the chicken Teriyaki. Moist and flavorful, given all the dark meat, it hits the spot, but just a step up from Panda Express.
L Street Vending
Address: 14th Street NW & L Street NW, Washington, DC 20005 (map)