Street Food Profiles: Dan Dan BBQ in Orange County, California
Name: Dan Dan BBQ. (The word "dan" in Korean refers to the black belt ranking system of karate.)
Vendor Names: Corey Crawford and Dan Quickel
What's on the menu? Korean-Mexican fusion: Korean short rib tacos, sliders (the favorite), burritos, kimchi quesadillas, bulgogi burgers, fries. We also have spicy chicken/pork/tofu in any of the above combinations.
Location and hours? Varies daily. For lunch we usually go 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dinner is 5:30 to 8 p.m. Late-night varies, but usually 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.
How long have you been street fooding? Since July of 2010.
How has Twitter affected business? We tweet everyday. The success of this business relies directly on social media. We communicate to our followers directly through these avenues, letting them know exactly where and when will be at any destination.
Why a mobile business over brick-and-mortar? It's the new craze. There are nearly 1,000 food trucks in Los Angeles and other major cities across the U.S. To finally become successful in Orange County proves that food trucks and street food are more fun, different, cheap, and quick than traditional restaurants. People can't afford to spend $10 to 20 on a healthy, gourmet meal everyday. We offer fresh, cooked-to-order food at street prices.
Who are your typical customers? Our target market in the day ranges from business men and women to families to young adults. At night we usually serve to the 21+ crowd and are parked at populated bars/clubs/lounges that fail to offer food past 10 p.m.
Describe a typical day from start to finish.
At 9 a.m., we bring prepped meat/toppings/etc to the truck. Chef starts cooking meat and preparing sides/toppings/condiments. Arrive on location by 11:15 a.m. and start doing final prep before crowd arrives. Serve lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. to roughly 50 to 200 people, depending on the spot. Arrive back at commissary around 2:30 p.m. If we are not going out the rest of the day, we pack up and leave for home.
At 3 p.m. another crew arrives to prepare food for dinner and the late night. The second team leaves the lot at around five to serve a dinner from 5:30 to 8 p.m. The same team will work the late-night shift, and they leave around 10:30 to arrive by 11 p.m. at a bar, nightclub, venue, private party etc.
We serve to anywhere between 100 to 300 people at 2 a.m.! We pack up shop and call it a night when the crowd fizzes out around 2:30 a.m. Then, we go home and prepare to do it all over again the next day!!
What were you doing before this? Project manager at a construction company. Witnessed and ate off of traditional "roach coaches" weekly and realized the potential to sell decent food and decent prices.
What makes your food so special? Can anything else like it be found in the city? The marinated Korean short rib fused with Mexican style tacos/burritos/etc. The meat is so tender and mouthwatering, you savor every last bite. There are a couple of Los Angeles-based trucks doing Korean-Mexican. The most famous and probably the largest truck operation today is Kogi BBQ.
How would you define "street food"? I would define it as quick, creative, original, delicious, gourmet and rather inexpensive food delivered to people of all ages and backgrounds.
Your comfort food after a long day? A hot pizza and a cold beer.
Advice for an aspiring vendor? This isn't a sit back and relax type of market. You have to pound every aspect of the media, every angle of food creativity and every possible avenue of finding the best spots to park your truck! Good luck, you will make it eventually.