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Philly Cheesesteaks Get a Korean Twist at Koja Grille

Bulgolgi beef gives the American classic a kick in flavor

Visiting Philadelphia means constantly being within spitting distance of a cheesesteak. Options range from the classics to hidden gems to creative interpretations of the traditional sandwich formula, but only one promised a flavor so bold that it lured Eater LA editor and K-Town host Matthew Kang all the way from the West Coast to try it.

At Koja Grille — a popular food truck that recently opened as a brick-and-mortar restaurant — cheesesteaks get a Korean makeover with the addition of bulgogi beef. Bulgogi is thinly sliced and coated in a sweet, soy- and ginger- spiked marinade, a favorite preparation in Korean barbecue and in Kang’s childhood lunches. On a cheesesteak, however, the familiar dish is transformed, thanks to a layer of oozy American cheese.

It’s the kind of inexpensive but flavorful fare that college kids line up for, and the Koja team has clearly have identified their market: The truck (just called Koja) used to post up on 38th and Walnut Street in UPenn territory, while Koja Grille is located in north Philly, surrounded by Temple University.

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