Koi in a Portland pond.

Koi Fusion started out as a humble food truck.

Now–it’s rapidly expanded and gained so much renown that new locations have popped up all over Portland. Seriously, it’s rather astounding to see. I’m gone for a school year and come back to home to see a Koi Fusion stand just chilling in the local mall. And the beautiful thing about Koi is that it hasn’t restricted itself to residing in the east side of Portland or downtown. It’s been exploring uncharted waters, venturing out to the west side (which is seriously dying for noteworthy eateries) and paving the way for more restaurants to move over here.

I went to the location in Bethany Village, which is actually a pretty small space with no spots inside to sit and chomp. Everyone’s got to eat the food to-go or outside. But as I stood waiting for my burrito (for which you can also determine the level of spice), I amused myself reading the decorated wall that had words praising the owner Bo Kwon’s story and boasting about the local ingredients that are GMO-free. (Less amusing was overhearing one of the staff attempting to explain to his pal some slang that was not very appropriate–but I digress.)

It was an 8 dollar burrito, wrapped in yellow, nearly fluorescent paper all snug-like. I drove home with it sitting in the passenger seat, primly taunting my hungry stomach. I also observed that it’s definitely nowhere near as large as Chipotle’s mammoth creations. But when I uncovered it, the tortilla folded neatly over everything and nothing threatened to burst out of the tortilla. Eating it was less messy than I envisioned.

The burrito was stuffed with a whole cornucopia of ingredients–kimchi fried rice (and plenty of it, YES), cabbage slaw, bean sprouts, pico de gallo, shredded mozzarella, and large chunks of chicken. Koi Fusion does not skimp on the meat, and it was marinated in this sweet sauce that had traces of oyster sauce, spicy garlic, and onions. I loved how I could taste every ingredient with each bite. There were a bunch of enthusiastic flavors–sweet from the sauce, sour from the slaw, spicy from the rice and pico. They all blended into a delicious, spunky burrito, proving that a Korean-Mexican fusion works excellently.

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Props to Koi for your splendid fare–you’re certainly a big fish in the Portland culinary pond now!

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