Charleston, South Carolina, is a competitive culinary culture. Please don’t take that to mean that there are rivalries and bad blood (although there might be a bit of that, for the most part, the food community is very tight knit). However, anyone who spends any time here will tell you that there are a lot of restaurants, pop-ups, food events, and more, competing for attention.
This is especially evident at Charleston’s culinary festivals, where some of the best chefs in the country stand behind a station, work in the heat, and serve little bites to those passing by. And it was at such an event that I first encountered Roti Rolls.
In the middle of a Charleston Wine + Food Festival event, the bright green Roti Rolls truck had a line. So I got at the back of it, waited my turn, and then got a bite of Asian, Lowcountry, comforting, spicy goodness. I didn’t need to define it, I just wanted more.
Since rolling out in 2010, Roti Rolls has become the gold standard for food trucks in the Charleston area. Its fresh, locally-sourced fare is almost always wrapped up in Indian-style flatbread, and often there’s a dollop of kimchi atop it.
“I actually have four different ‘mothers’ for the kimchi going at the same time,” owner and chef Cory Burke says. “There’s actually one that’s superfunk, from 2010, when we first started.”
He is always adding veggies to the fermenting mothers, and he makes an average of 50 quarts a week. However, for big time events, that number can be much higher. At Bonnaroo last year, the truck went through 95 gallons in four days.
“I make our signature kimchi in huge tubs and stir them with a metal garden rake purchased just for that purpose.”
Cory cut down his recipe for the home cook, so get ready to add some funky fun to everything from sandwiches to eggs to noodles. Stir with a garden rake, if you like.
Roti Rolls’ Kimchi
from Cory Burke of Roti Rolls, Charleston, SC
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