The location of Penn’s Korean/Japanese food cart (and arguably Penn’s best food cart overall) is ideal for two rather large groups of Penn students: Huntsmanites and Pottruck-loyalists. KoJa sits quietly at the corner of 38th and Walnut, though the delicious aroma travels far beyond the cross street.
Though on the expensive side as far as food carts are concerned, KoJa attracts a considerable following (with lines 15-20 minutes long at peak meal times). If you’re a smart KoJa eater, however, you’ll show up after 3 p.m. on Fridays, when every entrée is $4.50. Memorable and tasty options include the rice noodle platter, stir fry with vegetables, sukiyaki and teriyaki. Both dishes offer protein choices of chicken, beef, pork, squid or tofu. Customers can order either mild or “hot & spicy,” but spicy is certainly the best way, if not the only way to go. The rice noodle platter ($5-6.50) comes sticky and plentiful, with plenty of chicken and crunchy cabbage dressed in just enough special sauce and plenty of red pepper. The stir fry, sukiyaki and teriyaki all come with fried dumplings and rice included. Unless you’re famished, you’ll definitely have some left over for those late night cravings. Traditional Korean dishes such as Kim Bop ($4, a Korean version of sushi, some say), Kimchi Chigae ($5, Korean fermented vegetables boiled with meat) and Job Chae ($6.50, stir fried noodles with vegetables) also populate the menu.
Some of the best things about KoJa can’t be found on the menu. The hot tea they serve you when it’s cold out and you’re waiting in line, the episode of America’s Funniest Home Videos playing on repeat or the $1 KoJa honey lemonade available only upon specific request are what keep people coming back. The smiling faces in the window don’t hurt either.
KoJa Food Truck 38th and Walnut St. (267) 322-9925 Don’t Miss: Rice noodle platter, $4.50 Fridays Skip: Long lines by calling ahead Bottom Line: Korean food well worth the wait