Jae Kim is the founder of Chi’lantro BBQ. The business started out in 2010 with a food truck in Austin, Texas serving a fusion of Korean kimchi and Mexican cilantro dishes. Chi’lantro’s most popular dish is its original Kimchi Fries — covered in caramelized kimchi, cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, onions, cilantro, “magic sauce,” sesame seeds and sriracha. One dish sells for $8. Add a protein — Spicy Pork, Spicy Chicken, Soy-Glazed Chicken, Tofu or Ribeye Beef — for an extra dollar.
[LEFT: You can’t reproduce Chi’lantro’s magic at home, but you can try with this classic Kalbi marinade.]
Over the past five years, Chi’lantro BBQ has opened a number of brick and mortar restaurants in Austin and is looking to expand nationally. That’s why Kim is pitching Chi’lantro on Shark Tank. (He’s auditioned three times!) If Kimchi Fries aren’t enough to tempt the investors, perhaps Chi’lantro’s tech savvy clientele will impress. Chi’lantro trucks and restaurants are ideally located near the offices of Google and NCSoft (makers of Blade and Soul) among others. And Chi’lantro famously does not accept cash. They accept Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and credit and debit cards. Shark Tank airs Fridays at 9pm on ABC.