Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Hangriest Hour: Quepop!

Posted By on Tue, Jul 15, 2014 at 2:00 PM

  • Photo courtesy of Kia Liszak

What you’re eating: Latin-Asian fusion food featuring homemade kimchi-seasoned fried rice and bulgogi—a thinly sliced marinated and grilled beef rib-eye. The “A.M. Pop” is a rice bowl topped with a scrambled organic egg (egg=breakfast!). Burritos and tacos come with the kimchi rice and bulgogi plus an assortment of cheese, pickled and fresh vegetables, chili-spiked crema or salsa verde.

How it happened: Doug Smith, who you might recognize as a member of the bands MASS FM and Volumen, and also as a wine distributor and all-around cool dude, recently started Quepop!, serving the fusion meals Saturday mornings at the Clark Fork River Market along with former Biga Pizza cook Greg Ragan. Smith caught the Latin-Asian fusion fever when he visited Portland, Ore., music festival Pickathon last year and formed an addiction to the Portland fusion vendor Bo Kwon Koi. “I started reading everything I could about Bo Kwon and [Los Angeles-based fusion chef] Roy Choi,” Smith says. “I decided it’s only a matter of time before this comes to Missoula—and I think I can do it.”

Secret ingredients: Smith’s biggest challenge was testing out recipes to make his kimchi—a fermented cabbage—just right. Unlike some kimchi that uses shrimp paste or oyster sauce, this one is vegan. If you’re not vegan, however, you can add the savory bulgogi for an extra $1 to any dish to satiate your meat cravings. Smith also makes the hot sauce himself.

The buzz: Smith freely admits that Missoula market-goers haven’t been quite sure what to think of kimchi-flavored brunch offerings—at least not at first. It’s true. After I tried my first Quepop! taco and shared a few bites with my friends and family, everyone decided they needed one. “Yep, that’s what always happens,” Smith says, laughing.

How to find it: Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Clark Fork River Market next to Caras Park under the Higgins Avenue bridge.

Hangriest Hour serves up fresh details on western Montana eats. To recommend a restaurant, dish or chef for Hangriest Hour, email editor@missoulanews.com.

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