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Fusion Frenzy

Kun Fusion Grill blends Mexican and Korean flavors
Shawn Werner shows off Kun Fusion's massive burrito, Cindy davis and shawn werner, The big bowl. photos by todd cooper.
Shawn Werner shows off Kun Fusion's massive burrito, Cindy davis and shawn werner, The big bowl. photos by todd cooper.

There’s nothing else quite like Kun Fusion Grill in Eugene, and that’s the point, says owner Shawn Werner. 

Take Kun Fusion’s rice bowl, for example, resplendent with savory chicken, crunchy veggies and mounds of rice topped with a fried egg. It’s fusion food at its very best, combining Korean and Mexican cuisines to delicious effect. 

Imagine hefty burritos filled with sumptuous Korean barbecue meat, rice and vegetables, and you’re getting close to picturing just how delightful this cultural combination can be.

Werner, who opened the food truck with his family in December 2014, says he’s currently looking for a restaurant location to set up shop. The right partnership hasn’t come along yet, so in the meantime customers can seek out the food truck on Tuesdays and Fridays, oftentimes across from the Costco parking lot off Coburg Road. 

Kun Fusion’s roving nature doesn’t dissuade the truck’s followers — at lunchtime, Werner says, up to 50 people might wait for a quesadilla or Kyro, Werner’s tangy, Korean-influenced take on a gyro. It’s no wonder Kun Fusion won third place for best food cart in Best of Eugene 2015.

Werner, a former spokesperson for NASCAR, says that opening a food cart has long been a dream of his, and when he grew tired of the traveling life as a NASCAR employee, he came back home with the mission of bringing something unique to Eugene.

To accomplish this, Werner asked himself, “Where is the best food truck in the U.S.?”

The answer: Kogi Korean BBQ, a suite of fusion food trucks in Los Angeles that regularly garners long lines. Werner tracked down the trucks, waited in line for three hours, waited another 45 minutes after ordering and, upon tasting Kogi’s spicy pork burrito, he knew what he wanted to bring back to Eugene: Mexican-Korean fusion.

So what is Mexican-Korean fusion, exactly? “The foundation is Korean barbecue meat,” Werner says, describing the Korean aspect as the core of Kun Fusion’s flavor profile. Kun Fusion offers a handful of protein choices, including tofu, chicken and pork. The Mexican part manifests in the wrapping — tortillas for making tacos and burritos — as well as using salsa and cilantro to round out the flavor.

Werner says he gets most of his ingredients from Asian markets in Portland, and he travels there once a week to ensure all the food Kun Fusion uses is fresh. 

If you’re wondering where the name came from, Werner has two answers for you: “It’s confusing to have Korean food in a burrito,” and secondly, “it’s a reference to Domo-kun,” a well-known Japanese cartoon monster with a wide-open mouth — the toothy, anthropomorphic burritos, tacos and quesadillas that decorate the Kun Fusion truck are meant to pay tribute to the character.

Werner credits local designers Nasty Works for the food truck’s design, adding that the entire food truck experience has been a team effort.

“It’s never been just me,” he says. “Kun Fusion wouldn’t be the way it is without all the people who helped make it happen.”

Kun Fusion Grill is open 11 am to 2 pm Tuesdays and Fridays; follow on Facebook, Twitter or the Eugene Street Food app for locations.