Korean Philly Cheesesteak is the Next Great Mashup

Cheesesteak lovers, get out your map. Your favorite sandwich is about to get a crazy good global twist from a chef who's got impressive fine dining chops.

korean philly cheesesteak sandwich
Marination's Korean Philly Cheesesteak. Photo: Leslie Kelly

Purists from Pennsylvania will probably scoff, but one bite of chef Mario Hevia's Korean Philly Cheesesteak will likely sway skeptics. "I just wanted to change things up and do something different with one of my favorite sandwiches," said Hevia, a native of Chile, who has cooked in some of this country's most acclaimed restaurants including Alinea in Chicago and the Seattle icon, Canlis. He developed the recipe as the new executive chef for the Marination restaurant group in Seattle, where the menus have a Hawaiian accent, but also go off in all sorts of interesting directions. Hello, Kalua pork-topped fries that are inspired by Canadian poutine, and a Hawaiian quesadilla stuffed with country ham, pineapple, cheddar, and fiery peppers.

From Classic to Fusion

  • Change up the meat. Traditionally, Philly Cheesesteaks are made with shaved rib eye, yet as the price of beef has gone up, the main ingredient has changed over the years. Chef Mario focuses on short rib, or if that's not available, top round because those cuts are very flavorful. He sears the marinated meat on a flat-top grill or in a grill pan until the meat begins to caramelize.
  • Add some kick. Kimchi is tossed in with the sauteed onions and bell peppers, adding a whole new kick. Jalapenos bring some heat, but not too much.
  • Get extra gooey. Chef Mario melts the cheese on its own in the pan before gently laying it on the top of the finished sandwich, making it extra gooey.
  • Grilling is great, but a pan works, too. If you do fire up the barbecue, a grill pan is helpful in keeping the small pieces of meat from falling through the grate. Inside, heat the grill pan on medium high for the best sear. Don't be tempted to turn the meat too often. Let it sizzle for a few minutes before checking.
  • Toast the rolls. Sandwich rolls are buttered and toasted under the broiler, which keeps them from falling apart.
  • Put it together. Chopsticks are an amazing tool for assembling a sandwich that looks photo-worthy.
korean philly cheesesteak chef Mario
Chef Mario from Marination created a cheesesteak with a Korean accent. Photo by Leslie Kelly.

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