Roy Choi Is Releasing His Secret Weapon Teriyaki Sauce At Costco

Chef Roy Choi, creator of Korean-Mexican fusion food truck operation Kogi, is now bringing a staple ingredient of his Los Angeles-based street tacos to Costco shelves. Choi's sweet garlic teriyaki, which the chef has nicknamed "The Secret Weapon" in an announcement post on Instagram, is the newest iteration of his signature sauce line to come to Costco after he released his Korean BBQ sauce in the supermarket chain last year.

Choi has been operating Kogi since 2008 as a cost-saving measure to shield his restaurant business against the economic onslaught of the Great Recession. Since then, he has turned the LA street truck into a national brand and helped popularize the concept of food trucks with the help of a highly active social media campaign. He has made his sauces available for home kitchens on Kogi's website and at select retailers in California, Arizona, and Nevada. It's unclear if the sweet garlic teriyaki sauce is available in Costco country-wide or if, like the Korean BBQ predecessor, is only available in the southern California and Hawaii markets.

The story of the sauces

Although Kogi has been serving tacos and burritos stuffed with Korean flavorings for 15 years, Choi didn't start selling his sauces and marinades until recently. It wasn't until 2018, ten years after his first truck opened, that he brought his Korean BBQ sauce to a broader market, and even then, it was only available wholesale to other restaurant and kitchen retailers. In 2021, he sold the sauce to the supermarket warehouse chain Smart & Final before making bottled retail versions of his sweet garlic teriyaki, his sweet and spicy BBQ sauce and his spicy Boom Boom sauce.

"People would always say, 'How can I get your sauce?'" Choi told the Los Angeles Times. "For 10 years, I told them I'm just trying to prep the food and keep up. We ended up putting sauces in deli cups and selling them for $2." The chef called the "garlic roasted chile soy" sauce his "secret weapon" in the same interview, explaining that "they are straight-up representations of the actual sauces from the truck." The food truck format is vital to Choi's success, but that means that the kitchens are highly localized to the LA area, never truly moving out of their home city and base of operations. "We never figured out how to expand the Kogi BBQ outlets, but the next best thing was the sauces." Now that Choi is releasing his sauces and marinades to a wider public, Kogi's name is growing even bigger.