One of the main draws for visitors to Mexico in general and Mexico City in particular is the vibrant street and hole-in-the-wall food vendors that are dotted all over the place.
My apathy for this style of Mexican food – particularly tacos – is given frequent mention and I haven’t fallen in love with El Cartel and Bodega quite in the same way that the rest of Edinburgh has, although I recognise both are doing top-notch work in their field.
I had of course seen a bit of taco action already at Mercado San Juan and Jacinta. And then there were the tacos at Pujol although they were rather a different ballgame.
As with my empanada hunt in Santiago, I’d had fairly mixed fortunes on some wanderings around the various vendors with nothing really grabbing my attention.
I stopped at the excellently named Taqueria Tlaquepaque on one of my last afternoon’s in town and had what was probably my best cheap and cheerful taco experience.
Tlaquepaque was a bit bigger than the average hole-in-the-wall place occupying two shopfronts, but it was a very similar set-up.
A cook at the front was working pretty much non-stop making fresh corn tortillas, fillings and so forth for a mix of people lurking at the front counter and those who’d crammed in to sit at a formica table inside. I was in the latter camp as I needed a little sit down after some of my usual aimless strolling.
I kept things simple and classic with an order of tacos pastor and a glass of horchata. This came to $55.
The pastor bit means that the filling is from the elephant’s leg, the massive skewers of kebab meat popular across many cultures and a post-pub staple in the UK. These generally looked much more analogous to the ones you see in Istanbul than our sometimes peely-wally imitations, though.
The portion comprised three tacos to which you were invited to add hot sauces and lime to your taste preference.
The taco shells were of good quality and the filling pretty decent. The sauces elevated things with good complexity to the sauces rather than just a one-dimensional heat. It was a very enjoyable snack.
I think it’s unlikely I’m ever going to become a taco-loving obsessive. I didn’t have a road-to-Damascus conversion moment upon exposure to Mexican food first hand. But I ate well in the city and enjoyed the tacos I ate, with the ones here at Tlaquepaque very satisfying.
Blythe scores Tlaquepaque
4/5 for food
3/5 for presentation
2.5/5 for setting
3.5/5 for service
giving an overall 13/20
I ate: tacos pastor
I drank: horchata
I wore: linens
Total bill: $55
Address: Cinco de Mayo 29, Centro, Ciudad de Mexico