Once upon a time (not so many years ago), you had to spend a bundle to get decent Mexican food in Vancouver.
There weren’t many Mexican restaurants to begin with. And the good ones were all sit-down establishments. There would be sombreros on the wall and mariachi music playing. By the end of the night, after the margaritas and the enchildadas and the tres leches cake, you were out quite a few pesos.
But then everything started to change. A few years ago the great invention known as the taqueria began appearing on city streets. These hole-in-the-wall taco stands served pretty much just one thing – tacos. And the fare was dirt cheap.
For a few bucks, you could get a fresh, corn tortilla wrapped around any number of fillings – from carne asada to pollo, carnita (shredded pork) and far more exotic cuts like lengua (tongue). Top that with some fresh, homemade salsa and you had an authentic, tasty and cheap meal.
Nowadays, of course, taquerias are more and more common in the city. So I’d like to ask your help:
Do you have a favourite cheap taco joint in Vancouver? Share your pick by leaving a comment below.
Taco fans have no shortage of choices these days.
Many local aficionados swear by the appropriately named La Taqueria. With locations on Hastings Street and Broadway, La Taqueria specializes in fresh, inventive fillings, from braised beef cheeks to marinated pork with pineapple and chicken with mole sauce. The price is right, too ($2.50 each/$9.50 for four), which probably explains why lines stretch out the door at lunch hour.
An updated twist is offered by Chronic Tacos, the California-based chain with three locations in Vancouver (Granville Street, Broadway and Kitsilano). While not quite as tasty as La Taqueria, Chronic does jam pack its tacos with meat, veggies and toppings. It’s particularly popular among the stoner taco crowd, with loud music inside, heavily tattooed servers and skeleton iconography on the walls.
Meanwhile, under-the-radar neighbourhood taco joints are sprouting up across the city. The Mexican on Granville Street serves cheap, exceedingly authentic tacos and other fare (never mind the big mural of Speedy Gonzalez on the wall). Meanwhile, Salsa y Agave has quietly served simple, tasty tacos in Yaletown for years – a nice alternative to the high-priced gastropubs and bistros in the area.
Are you a taco fan? Where’s your favourite cheap taco joint? Let us know below.
For more updates on tacos and more in Vancouver and beyond, follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza.