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Apr 4, 2009 10:53 AM

authentic Mexican street food/tacos in DFW?

Does such a place exist in the Dallas area? Not the Tex Mex stuff that passes for Mexican here...

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  1. Yes! Dallas is ripe with many many taquerias, some better than others. Even the mex grocers typically have a built in taqueria as well. I like the bistek, carnita, tripas (hehe) al pastor (usually pork cooked spit style like a doner or shawarma). They take these little delicate, tender and flavored meats and lay them on two very small thin corn tortillas that have been lightly grilled, then layer a heap of fresh chopped cilantro and white onion. A squeeze of lime is also served along with a variety of sauce choices.

    If you haven't been to one, they are all over the place in Dallas proper. Do not be shy when going in, use your best high school Spanish or just point, you will be made to feel welcome regardless.

    Also try the torta while at the taqueria of your choosing. These are tasty sandwiches that are stuff with the same taco meat selections. try a jamon (ham), alambre (like a phillie steak with bacon), camarones (sauteed shrimp), or the elusive cochinita pibil (pork loin with orange). The bread they use for the torta is a bolillo, a firm almost crescent shaped bread and you can choose typical dressings such as lettuce and tomato to join a perefect marriage of sandwich heaven. They almost all do a cubano, the Mexican take on the Cuban sandwich, some places taking it extreme by adding odd ingredients like eggs, milanesa and other neat to eat treats.

    Some of the places have beer, depending on what part of town you are in. But a good choice is the 16 ounce Mexican coke. These are like the Dublin Dr Pepper, made with real cane sugar and won't leave you hurting from the corn syrup that the American version now is laced with. the agua frescas are also a good selection for a drink. A variety of fresh fruits mixed with water. I like the horchata (a rice and cinnamon fusion water). But if they have a selection of the bottled jarritos, they are also good. I enjoy the lime or pineapple.

    Yes, you can find decent tacos in Dallas, and they are usually 99 cents each. For a hotbed of these places try the Northwest Highway and Webbs Chapel area. Or continue south on Webbs Chapel from NW Hwy and you will continue to find dozens and dozens of them in a safe environment. If you need specifics, I can give them to you as over the years I have been to them all.

    You all can probably tell I will eat anything and anywhere, and I have!

    5 Replies
    1. re: DallasDude


      where can you find al pastor cooked spit-style? Everything that I've had in dallas (including El Paisano, mentioned below) seems like it was not prepared this way.

      1. re: gavlist

        Oddly enough, the pastor spits are difficult to find now in Dallas. Last one I saw was in Allen, Texas of all places, at a quasi taqueria frightfully named El Grande Burrito.

        El Grande Burrito 801 S. Greenville Ave, Ste 118, Allen, Texas 75002. 214-383-4789

        I wanted to thank LewisvilleHounder for the wonderful recommendations that will keep me busy for the next few weeks. I have only been to one of the several listed (Paisano) and am especially looking forward to the huitlacoche (a mexican truffle so to speak that is a growth on an ear of corn - a fungus) from El Fuego. This is an ingredient that I would like to see more of in this area, especially in tamales.

        1. re: DallasDude

          Won't happen on the huitlacoche. FDA has put strong bans on corn fungus because it wipes out the crops or so they say. Oddly enough some of the same reseachers in Illinois and Iowa are bringing the corn fungus back but it is not going to be real popular here in Texas. South of the border would be your best bet. A better wish would be for chapulines (fried crickets with lime and chile - very tasty, big ones are a bit tidious) or escamoles (ant larvae used in a variety of ways).

          You will also notice that huitlacoche also is going to have a taste difference in Mexico (especially Oaxaca). Oaxaca still has strains of very ancient corn that has had little to no human genetic interference thus having a difference taste from our corn. Corn grown and milled in Oaxaca is very bland compared to our strains that have been modified for sweetness.

          Chapulines were sold in every market in Oaxaca and were quite a bargain the small ones I like the best. These were a good in between meal snack or with a good cerveza (Negro Modelo or Modelo Especial) on the zocalo in Oaxaca City.

          I am not exactly sure why a lot of the taquerias aren't asking around for the flor de calabaza (squash flowers) as this area has great success for squash. I know from first hand experience. They are great in a simple soup with chepil (a herb native to Oaxaca that has a very mild spinach like taste).

          There are so many ingredients that we could have from south of the border but I guess no one is really that discriminating enough in their palate to be asking for a more diverse Mexican cuisine here in Dallas.

          1. re: LewisvilleHounder

            I have seen squash flowers at the Farmers Market, and have seen them used in Italian fare more often. Fantastic sweetness of the blossom combined with the salty exterior of the fry is amazing, but add a great filling for that wow factor to skyrocket.

            I enjoy your take LewisvilleHounder and will be looking for more great reading from you.

            1. re: LewisvilleHounder

              LH - as to huitlacoche, I may be one of few who has enjoyed a lot of fresh, fresh Mexican huitlacoche from Guanajuato when I lived in D.F., and in the U.S. from Roy Burns' farm in Groveland, FL. The host corn is different as you indicate, but in my experience the huitlacoche is identical.

              The FDA efforts to eradicate corn smut have been limited to development of resistant seed, and curiously never addressed the active cultivation of it. Roy grows it on 7 acres, nowhere near any other planted corn, even downwind. Roy admits that he could not do the same thing in Iowa without causing big problems.

              Huitlacoche is fascinating stuff.

      2. Taqueria El Paisano on Lombardy btwn Webb Chapel and Denton Dr....forget the hands down reference just go try the al pastor tacor and find one in the city any better. The table salsa that they serve with the chips is one of the best (surpases the tex-mex places in flavor). I wouldn't stray much past that though. Tortillas hold this place down though as handmade would make it even more sublime.

        Tortas La Hechizera on Jefferson or Maple are awesome for the oversized sandwiches filled with the taqueira meats.

        Taqueria El Fuego in Richardson is great for very different items namely the huitlacoche quesadillas (corn fungus) and also the flor de calabaza (squash blossom) quesadillas. The buffet on the weekend is not to be missed. Freshly prepared guisos and migas with hand pressed and griddled corn tortillas it is hard to go wrong there.

        Fuel City on Industrial just down from Lew Sterrett just a ways. The picadillo tacos are excellent only problem is the corn tortillas would be better is handmade. I would eat them there with a careful eye on your vehicle as I have heard of people getting conned there. They also leave a funk in your car if you get then para llevar (to go). Still great tacos though.

        Paletas Frutitas would be an awesome choice for street style ice cream bars and other frozen delights. Sure there is a larger place down the way on Jefferson but the vanilla bar with chocolate and coconut is just so hard to stray from. I have heard once the strawberries are more in "season" the bars get better and better. I had the frozen mango pop mixed with chile and a chamayo sauce poured on top like the locals did, it was also great.

        For the best mole you will have in Dallas (perhaps the state) go to La Palapa Veracuzana (or call them to check the availability). The enmoladas are absolutely one of the best items you can put in your mouth. The mole is handmade from scratch along with two freshly handmade corn tortillas. I have been to Oaxaca and tried many of the famed moles and this was close to being my favorite and it is a Veracruz style. The seafood dishes namely the Huchinango a la Veracruzana (Red Snapper Veracruz Style) will probably never be beaten in freshness and complexity of the sauce.

        I have just learned of a place in Fort Worth from a local foodie vendor (thanks Rupert Crabb at Aduro Coffee) it is a true Zacatecas style taqueria. Yes it is in Fort Worth but I need to check it out. He mentioned handmade corn tortillas. Tortilleria La Original De Zacatecas - 7931 Camp Bowie (btwn Cherry and Las Vegas Trail


        El Atoron on Henderson just before you get to Cafe San Miguel and Louie's, I have seen has chicharron prensano (fried pork skin...just look it up) on the menu a rarity in these parts. Also the pembazo looks very tempting. Looks to be a very quality place.

        That should get you well on your way

        1. Things have changed since this thread was first started.

          First, tacos al pastor cut from a spit Mexico City style can be had at any of the three locations of El Tizoncito.
          Oak Cliff.
          Forest Lane.
          And their newest on Lemmon Avenue.
          My personal favorite is the "Alambres Pastor con Queso"

          Second, IMHO, the most authentic Mexico City "street tacos" can be had at the former Tacos El Guero on Bryan Street. Now renamed, Tacos Al Banqueta. Have the tacos suadero! They're killer! Especially with their home made green sauce.

          1. I need to clarify something. Is there a big difference between D.F. tacos and tacos from anywhere else in Mexico? I imagine their might be subtle differences so please correct me if I'm wrong in that assumption. But, I'm assuming every authentic taqueria is serving what is sometimes referred to as "Mexico City or D.F. tacos", regardless of if they're from north, central or southern mexico. LH, Veggo - i'll defer to your expertise in this area.

            P.S. same thing applies to "street tacos". does that just mean mexican and not tex-mex? I don't think I like how mexican tacos have become dubbed "street tacos". No offense to the OP, just thinking out loud.

            1 Reply
            1. re: demigodh

              The tacos at Tacos Al Banqueta are D. F. tacos.

              I believe "street tacos" are defined as stands or taquerias that are open to the street and tacos are sold out of a window or open space. As done from a food truck.

              These type of taquerias are most prevalent in Mexico City.