HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


Mexican salsa?

Okay, I went to King Taco the other day only because I love their salsas with a passion. The food is okay but I am particularly fond of the green salsa they sell. Only problem is they are so stingy with it and they charge $3 for a tiny cup of it. I will kill that little cup with like 5 chips.

So my question is, where can I get some really good salsa, roja or verde (not too sour). It can be from a taqueria, market, side of the road, or whatever so long as they are open normal business hours.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. re: Servorg

      Actually the whole menu sounds good. Maybe when I am out that way shopping and going to the SM Farmers Market. That is a trek coming from Diamond Bar. Maybe this will give me an excuse to go. Is it worth the drive or just buy like a buttload from King Taco?

      1. re: A5 KOBE

        If you are over that way in Santa Monica I'd definitely hit it up (if you're in the Mexican food frame of mind). I'll be interested to hear where you end up getting salsa from and how you like it...

      2. re: Servorg

        I second Tacos Por Favor - one of my favorite salsa rojas around. Very rich, complex, hot, but not too hot. Plus they'll sell you as much as you want to buy.

        1. re: Moose

          It really is an excellent salsa. Your description is right on. The other thing I really like about their salsa bar is the large ladles they have with the spout that neatly fills the plastic cups with complete control. And even their plastic cup dispenser is great. You can tell that they care about trying to make your experience there as smooth as possible.

          1. re: Servorg

            I finally got around to SM and grabed some chips and salsa. The roja was outstanding, garlicky, smokey and bold with just enough heat so you can keep eating it. Great salsa, too bad it is so far away. Whenever I am in SM, it is a must pitstop just for the roja.

            1. re: A5 KOBE

              Funny you should update this just now as I had some of the roja from Tacomiendo today and was thinking as I ate it that I liked the one from TPF so much better. The TM one is just too bitter and not as deep in flavor to my taste buds...

          2. re: Moose

            If you were to buy the salsa from TPF, any idea what the shelf life would be?

        2. I have the same issue with King Taco. I've found similar smokey and spicy salsa roja at Rigo's (I go to the one at Oxnard and Woodman in Sherman Oaks) and El Taco Llama (the branches on Vanowen, Van Nuys, and Sherman Way).

          Rigo's will sell a side of the salsa in a small drink cup with chips, which are topped with refried beans. I usually take it home and put it in an airtight container so it lasts a few days.

          I find El Taco Llama maddening because sometimes they will sell salsa in a cup and other times they won't. But the three branches I mentioned all have the salsa roja in a salsa bar so you can fill multiple little cups or keep going back.

          1. I like Vallarta Markets salsas, in particular their salsa verde. Be forewarned that it is not always the same...a good thing as it is made in house. They also have excellent tortillas, chips and their house made crema is quite good. Good tacos and Agua Frescas, and for that matter an excellent take on a Cubano torta in the cafe. No express line though, which can make dashing in and out rather difficult.

            4 Replies
            1. re: ebethsdad

              Wow, I did not know this market even existed. I have always seen it in Victorville on the way to Vegas but never stopped. I can't believe there are so many here in LA. Will have to try it.

              1. re: A5 KOBE

                This was my "home" market when I lived in Valley Glen ("we're not Van Nuys, we're not, we're not, we're not!"). It's a great place. You'll be addicted to the meat prices, too.

                To the OP: absolutely any Mexican carniceria or supermarket will sell salsa de molcajete, both green and red, and sometimes roasted too.

              2. re: ebethsdad

                I tried both the red and green today and you were right. The green is pretty darn good. The red was smokey but a bit bland. They had samples of all the salsas out so I got to try 3 different ones along with the guacamole. The green was definitely the best out of the bunch. It is not King Taco but it will do. Only real gripe I had was that there was a huge line just for salsa, cheese, and chorizo but lines don't really bug me so long as it is worth the wait.

                Thanks for the rec.

                1. re: A5 KOBE

                  Precisely my take on their salsas. The green varies in heat, saltiness, and acidity, but its always good. I don't care for their version of pico de gallo, or salsa fresca as their tomatoes aren't very good. You can get corn tortillas still hot from the griddle. They are so good I quit making my own. Great produce prices as well. I do wish the concept of an express line would dawn on them.

              3. i buy take out salsa from cacao in eagle rock. it's really really good. but lately, to be honest, i've been buying this local brand from whole foods called tacupeto- they even have a photo on the site of the salsa on the chip and it makes me want some now!

                edited to mention that their chips are also fantastic.

                6 Replies
                1. re: Clyde

                  wow that picture does look good. what whole foods, any of them?

                  1. re: A5 KOBE

                    i've gotten them at the whole foods at 3rd & fairfax and the one in glendale. it's seriously my favorite. if anyone goes out and tries it please let me know if i'm crazy by thinking it's as awesome as i do!!

                    1. re: Clyde

                      I got the Tacupeto Mokla salsa today from Sprouts. I have to say it was a bit mild for my taste. I thought it was a decent salsa but a bit toned down, maybe marketed specifically for non-hispanics. It was a bit smokey, a little sweet, lots of onion, but after that there was not much chili flavor.

                      1. re: A5 KOBE

                        ah, bummer. sorry you weren't thrilled with it. i tried... :(

                        1. re: A5 KOBE

                          > I have to say it was a bit mild for my taste

                          I finally found Tacupeto Molka at the Whole Foods on Arroyo Pkwy in Pasadena (they'd been out of it for months), and I really liked it. It definitely had some decent heat -- more than most salsas labelled as "medium". It's easily the best store-bought salsa I've found. Not perfect: some of the flavors are a little out-of-balance -- I can't put my finger on it exactly. But this is a very minor criticism, and Tacupeto will definitely be on my regular rotation from now on -- assuming WF keeps it in stock.

                          1. re: Peripatetic

                            yeah! it's awesome. i also LOVE LOVE LOVE their chips. I also use the salsa as salad dressing with some sour cream. yum.

                  2. Carnitas Michaocan (the one on the N/W corner of No. Broadway at 19th, above Chinatown and below Lincoln Heights proper, has the best salsa rojo in SoCal -- thin, brick red, spicy, complex, smoky, delicious. The problem; they are stingy with it as well, doling it out in those little thimbles or selling 4 oz, I think, for $1.50. When I buy a couple of al pastor burritos to take home I splurge for the 4 oz. cup and beg for as many of the little thimbles as they'll give me.

                    Tacos Por Favor has a very good hot sauce on the westside, and you can fill up as many of the little containers to take home as you have the patience for. It is really good, but pales next to the elixer above.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: nosh

                      I totally forgot about Carnitas Michaocan. I have had it and it is a very good salsa, but those tiny cups are even smaller than King Tacos. One thimble is enough for about 1.5 chips. lol. It is a very good red though, better than King Tacos.

                      Thanks for the reminder, I usually skip right over CM because I while the salsa is very good the food is just so so.

                      1. re: A5 KOBE

                        Glad to remind you.

                        If you live westside, pick me up a burrito al pastor (no beans, extra hot sauce), and I'll tip well for delivery!

                    2. I've been buying and enjoying salsas lately from a stand at the Studio City Farmer's Market on Sunday mornings - the stand is called Salsa Poblano, and they make several different kinds of salsa, really good thick chips, guac, occasionally they have ceviche and mole as well. They give out lots of free samples, which is always a bonus. They have a chile de arbol salsa that is addictive.

                      I love the salsas at Cacao but it seems like they changed recipes recently, the last time I was there, the didn't serve their really good red salsa with their chips.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: TimToyGeek

                        oh no, re: cacao. we used to get their salsas once a week but now have been getting the ones i like from whole foods. the last red salsa i got from cacao turned bad and i think maybe we'd had it a week so maybe that's normal. haven't been there in a month so i really hope things haven't changed too much.

                      2. La Cabanita in Montrose (Glendale) has killer salsa that they will sell in larger containers.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Bajadenny

                          Absolutely agree on the salsas (in particular the green here does it for me) as well as their salsa Macha they sell to go (have some in my fridge at this moment). I also really like both the red and green from La Esquina Meat Market (also my go-to meat market for carne). It is unusual for me to like both salsas from a place (I usually like one more than the other, but here I like them both very much). Also, their meats are delicious. Always get compliments for it and requests for the address when I serve it.
                          Also, on Saturday I was visiting friends in La Puente and we ordered food from Mariscos Martin on Valley (extremely popular (read: busy) and extremely delicious)! We ordered some of the red and some of the green. The red was the roasted taqueria-style salsa and the green was, well, green. I did not like the green at all, but the red was fantastic. In fact, the rest of it is currently sitting in my fridge just waiting for me to poach some eggs!! ;-)
                          I also love, love, love the red salsa from La Estrella in Pasadena but they are extremely stingy with it. It makes me CRAZY! However, I ordered some cooked carne asada from my local (in Monrovia) Ranch 99 market and asked for some of their hottest salsa to go with it. The one that came tasted very, very similar to the one from La Estrella. However, I don't think it is any of the ones they sell from their deli case. I am not sure if they will sell that one since I have not asked.
                          http://www.yelp.com/biz/mariscos-mart... (location #2 in Baldwin Park)

                          1. re: WildSwede

                            Okay, I realized I was lying when talking about the Mariscos Martin salsa. We actually purchased the red and green salsas from a small meat market on Workman Mill Road and Don Julian. Across the street from Jack in the Box. I apologize.

                              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                Sounds familiar! I do believe that is what it was called. It was very busy. My friends get their meat there.
                                Also, the Ranch market I mentioned is called King Ranch. Obviously I was having a HUGE brain fart!! Sorry!

                        2. Aside from more expensive artisanal products, the Big Saver chain has the best premade salsas in our area IMO. I believe it is their 'ranchera' salsa that is made with roasted poblanos and tomatos - very tasty! A warning - their 'house' salsas now have a brand label so I don't know if they changed them recently.
                          They also carry the ingredients (but not the recipes) to make it yourself :-).