Over the past few years there has been a virtual explosion of Los Angeles food trucks – some gourmet, some simple – but all of them based on the ubiquitous roving Mexican taco truck. Some of the fancy trucks are great, but can they hold a candle to the original? Here is a list of the best taco trucks around – whether that taco is a chef-prepared snack bursting with fusion flavors and dripping with an exotic sauce, or the traditional, classic – and often unbeatable – Mexican taco. Follow the trucks on Facebook and Twitter for their daily locations. – Arianna Armstrong
Location varies, check their status online
Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken are famous for their upscale twists on Mexican, so it’s no surprise that the Border Grill Truck is serving up actual street food with a gourmet flair. Taco fillings include Yucatan pork and potato rajas, and are served on homemade tortillas. Quesadillas and the ensalada (lunch only) are packed with ingredients like roasted poblano chile, avocado and sautéed wild mushrooms. This is no “roach coach,” and you’ll pay a premium, but prices are much lower than anything at their brick-and-mortar restaurants and worth every penny.
1174 N Western Ave and Lexington
If you’re feeling hungry in Hollywood, El Matador is ready to serve you. Devotees throw around words like “the best,” “wow,” and “the most delicious” when describing the asada, al pastor and carnitas. These tacos are sometimes a little on the small side, so stock up on several during your post-club food crawls – you’ll be glad you did. You’ll also be in good company, as you and your fellow taco fanatics chow down.
At the corner of York Boulevard and Avenue 53
Authentic Mexican taco trucks in Pasadena are not a novelty, but El Pique serves the best of the best Lengua, cabeza, buche and tripas. If these are words that whet your appetite, then this is the taco/burrito/torta truck to try. Not feeling quite so carnivorous? Fans rave about the veggie burrito and crisp, refreshing cucumber side “salad,” too. Wash everything down with a Mexican Coke – and smile.
Kogi Korean BBQ
Although the tacos here are packed with Korean flavors (versus of the al pastor and carnitas found at the more traditional trucks on this list), the Kogi trucks fired up a food truck frenzy and are partly responsible for the number of trucks on the LA streets. Kogi is famous for their Korean BBQ tacos (juicy mouthfuls of short rib, spicy pork and chicken, wrapped in a tortilla), and Chef Roy’s take on hot dogs and quesadillas. This is food that started the gourmet food truck trend, and Kogi still serves up some of the tastiest tacos around – especially if you’re searching for something completely nontraditional.
At York Boulevard and Ave 54
Corner of Highland View Avenue and Colorado Boulevard
Tacos and burritos brimming with juicy, perfectly seasoned meats are served up at the mobile version of La Estrella’s brick-and-mortar location. Devotees swear by the cabeza and al pastor, but the lengua and carnitas get lots of love, too.
El Taquito Mexicano
467 North Fair Oaks Avenue, in the Nishizawa Auto parking lot.
Most fans of this truck are so busy jumping up and down about their El Taquito Mexicano love (a la Tom Cruise on Oprah’s couch) that they barely have time to scarf down palm-sized portions of lengua, chicarrones, asada and free-range chicken. Maybe, in their excitement, you’ll have a chance to cut in line for your chance to try some of Pasadena’s best tacos (although they keep things moving at this truck, so it’s probably best to be polite and simply wait your turn).
1342 North Alvarado Street (at Montana Avenue). Located in front of Vons supermarket.
This Echo Park truck has a rabid (and usually ravenous) following, and devotees swear by the off-the-menu Mulitas. Sort of like a crispy quesadilla, you get a choice of meat, in additional to the cool feeling of knowing the Taco Zone “secret handshake,” when you finally get to the front of the [long] line and order this unadvertised snack. The lengua, al pastor, suadero, and the homemade salsa bar are all excellent, too.