Not all tacos are Mexican. This is especially true in America, where technically none of the tacos are Mexican—because this isn’t Mexico. We don’t have access to the same ingredients, kitchen equipment, or cultural foundations. We have our own components here and a mishmash of culinary traditions, most of which find their way into a tortilla. The primary example is the Korean taco, a byproduct of Korean and Mexican communities living side by side in Los Angeles. There are others, though, that hew closer to what is considered Mexican.
The Korean fried chicken lacquered with sticky-sweet soy-ginger or peppy chile isn’t the only draw to bbbop. The zippy K-Mex pork tacos here are just as dynamic. Get creative and punch up the pickled carrot- and crunchy cabbage-topped tortilla parcels with the lip-tingling curry and ranch powder-tossed fries that accompany every order of three.
You might have heard of bulgogi or galbi, Korean meat preparations that have found popular homes in corn tortillas garnished with tangy, heat-gripping kimchi, variations on vinegar-infused slaws, and, occasionally, sesame seeds. But have you wrapped your hand around a tortilla with hot and sweet chile-speckled tofu from this Plaza of the Americas food court spot? It makes for a quick, tasty order.
If your first reaction to soy protein dressed up to resemble lard-bathed pork shoulder—a full spectrum of geologic striae, crusty corners and all—is disbelief, you’re not alone. El Palote Panadería’s carnitas have an uncanny resemblance in appearance and taste to the classic Mexican preparation of the same name. The only thing that gives away the filling’s identity is its softness.
This take on a Texas favorite adds a shot of cotija. It is a must at Stephan Pyles’ modern homage to his native Lone Star State.