The Dish: Brave is the food-truck operator who stays open in December. Just feet from clogged storm drains remain the glowing “open lights” of mobile food trucks, turning out hot food for those of us chilled to the bone. This week in Versus, we pay homage to two of our favorite taco trucks—the lights at the end of our hydroplaning tunnels and the unsung heroes of our city’s blustery days. When it comes to pork tacos, which one proves the best spot for pigging out?
The Rivals: Beloved Mexico, 4721 Fauntleroy Way S.W., 478-0496, WEST SEATTLE. This taco truck, parked in the lot of the West Seattle Produce Co., has only been around for about a month, but already is gaining a loyal following in the neighborhood. Beloved Mexico is a little more expensive than your average taco truck, but the tacos are quite a bit larger, and it’s clear more care is taken in their assembly. Also, the kitchen crew is not stingy with the meat. For $2.50, you get a six-inch double-corn soft tortilla filled with braised pork (carnitas), cilantro, and onions served with a pickled, spicy carrot and a pickled jalapeño. Beloved Mexico also offers three different types of homemade salsa, each good: tomatillo, habanero, and a traditional mild salsa (our favorite). The pork is a little dry and could use some more seasoning, but the fresh ingredients and large amount of meat make up for it. The salsas add moisture and spice, which make this taco very enjoyable.
Tacos El Asadero, 7300 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, 760-9903, RAINIER BEACH. If you haven’t been to one of Tacos El Asadero’s two outposts, they operate out of a revamped school bus that includes a kitchen and a rather long waiting room to escape the rain. We recently visited one, in a parking lot next to a Christmas-tree farm. As an added bonus, the buses are decked out in holiday lights this time of year, which makes them not only easy to spot but a shining oasis in a sea of gray during the winter months.
Their four-inch tacos are quite a bit smaller than Beloved Mexico’s, but they are juicier. Actually, they are soaked in a sauce that finds its oily way into each taco, making for a very satisfying snack. The grease covered the taste of the actual meat, so we can’t accurately describe the quality of the pork, but it did have a bit of caramelization that created a very nice texture and flavor. Other than that, there frankly isn’t much going on with these tacos. They are very simple—not dressed in anything but a few onions and the sauce the pork had been simmering in. This is the kind of greasy taco that you crave, a miniature snack you can’t wait to order half a dozen of because they’re so addictive. And at $1.20 a taco, you can buy twice as many pork carnitas as you can at Beloved Mexico.
The Champ: There were certainly no disappointments with this Versus challenge. Both trucks delivered solid tacos, but one was just a bit tastier, more satisfying, and better constructed than the other—Beloved Mexico for the win.