London’s Mexican Street Food
An often-repeated folk history is that of a man named Juan Méndez who sold tacos in a street stand in the Bella Vista neighborhood of Ciudad Juárez, using a donkey as a transport for himself and the food, during the Mexican Revolution period (1910–1921). To keep the food warm, Méndez wrapped it in large homemade flour tortillas underneath a small tablecloth. As the “food of the burrito” (i.e., “food of the little donkey”) grew in popularity, “burrito” was eventually adopted as the name for these large tacos.–
There are many versions on how, when and where the burrito originated. The truth is that nobody really knows, regardless, we like the story above. What we do know is that the famous burrito that we know and love today is an American version of what most likely originated in Mexico (something wrapped in a tortilla, hello?) The classic burrito in Mexico is a thin flour tortilla (usually hand made) wrapped around one or two simple ingredients. The most common ones being: Refried beans with cheese, machaca (a delicious dish made of dried and salted beef rehydrated with tomatoes, onion & coriander), shredded beef or chorizo with potatoes. They are often made fresh in the early hours of the day by loving hands, then stored inside thermic boxes, wrapped in tea towels and sold outside schools, office buildings or on the side of the road. If you want a burrito for lunch, chances are they will be gone by then. They are usually a quick breakfast for busy people.
The popular burrito that is big and full of many ingredients was popularized in the United States and even when we often hear fellow Mexicans say: “Burritos are not Mexican” the truth is, it has open the doors for more people getting familiar with Mexican ingredients and flavours. There are fantastic tasting carnitas, cochinita and more out there! There are all kinds of burritos around nowadays and we are set on a mission of finding the very best of them. Hard work but hey! Someone has to do it ????
Santana Grill can be defined in two words: Huge Success. The success part comes from the guys preparing and serving your food, Rury and his guys are an amazing crowd. There’s always a smile and great service that will keep you entertained while you wait on the huge queue. We know a place is good when there’s a big queue waiting for food and this place keeps a steady line of hungry people, but don’t worry, they move quite fast and everyone leaves with a smile. The huge part comes from the burrito’s size: extremely well served, not just rice and beans to fill you up, these burritos give you a lot of delicious fillings. Speaking of fillings, apart from the usual Halloumi, Bavette Steak, Chicken & Chorizo and Carnitas, there are specials that pop every now and then such as Cecina, Chilorio and slow cooked Brisket. Make sure you visit them when hunger strikes and you’re around Tachbrook Street Market, SW1 Wed/Thurs/Fri lunchtimes.
El Burrito doesn’t only offer you tacos and burritos, they have a big menu for any of your Mexican food classics needs. From enchiladas, tamales, tacos dorados and more. They often have specials and offer different events, such as how to make a piñata or Mexican masks. They also have a Tiendita or little shop where you can stock all those products we miss from home. From salsas, candies to cheese. Well worth a visit whenever you are in Fitzrovia.
Daddy Donkey’s owner, Joel, has been forever in love with Mexican food ever since studying in Mexico and exploring street food. Back home, he opened one of the first Mexican Street Food places in London. Right now, located in the colourful corner of Leather St. & St. Cross St. you’ll find friendly staff and delicious burritos. You can choose from Chicken, Steak, Carnitas, Shredded Beef and Veggies plus lovely salsas and toppings to go with. We tried the Shredded Beef Burrito which is slowly cooked beef brisket in a delicious sauce of spices and Chile Pasilla.
Al Chile is one of those places that you know it’ll be good the moment you look at it. Their funky van is the definition of Street Food. Sometimes in London, other times in Cambridge, they move all over the place to bring you authentic tasting tacos, burritos, bowls or nachos. An all Mexican crew is in charge of making everything themselves. It’s said that their delicious habanero salsa sent a lady to the hospital. But fear not, we tried it and survived, it is a must have with any of their dishes. Make sure you follow them on Twitter to find out their whereabouts.
Tamal.co. uk When talking about street food we all know that tacos are the king and what we first think about, however they are by no means the only Mexican street food out there. Let’s talk about tamales. Tamales are a delicious parcel made with corn masa or dough with different fillings such as chicken in green sauce, beef in red sauce, mole, poblano pepper and cheese and a wide variety of sweet versions containing pineapple, raisins and many more ingredients. Tamales are wrapped and cooked in corn husk or banana leaves. There are many varieties all over the country. In Mexico, tamales are sold everywhere, from little stands out in the street or by people walking around pulling little carts full of these goodies. They are the perfect breakfast, lunch or dinner. For us away from Mexico, finding tamales is quite a task. Ingredients were not easily available until recently. The whole process of making tamales is a long one and a tradition that we could see disappearing. Thankfully, we can find tamales here in London. Tamal UK sells these delicious parcels online and on Maltby Street Market on Saturdays. We highly recommend you pay them a visit. Their tamales taste like the tamales we find back home. While there, you could try one of their tacos. Make sure you also top your tamales with one of their homemade salsas. They are delicious!
Club Mexicana has been a complete revelation for us and we’ll explain why. We had one of the most delicious Pulled Pork Burritos ever. Only it wasn’t Pork. We saw it on the menu, we were told it wasn’t pork but our senses were completely fooled and only when we see the facts we understand that the delicious burrito was Vegan made of Pulled BBQ Jackfruit. As food lovers (and meat lovers) we were completely taken aback by it. The texture, the flavour, the whole thing is meaty. The entire menu is fantastic! They offer tacos, burritos or bowls and you can choose fillings such as Slow Cooked Chipotle Beans that are beans simmered in a chipotle spice blend, served with hibiscus molasses… we are still trying to wrap our heads around all the delicious things going on in those beans. They also have Beer Marinated Seitan and Tempeh Chorizo. However, if you must try only one thing of their menu, please try their BBQ Pulled Jackfruit. Not only the Pulled Jackfruit is deliciously seasoned, but the fresh ingredients and the perfect amount of fillings will make you extremely happy without feeling heavy afterwards. We understand if you can’t believe us and that’s exactly why we highly recommend you to look for Club Mexicana in any of the many places they are around the city with KERB