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Tacos al Pastor July 12, 2007

Posted by adrien in Food facts, Mexican Cuisine, puerto vallarta, street foods.

For the last diner in PV before our trip to Vietnam, some tacos al pastor will make it: delicious, fast and we will bring along with us a good taste of Mexico to South East Asia.
There is about 20 tacos al pastor places in Puerto Vallarta, some very good and others really bad, but my favourite one is Tacos Sahuayo on Pancho Villa, at the corner where was the Honda Motorcycle shop. It is a tacos stand on the street, they have been there for more than 10 years, are opened from 8 PM to 3 AM and closed on sunday. I remember the first time my wife brought me there, I ate 15 tacos…the record is still unbroken..
There is no table at this place, you will be on the boardwalk, sit on Coca-Cola plastic chairs, eat in plastic plates covered with a plastic bag, but you will eat one of the best tacos ever.
The first lebanese immigrants brought with them to Mexico in the 20’s the vertical skewer rotisserie (which is common in Middle Orient: doner kebab in Turkey, shawarma in Syria, guss in Irak, gyros in Greece and commonly named kebab in France). But instead of goat or lamb, it is pork which is used for tacos al Pastor.
After being marinated in spice, herbs, onion, annato paste (which gives it the red color), the meat are placed on the skewer, topped by a pineapple, charbroiled as the skewer rotates in front of a vertical BBQ. Then the meat is thinly sliced and served on a small tortilla with chopped onion, cilantro and a chunk of sweet pineapple (this chunk of pineapple is really the cherry on the cake, it gives to the tacos al pastor a fresh and sweet taste, a juicy texture which will allow the flavour to explode in your mouth. I always ask for the double pineapple.
But it is not ready to eat yet, you have to give it your personal touch. There are 5 kinds of sauce: 2 red hot sauces, 2 green hot sauces and a avocado based green mild sauce. There is also some limed-onion with habanero slices, it is delicious but becareful to the orange habanero, it can be your worst ennemy for an hour. And if you want it even hotter, you can ask for a perfectly grilled Jalapeno. The problem with the jalapeno is sometimes it can be sweet, very lightly hot, and other times it is the devil’s instrument. But make sure to taste the spcicyness first and avoid all contact with your lips…
One last but not least ingredient: the grilled “cebolla de cambray” or spring onion bulb. When well grilled, it is crunchy outside and fondant inside and it surely will make you order for more tacos even though you are stuffed.
A taco al pastor costs 7 pesos, but there is also regular tacos such as asado, volcano, gringa..which I wil describe in another post.
If you have a big party at home, Tacos Sahuayo can also come to your place and amaze your guest.
As I am writing this post somewhere in the sky between Los Angeles and Taipei, I can not added pictures and video. But promised, I will do it when I will be back in Vallarta.



1. eloy - December 10, 2007

Great reading. I eat this tacos at least three times a week ( i have to, thats how I make my living) and your narrative makes me hungry!!

I would like to point a few clues about tacos al pastor that are common misconceptions. I write this as a guy who makes these tacos in Mexico City so I speak the truth about this issue ( and not many others).

There is no anatto (achiote) in tacos al pastor, the color comes from a totally different and unexpected source ( if I tell you…).
Also it is worth noting is that the rostiserie or grill does not “slow-cook” the meat, rather is a very hot flash grilling process, the meat in the “trompo” or skewer is uncooked until it comes exposed to the fire. This makes this taco actually a good candidate for home grilling, regardless of what every one says.

2. adrien - December 10, 2007

thanks Eloy for your comments.
Actually you are right, for the color and taste, Anchiote is used and not annato paste ( and I have had hard time to find annato seeds last week so I used anchiote instead) and it is not slowly cooked ( slowly refered to the spin of the vertical broil).

3. José Pelayo - April 24, 2008

Hola Adrien, que chico es el mundo, más Puerto Vallarta y después internet… Pronto voy a inaugurar un catering de tacos al pastor, espero que puedas ir con tu esposa al banquete, más viendo que te puedes comer 15 tacos… va a ser el próximo mes de mayo en marina. Por cierto… tienes que probar los tacos al pastor de Huichos que estan en la Aurora, junto a la glorieta donde se encuentra la iglesia (no recuerdo el nombre de la calle), ya habíamos platicado esto hace como un año pero nunca se concretó ir a cenar… Por cierto, soy el amigo de Domenico Sparta…

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