Tomorrow’s Taco

taco_manBy Spencer Ackerman

Racialicious’s Angry Asian Man points to a New York Times profile of a Los Angeles food truck where you can get kimchi on your taco. He remarks:

The article is interesting because it’s not just about Kogi, but the recent surge of second-generation Korean Angelenos who have played their own variations on traditional cuisines and taken it far beond the boundaries of Korean-dominated neighborhoods. …

It’s a very interesting look at the changing culinary scene in L.A. What other city would dream up kimchi sesame quesadillas and bulgogi tacos? Now I’m hungry.

I’ve never been to Los Angeles, so I’ll allow the IFA Californians to take point here. But I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how Indian flavors and spices would make for a good neo-taco. Yogurt sauces instead of sour cream; basmati rice instead of yellow rice or whatever; lentils instead of refried or black beans; clay-oven cooked meats; hot and/or sweet curries instead of hot pepper-based sauces; combinations of the above with traditional taco ingredients — you get the idea. In the same way that the French introduced the baguette to Vietnamese street food, there isn’t a culture in the U.S. that hasn’t had extensive experience with the taco at this point. Let’s mess around with it. In the next four years, none of us will have journalism jobs anymore, so we might as well get started on our street-food business.

(As it happens, Taco Bell is about to open in Dehli. Or has recenly opened there, I’m not exactly sure.)


15 responses to “Tomorrow’s Taco

  1. replace that tortilla with a paratha and you’ve got yourself a kati roll.

  2. I’ve long held the belief that a tortilla is an exceptional vessel for many cuisines, especially asian and indian. Many burrito joints already have thai-peanut burros and tacos, though Kimchi on a taco is a new one i’ll admit… Bulgogi on a taco sounds great, though…

  3. I haven’t read the NYT article, but having eaten there several times, I have to say that Kogi is amazing. Worth the long lines.

  4. Scott has it right on with the kati rolls:

    Maybe badler can offer this up as his next rant?

  5. At Upenn there is a great Mexican style food cart run by an Indian family. It was great you could have your choice of a burrito or chana masala. Yum! It was my favorite cart other than the vegetarian Magic Carpet… mmm… spinach pie! Now I really miss Philadelphia!

  6. Last week I was using up leftover bits from the fridge. I fried up strips of pork with onions, mushrooms, and peppers, seasoned with soy sauce and Thai chili paste. We wrapped them in naan (for which I had frozen dough), dolloped with tzatziki sauce. Med-Mex-Indo-Thai. They were spectacular.

  7. I’ve done the naan thing too — just fill the naan with some left-over lamb vindaloo, ladle on some greek yogurt and some avocado, and you’ve got a great indian-style lamb taco. Heck, I see no reason you couldn’t have an indian-style mole…

  8. It’s a perfect model. Instead of cilantro, you could use…cilantro. Instead of onions you could use..fried onions (like they use in festive pilafs).

    You wouldn’t even need to use clay-oven cook meats exclusively. You could, try, for example, a bit of lamb stew, with some dal (or indian-style turmeric cabbage!), raita, cilantro and fried onions.

  9. How funny I was thinking of making Indian tacos tonight, I had some left over Tanodri Beef.

  10. Nathan Williams

    A local (Boston) Indian restaurant makes things like this that they call, of course, “naanwiches”.

  11. For the record, neither sour cream nor rice (at least there was no mention of cheddar) are “real” taco ingredients. Real as in, the way they are eaten in the country where tacos come from.

    Which I know is besides the point, since this was about opening tacos to ingredients from other cuisines. Still, I have this problem where I can’t not point out that sour cream and rice are as widely used as taco ingredients in Mexico as ketchup.

  12. My dad has said for years that there should be an Indian food version of Chipotle.

  13. First off, way to rip off the first picture you find when you search google images for “taco.”

    Second, I have never eaten there, but I am from California and in Westwood there is a place, or used to be a place, called Jose Berstein’s. No, the owner was not a Mexican Jew, he just though it was a clever name. At Jose B’s, one could get just about every ethnic food in burrito form – galbi, pizza, kebab, curry, etc. Now, no one was waiting in lines around the corner for this place, although maybe for the bathroom after a light night run.

    Third, the Indian one has been done to death. Right here in DC, Naan and Beyond serves Indian wraps in something between naan bread and a tortilla.

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