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Tacos

Back in (baja)style!!!

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I hadn’t been to the shack for a while but the sun was out, I had Mexican-Food-Loving-Friends in town and these guys just had announced the return of the baja fish tacos to their menu. So when we arrived back in Freiburg after a day of exploring the black forest and beyond we headed straight for Stühlinger and one of their outside tables ordering a set of fish tacos each.

I’m not sure if my picture does it actual justice but these babies were intimidatingly ginormous. M. and our friend C. intuitively reached for fork and knife but I was willing to get my hands dirty. After all, these were tacos, right? Flipping up the sides of the appropriately large flour tortillas I wasn’t even able to close them properly above the crisp battered perch but I was ready for my first bite and didn’t plan on letting go of it. This was amazing. I still remembered them vaguely from the BZ food truck festival last year but it was like a brand new experience altogether. The batter cracked under my teeth making way for the wonderfully flaky fish meat that was breezy fresh and cooked ’til perfectly glassy. Just moments after the fish literally melted, and the juices had drenched my hands in tasty goodmess, all the other flavours started kicking in; the creamy chipotle mayonnaise, the crunchy greens and veggies, some sourness coming from that tropical salsa and especially awesome vibes blazing from the fresh Mexican herbs. It was like being teleported to a Californian beach (without ever being to one) for a couple of minutes, sipping on a cocktail enjoying the sun. Oh yes, I am glad these fish are back in town.

On top of an excellent meal the service today was super refreshing, attentive and friendly and on my way out I also finally got to say hi to some of the great people, who are responsible for all this. Thanks so much guys and see you soon.

Get Your Grub On!

The Holy Taco Shack (closed on Sundays)
Barbarastraße 18
79106 Freiburg im Breisgau
Germany
p: +49 176 32970414
http://www.theholytacoshack.com/

A cheesy update.

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What’s your favorite day of the week?

I had a bit of a rough day yesterday so since I was in town for Japanese class and needed something to cheer me up, and because it was ‘Taco Tuesday’ I went back to Yepa Yepa to load up on some heartwarming tacos.

After I did – four, I ate four tacos – I still felt some emptiness deep inside and was planning to fill it with some loving gooey cheese so nothing seemed better than finally giving their quesadillas a shot. They’re pretty much the same as a standard taco just with some salty cheese melted to the tortilla over a hot plate. This was just the stuff I needed. The delicious filling of the taco was already amazing on it’s own ‘but that cheese tho’, a great combination. I still prefer my tacos non-cheesy but what a great possibility to change things up a little bit. Thanks, this was soul healing.

Get Your Grub On!

Yepa Yepa Mexican Taqueria (closed Sundays)
Merianstraße 30
79104 Freiburg
Germany
http://www.mexikanisch-essen-freiburg.de/

Too many tacos? No such thing.

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Trio of Tacos: Al Pastor, Pollo Ranchero, Birria

Freiburg seems to be secretly working on becoming the Mexican food capital of Germany as yet another taqueria has opened its’ doors very recently at Merianstraße just outside the border of the old town. Yepa Yepa is a cozy little mission style food place offering standing or bar table seating only. They carry a small selection of tacos and quesadillas on their standing menu plus some special items once in a while. Unfortunately, we just missed Tamales Week, which I didn’t have since Casa Latina closed its’ doors in Singapore a couple of years back.

Pretty much a freaking bummer, but trying not to be too devastated I swiftly ordered a trio of their tacos with corn tortillas, filled with all the different meats and every available salsa on the menu. I always try to build up to the part of the dish, which I reckon will be the most amazing, so I went with the Pollo Ranchero first. Not because it didn’t look good, but because I thought it would have the lightest flavors. The tortillas were nicely crisp on the edges and held up all the way but the chicken, even though soft and moist, tasted a bit bland together with the corn rice. Thankfully the pico de gallo was here to save the day and add some smack to it all. Great filling for a light lunch burrito, I thought. Second in line was the Al Pastor with the Salsa Taquera, which overall was my favorite flavor combo of them all, with that delicious pork in a slightly cinnamony gravy, some fresh coriander, a pungent pineapple relish as well as that fantastic smokey salsa. This worked outstandingly well together and danced right to my taste buds. Last up was the Birria, a, in chili broth slow cooked and pulled beef filling with beans, fresh onions and coriander topped with a lovely fruity-ish tomatillo salsa verde. This was the most delicate of the meats here for sure, but flavorwise Al Pastor was still my top 1 hands down.

Except the cheese and soft drinks, they make everything themselves here, from the crispy tortillas to the last tangy salsa and the ingredients are mainly regionally sourced. Yepa Yepa is a nice place, where nice people, service you delicious food. Due to the setup, though, it’s not a place to spend too much time in, relax and maybe have a nice evening and drinks with your friends. However I think that’s not their mission anyway, so I’m just happy we are getting more and more options for tasty, authentic (I actually don’t like that word) Mexican food in the area.

Get Your Grub On!

Yepa Yepa (closed Sundays)
Merianstraße 30
79104 Freiburg
Germany
http://www.mexikanisch-essen-freiburg.de/

❤ tacos.

The Holy Taco Shack - Food Truck
I collected a huge repertoire of food memories and pictures since I have been back to Europe, mainly because I have been traveling a fair bit to the Netherlands/Holland, Switzerland, France, Spain and Italy, which of the two latter were very focused on the local food experience. That aside I think it’s only appropriate to choose a place in Germany for my first review since almost a year, not German cuisine however representative for what’s going on here at the moment. The Holy Taco Shack is part of the reinvention of the culinary scene in Germany right now. Many people put a totally different value on the food they sell and eat today with a lot of love for detail and appreciation for culinary skill. Some results out of this are the growing numbers of food trucks as well as street food festivals and markets that seem to have started in Berlin but already have spread into all corners of Germany. This particular truck, or actually more a food trailer, is run by a German-American couple that left their former jobs behind and started their own business filling the big gap of proper Mexican food in Germany and thankfully decided to do so in beautiful Freiburg.

The Holy Taco Shack - Classic Tacos Mango SalsaAfter many missed opportunities to try their food before, I finally managed to be in Freiburg at the right time for their weekly appearance at the Rieselfeld Market on Saturday. We went fairly early, as apparently their food sometimes sells out rather quickly and I wanted to have free choice. So here I was, ordering my first round of Classic Tacos – a set of three – with all the meats from the menu, chicken chipotle, beef brisket and my secret passion, the carnitas, medium spicy with some extra mango salsa on the side. They use their homemade corn tortillas, made from maíz azul (a black purple-ish type of corn) that have a bit more to them than the regular corn tortillas. It might be just the colour but I thought they were pretty great. Now on to the inner values and I must say that all of the meats were exceptionally delicious. The beef was super nice and tender like it was slow cooked for ages (which it probably was) and the chicken, which I expected to be either a bit on the dry side or drowning in sauce, I liked even more, just so juicy and fantastic. My other expectation though proved to be right; the carnitas are still my absolute favourite. They were wonderful moist with a good char on the edges that had touched the hot plate, an insanely good combination of meat and fats. The homemade medium salsa was just right, not too spicy but still gave me a kick on my tongue and the mango version for an extra €1 was the perfect companion and totally worth it. Fruity, slightly sour and refreshing in between the flavour party going on around here.

The Holy Taco Shack - Spicy Classic TacosSince I wasn’t sure when I’d be having another chance to eat here again I went for a second round of the same, just this time with the spicy salsa and the extra jalapeños. This salsa is fun and squeezed cold sweat right out of my head so that I wished I would have ordered this mango pineapple salsa again to cool things down a little bit. All in all amazing food.

It was busy that day, the queue got longer and they still stayed cool and friendly even that many people were asking a lot of questions about the food and the TV show they have just been part of. I hope I’ll be able to come here many more times, it’s good to have you guys around, keep it up and all the best.

The Holy Taco Shack
Maria-von Rudloff-Platz 1
79111 Freiburg
Germany
Tel: +49 176 329 70 414
http://theholytacoshack.com/

P.S.: This is their usual Wednesday and Saturday location but follow their Twitter or Facebook for the latest updates and additional spots.

New Mexican in the East.

imageMexican places are popping up all over town and my mates and I give our best to try them all. This was also the reason why two of us went all the way to East Coast Road to checkout the fairly new ‘Lower East Side Taqueria’.

Imagining the usual corn tacos, I’m used to, I ordered three different types off their menu but little did I know they all came in huge and fried taco shells. First I tried the ‘Hake‘ (right) and the generous portion of fish fillet was soft, pretty tasty and not too fishy but unfortunately also almost unrecognisable between the creamy slaw and guacamole. Both of which tasted good but there was just too much going on to really honour the fish itself. I didn’t like the fried tortilla, it was too big and greasy and extremely filling rather than just the vessel for the toppings. Continuing with the ‘Chorizo Taco‘ (left) which tasted more like a creamy version of chili con carne but had good flavours to it. The sausage mix was bedded on a layer of basmati rice which felt a bit out of place especially because this taco used the same fried and filling shell as the first one. The last taco I had was the ‘Pork Belly‘ (top) which reminded me much more of slow cooked, juicy pulled pork than the braised fatty pork belly I had expected but it was delicious anyway, rightly sized and to my delight came in an ordinary hardshell taco basket. The sweet corn and pineapple salsa underneath added some nice crunch and sour-sweetness to it all so this one actually worked pretty well for me.

The place is in a good location for people living around the area sitting in a row with all the other hundreds of East Coast restaurants and the open face facade and outside seating seem inviting particularly for sunny days like today. The presentation of the food is done right but tastewise I was a bit disappointed as I had expected some soft or hardshell tacos rather than these massive fried tortillas that made me feel unpleasantly stuffed and generally there were just too many flavors in each dish for me. The universal idea is not bad though and playing with the ingredients can turn out great, like proven by the pork belly taco, but for now I won’t be venturing too far East to get my Mexican on.

Lower East Side Taqueria
19 East Coast Road
Singapore 428746
Tel: +65 6348 1302
http://www.lowereastsidesg.com/

My first Peruvian.

imageSince in Hong Kong we wanted to go back to ‘Brickhouse‘ in LKF but since they still had a 1.5 hour waiting list at 9:30 p.m. we continued further hunting on the hills. We wanted to have some sort of tacos though and apparently fate was in our favour tonight as some people didn’t show up for the booking at ‘Chicha’ a Peruvian restaurant on Peel Street and without further ado we snatched it away.

I never would’ve thought that I like hardshell tacos but these ‘Fish Tacos‘ were brilliant, a bit difficult to eat but super flavourful with the fried moist fish, the crunchy coleslaw and the fruity and sweet mango salsa, delicious. We had the fried ‘Chicken Tacos‘ as well but those unfortunately were a bit dry and not as much fun.

imageWe couldn’t decide which ‘Ceviche‘ to take so we ordered the tasting set with three smaller sized portions of all. My favourite was the one with seabass (‘Corvina‘) on the left, the fish was fantastic fresh and had a pleasantly firm texture. My second choice was the ‘Mixto‘ which had everything in it – shrimp, octopus, scallop, squid – mixed with some fruity passionfruit and honey, a nice mix of textures as well. The ‘Tuna‘ version was also good but a bit of a weird combination with the watermelon and the fish actually was a bit tough to chew.

imageThey also have some dishes which they call ‘Hot Ceviche‘ which of we had the scallops. This could’ve been outstanding with the extremely awesome humongous scallops and the mix of butter, lime, soy and honey if only the cook would have taken it easier on the salt (a german saying suggests he was in love). Still good but mouth-drying salty which unfortunately overpowered the other flavours too much.

imageNext up we ordered a selection of the ‘Anticuchos‘ (grilled skewers), the ‘Oh My Cod‘ would have been the shining star if they weren’t prepared by the same Romeo cook as the scallops; super tasty moist fish, miso glazed that took an extensive salt bath. Well the sweet potato with the quail egg was okay but still only sweet potato, however the beef hearts again were amazing, perfectly seasoned, not too gamey, just pure muscle with a strong beef taste.

imageAnother ‘Hot Ceviche‘ we tried was ‘Crab Claw‘ which was, as the name suggested, a huge plate of pre-cracked crab claws in an extremely sour sauce. The crabs were nicely fresh and no hazzle easily sucked off the shells but the sauce was just too acidy for me to enjoy it fully.

imageWe were already pretty full but had one more thing coming up, their suckling pig sliders which were super good, suckling meat indeed sitting on a thin slice of sweet potato and topped with some pickled onions and gooey cheese. Great buns too and the whole thing reminded me a bit of the pork buns you get in the old town of Duesseldorf even that this here was a way more delicate and less greasy version.

I totally loved ‘Chicha’, the staff was great and obviously had some romantics amongst them, the food, besides the extreme overdosing with salt of some dishes was delicious and really something special and all in all we had a lovely evening with a nice atmosphere. Oh, they also do some quite decent cocktails here as well.

Chicha
G/F 26 Peel Street 中環卑利街26號地下舖
Central
Hong Kong
Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China
Tel: +852 2561 3336
http://conceptcreations.hk/chicha/chicha-central/

A proper ending to a Mexican day.

imageTelling good friends about my Mexican lunch planted the idea of tacos into their brains that they had to have ’em before leaving for their U.S. trip in the morning. As my earlier experience was nothing I necessarily wished to repeat we played it safe and went to my all time favorite.

My lunch had been late and I wasn’t too hungry so I took the chance to try some of the small new dishes they had introduced. Starting with the ‘Tostaditas de Cangrejo‘ which were truly amazing. Big piles of sweet crab meat in a light creamy dressing. The avocado came hardly through but the chili splinters hit in nicely. Cold and spicy, a great dish.

imageI wasn’t actually planning on having tacos again but then they had a new special one on the menu that changed my mind. The ‘Taco de Callo de Hacha‘ had some nicely pan charred fresh scallops with a great texture, pickled onions and grilled corn which gave it all an oddly interesting and crunchy texture. Nicely done guys, nicely done.

Lucha Loco – Mexican Taqueria Y Garden Bar
15 Duxton Hill
Singapore 089598
Tel: +65 6226 3938
http://www.luchaloco.com/