>> Taqueria Mexicana | Eat the World NYC

18 March 2018

Taqueria Mexicana


On many walks down Bergenline Avenue, a second thought was never given to Taqueria Mexicana, which on the surface just looks like an unspecial purveyor of Mexican food in a neighborhood with a lot of special places. This, however, is exactly the reason your teachers tell you not to judge a book by its cover.

The cute and charming place, housed in a former diner, landed squarely back in these thoughts after doing some searching for memelas in the area. These Oaxacan antojitos are not much different than a sope or huarache, but do not seem to make it onto menus in town that much.

Memelas top left, burritos bottom left

Along with the memelas, an online search showed that the restaurant was also making burritos closer to their original format. Unfortunately our burritos in the United States are almost all fat California versions stuffed with rice. Even gabacho Californians will cluelessly tell you about how good "Mexican" food is in their state while referencing some overstuffed Mission-style burrito, and completely omitting all the regional variety available in Los Angeles et al.

But before those two dishes are eaten, the first thing you may notice in this repurposed diner is the good looking trompo of al pastor meat spinning behind what used to be the coffee and breakfast counter. An order of four tacos (below), bigger than Mexico City-style taquitos, runs $8.50 and is certainly enough for a meal alone. The meat for these was unfortunately not fresh straight from the trompo and this was evident by the slight dryness from regrilling. When fresh, this order will be unbeatable as the marinades and roasted pineapple are just about perfect.

An order of four burritos (below) is $9.50 and is a simple dish that uses a flour tortilla to wrap up meat and cheese, more like the typical versions first found in Northern México which also may include refried beans. While every single Mexican restaurant in the New York City area and the entire country has a burrito on their menu, they all look like they were made at Chipotle and are really there just for the gabachos who don't know better, or could not find a Chipotle.

A burrito like this, often found on the streets of Ciudad Juarez or other northern cities, is sold on the sidewalk out of a basket, similar to more familiar tacos de canasta, except always with a flour tortilla.

The memelas (below) come in an order of three for $8.50, large oval discs of freshly made masa. You can have them with either red or green salsa, or a combination of both like the ones seen here.

In Oaxaca, you might sometimes find these with a thin layer of black beans and nothing besides mole negro, salsa, and cheese, but meat options like this cecina are becoming more common.

With much love in the heart for a big plate of stacked pancakes, it is said with much endearment that eating top notch Mexican antojitos in a vinyl high back booth is just as nice of an experience. The next time you find yourself in North Bergen, make space in your schedule and stomach for Taqueria Mexicana.


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