Friday, 5 April 2013

The Original Taco Truck - Get Your Kicks On City Road

When I saw on my Twitter feed  that the original taco truck was going to be parking in Southbank I was over the moon. Normally the truck can be found curiously around Fitzroy, North Carlton and at times in the Punt Road area from what I have seen on Twitter so you can imagine my excitement to find out it was making a rare appearance in Southbank. After recovering from the hangover experienced from the previous days frivolities, when the truck set up shop on City Road at 5:00 PM, I was the first eager and very hungry patron since I had neglected to eat previously in the day.

I have read articles describing not only the popularity of the taco truck, but also the wait times. With this in mind, I was probably a bit more enthusiastic then I should have been as there is not much foot traffic around where it was parked, at Southbank Library. Most punters I suspect would not even know that there is a somewhat new library and community centre on City Road in Southbank but I digress.

We ordered a total of eight tacos at $6/each. I was especially looking forward to both the prawn and chicken tacos that were highly recommended by others but this truck (there are two of them) was only selling beef, fish and black bean tacos on this mild day.

A good fish taco is hard to find. I have consistently been impressed what is on offer at Senoritas on Meyers Lane and what the taco truck is vending, although not considered "authentic" Mexican by any means is very decent. It is smart that they use Rockling fish and lightly batter chunks of it before placing it in the soft taco shell with some cabbage and a light but tangy mayonnaise sauce. Given the limited facilities within the truck to prepare food, it was apt to choose this fish which is endemic to Australia (closely related to the Assfish and Codfish) which you would rarely see being sold whole from the fishmonger because it is so ugly and is coated in a layer of mucous. As it has but a few bones, it is a good fillet to serve in a taco as the probability of someone choking or ending up in duress is exceptionally low. Still, the fish had a mild flavour and because it isn't an oily fish, combined with the light batter made it a natural complement to the soft taco shell. I always remain skeptical of fish tacos because juicy or oily fish will destroy the taco shell and it seems silly to ultimately eat a taco, and in the case of what is flogged from the taco truck which is supposed to be street food, with a fork. It is certainly a different taste when you factor in the batter but I would happily order it again.

The black bean taco, once spruced up with green sauce (there are four bottles of El Yucateco sauce on offer, all with varied degrees of heat and I would suggest adding the additional flavour as a default) was tasty but not as exciting as the other options with flesh. One of the shells fell apart from the weight of the beans, but that is understandable so I did need to source a fork. The second bean taco that I enjoyed, remained intact and it was good enough. It makes a healthy alternative and would appeal to my limited vegetarian mates and was probably a bit better since I was able to eat it outside basking in the sun with the sweet smell of emissions from City Road nearby.

The beef tacos were my favourite by a country mile. The addition of extra tamarind not only added the kick but with the other elements, made for a really flavoursome and spicy experience. I happily had two of these, and although the tortillas were not the best quality that I have had in Melbourne, they did manage to stay intact. What impressed me was again the volume of product that the tortilla was earmarked to hold. Like with the fish, the taco truck isn't stingy with the fillings.

Although I didn't concern myself with the tortilla chips and guacamole, in the end I was happy with what I bought from the truck. I hope that it appears in Southbank or the surrounding area more often as I would certainly return. Would I walk/drive/tram to Fitzroy to hunt out a taco and experience the dreaded queues and notorious wait times? Probably not but it is still a cool concept. Follow the taco truck on Twitter (@tacotruckmelb) so you know where they are going to be at on any given day and get there when they first arrive.

Chingon (The Richmond-based Taqueria) also has a taco truck and should not be confused with the "original" two taco trucks.

Taco Truck Melbourne

Taco Truck
Various Places around Melbourne
(03) 8060 6664
Twitter: @tacotruckmelb
My Rating: n/a/20
Service: n/a
Ambiance: n/a
Quality: n/a
Value For Money: n/a

Twitter: @epicurean3006
e-mail: epicureanofsouthbank (at) gmail (dot) com

At the time of this post, 87% of the reviewers on Urbanspoon also like the Taco Truck.

Taco Truck on Urbanspoon