I’m asked quite often what I think the best taco truck in LA is. I wouldn’t know where to begin and there are so many I have yet to try. But if I had to choose one taco truck to represent LA and say , here this is an LA street taco, it would be El Chato. El Chato does it right. These tacos are beautiful little bombs of flavor that come on your plate hot and greasy topped with grilled onions and chiles. The tacos are the size of the inside of your palm and can be devoured in two bites, maybe one. They are some of the most addictive tacos in LA. I once ate 8 of them in one sitting and wanted to go back for 2 more.
The al pastor is cut from the spit and grilled on the plancha alongside asada, chorizo, buche and lengua. The salsa is made with chile arbol and tomatillo. It’s reddish- orange in color and has a nice smoked chile flavor to it and if the spice isn’t enough there’s that grilled jalapeno pepper to chomp on to raise the heat level.
asada and al pastor tacos loaded up with grilled onions, radishes and lime
At some taco trucks I pace myself and just order a couple tacos but when I’m at El Chato I have them load up that plate with at least 5 tacos, sometimes 6. I ask for an extra jalapeno and alternate between bites of jalapeno and taco and wash them down with either a bottle of jarritos or horchata.
If you see a line and you almost always will, don’t worry, the crew at El Chato is incredibly efficient. With as many as 5 people working in the wagon it can look claustrophobic at times but they all have their own duties. One takes the money, another mans the grill, another the tortillas, another garnishes the tacos. It’s impressive to watch them handle a large crowd and get the orders out relatively quickly.
Angelenos line up for some of LA's best street tacos
El Chato is one of those taco wagons that people come from all over to eat at. On my last visit I spoke to a couple who had drove from Sherman Oaks for their El Chato fix . They are regular customers and make the trip over the hill a few times a month.
tacos are $1 each - 3 al pastor and 3 carne asada fill up the plate
From 8:30 pm when the first order is usually taken to 1am on the weekdays and as late as 3am on the weekends the corner of La Brea and Olympic is where you will find some of LA's best street tacos. The finely cut meat,onion, and cilantro, the spicy chile salsa,the way the tacos fit in your palm and beg to be devoured whole. These tacos may have their roots in Mexico but their identity is Los Angeles. They are tacos estillo LA.
La Brea and Olympic
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