Monday, September 13, 2010

Los Carnales - South LA

(review #13 of the 30 taco trucks in 30 days challenge)


After my Tacos Perez review someone emailed me about a truck that is about 2 miles south of Adams and Vermont in the heart of what used to be called South Central LA. At the corner of Figueroa and Vermont I was told. When the emailer mentioned homemade tortillas made in the parking lot next to the truck I was very interested.


When I arrived it was pretty busy. The truck parks on the lot of a Shell gas station and cars park perpendicular to the truck in a row that fills up half the lot. The clientele is made up of families, locals, a USC student or two and a few vagrants that greet you after you exit your car asking to wash your windows for spare change.

A man behind a podium takes your order and hands the ticket to the cook in the truck. Another man next to him calls your number when your order is ready. The man that calls out the orders is also in charge of filling orders of horchata. A woman prepares fresh tortillas on a grill next to the truck and when enough tortillas have stacked up she takes them into the truck.


buche, asada, al pastor - $1 each

al pastor
carne asada

I garnished my tacos from the tubs of salsa on the table next to the grill. It was a busy salsa bar that didn't seem to have any rhyme or reason to it. There was a short line which I waited in but people started to cut the line and some hovered over the tubs of salsa eating and reapplying salsa to their plate whenever they got low. When I finally got my turn I ladled salsa roja on the asada and al pastor and the avocado salsa on the buche.

The carne asada was very good. The beef finely chopped and the fresh tortilla was sturdy enough to soak up the juice. The al pastor was not cut from the spit and you can tell. The pork was tender and adequately spiced but didn’t come close to real al pastor. The buche I didn't care much for either. I’m really particular about how I like buche and this buche wasn't cooked long enough for my liking. The buche I have liked in the past has been done crispy and when paired with a good avocado salsa and some lime it’s taco bliss.


I had an apple sidral mundet with my tacos. I’ve been seeing this drink more often at taco trucks. If only they would carry the green apple flavor which is probably my favorite soft drink.

I ordered a couple more asada tacos. The soft tortilla, the greasy beef and the chile salsa were on point. A swig of the apple Sidral and a bite of the jalapeno and I was feeling good.

The crowds kept coming. Cars would back out of the lot and other cars would take their place. The vagrants that weren't already washing windows greeted the newcomers. Most people ignored them ,some handed them change. I pulled out of my parking spot and approached the driveway exit and saw the vagrant that had asked me if he could wash my windows. He was standing at the corner of Figeroua and Vermont holding a plate of tacos.


Los Carnales
Figueroa and Vermont
Los Angeles, CA 90037
South LA
tacos $1

Rate Los Carnales


  1. Hi! Just wanted to say that I've been following your site for about a year or so, probably a bit longer. I'm so addicted! Unfortunately, I live in Norway. We don't have anything close to taco trucks or stands here. Tacos for us is mince meat, weird spice mix, and some fake ass salsa from a jar. Then comes the lettuce, cheese, corn, chopped onion and in many cases cucumber. That's right, cucumber. You put all this on a hard taco shell or on a tortilla.

    Makes me cry when I look and read about the tacos on your site.

    Keep it up!

  2. Forgot to add that we use "guacamole" from a jar too. They did these tests in the newspaper on quacomoles from the two brands over here, and none of them contain as much as an ounce of actual avocodo. Most of it is peas, actually.


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