>> Los Originales Tacos Árabes de Puebla | Eat the World Los Angeles

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Los Originales Tacos Árabes de Puebla

One of the last nights for the trailer.

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to be at one of the last evenings this beloved Olympic Blvd institution still used their old trailer, a nightly event for the past seven years. A couple evenings later they would party with a mariachi band and inaugurate their brand new and beautiful truck, which is now home to their nocturnal operation (read full story on LA Taco and Eater).

The white sign with their name (seen above) was transferred to the new truck, but otherwise it is decorated with all the vestiges from back home that they miss, as well as the trompo that made them famous. With the arrival of the truck and a great deal more space, you will see an expanded menu that the family has been itching to prepare for quite some time, especially since business significantly ticked up after their appearance on Netflix's Ugly Delicious last year.

But it was nice to show up on one of these final nights and focus on "los originales," the simple tacos that made this truck a destination.

Tacos árabes ($3.50 each, above) are some original fusion cuisine, born in the city of Puebla but spread throughout the country and to cities like Los Angeles with large diaspora. Even the Christian Lebanese immigrants to México in the 1920's and 1930's were eating mostly lamb, cooked on a vertical spit like has been common for shawarma for centuries. Eventually this meat made its way onto flour tortillas that somewhat replicated a thin pita bread (pan árabe). The children of these immigrants would start cooking pork in a similar fashion and the obsession has continued to this day.

Here at the trailer (now the truck!), a few tables and chairs are spread out for immediate dining. It takes a bit for your order to come through as it seems the family is always putting together a few massive takeout orders as well, but the atmosphere here is communal and enjoyable to be a part of while waiting.

The simple version here comes out only with meat and the flour tortilla, but can be upgraded for a dollar if you want Oaxacan cheese and avocado to be a part of it (called "especial"). The two best components are the meat and wrapper though, so I prefer to focus on those tastes and the wonderful chewy texture of their flour tortilla.

Another Pueblan specialty, the cemita, is also available here with this meat or a couple other options. This sandwich is named for the Pueblan egg bread it comes on, a roll always covered by sesame seeds. The cemita poblana here is excellent.

New York City, our home before Los Angeles and sometimes referred to as "Puebla York" because of the vast amounts of movement there by Pueblans, has good cemitas and bakers but somehow always seemed sorely lacking for good versions of tacos árabes. Thankfully, Angelenos do not have to worry about this with good options spread around town. Los Originales will always be at or near the top of any list. Congratulations to the family for their next steps!


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