>> Tacos Los Carnalillos | Eat the World Los Angeles

Wednesday, 25 August 2021

Tacos Los Carnalillos

MÉXICO 🇲🇽
A line of customers at the truck at sunset

COVID-19 UPDATE: The truck can get busy but all staff and most customers are are wearing masks and being courteous. The salsa bar has re-opened.

In the shadow of the 110, the intersection of Figueroa and Vernon in South Los Angeles is dominated by one taco truck franchise, which has locations on two of four corners. While you may be tempted to visit the truck on the southwest corner at the Shell station because there are always less people around, it is the northwest corner's truck that you should aim for in the parking lot of Ross.

This truck has one of the best looking and well-maintained trompos in town, which says a lot given its location amongst many other fine trompos in this area flanking both sides of the 110. When the sun is setting on a warm day and everyone is hungry there can be a good-sized line, but it is all very efficient and great communal atmosphere.

A taquero cuts al pastor meat from the trompo

In addition to the finely marinated pork, these al pastor tacos (and any others) stand out further because the truck is constantly churning out tortillas by hand. Even though some taqueros do a really good job bringing packaged tortillas to life with heat and oil, there is no comparison to a fresh tortilla. Every few minutes someone will come out of the truck and add a dozen more to the taquero's stack, which gets quickly depleted by constant orders.

A line of tempting aguas frescas are placed right at the point of sale and make great companions for a plate of tacos al pastor ($2 each, below), served simply as tortilla and meat. The condiment and salsa bar lets patrons adorn their tacos as desired, with cilantro and onion, as well as at least three salsas.

Three tacos al pastor, a little roughed up from transport

Biting in, the pastor is as juicy as a dream and could exist without the salsas and a squeeze of lime if that is your preference, but as expected those salsas are very well made. The fiery orange-tinted version probably goes best with tacos al pastor.

After many visits, the surprise hit of the truck was found out to be their sopes. It was noticed that quite a few orders were made by other customers, so eventually they had to be sampled. The finished products they give you are even more beautiful than the photos they put on the truck!

Two thick sopes, chorizo and asada

You can get the pastor meat on these, but ordering sopes ($3.50 each, above) is a good time to explore some other protein choices. The masa bases for these sopes have very tall folded walls and a thick floor that is home to a layer of beans laid down before piling on the meat, cabbage, crema, and crumbled cheese.

This antojito is nothing except a masterpiece at Tacos Los Carnalillos and now becomes an automatic order in addition to the tacos al pastor. The chorizo they use is excellent and made the best of three sampled, the carnitas is fatty and lush and very satisfying, while the carne asada leaves a lot of room for improvement.

Carne asada fries covered in jalapeños

As you can imagine with such a statement, the impulse purchase of carne asada fries (above) was also lackluster. But it is hard for a taquero to do everything perfectly, and the things they do well are enough to make you forget this quickly.

While technically the parking lot the truck lives in is exclusively for Ross Dress for Less customers, you will notice that at least half the spots are taken by hungry folks, some of whom eat at their truck or fold down their tailgate and eat with family right here in the lot. After that first bite of a taco or sope, you will be happy to have joined them in this magical place.

📍 4362 S. Figueroa Street, Vermont Square, South Los Angeles

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