Welcome to L.A. Week on First We Feast. As part of our continuing initiative to devote more coverage to Los Angeles, we’ll be running special features all week to explore the city’s ever-evolving food scene—from its most vaunted chefs, to its gritty underbelly.
Tacos are to Los Angeles what pizza is to New York, cheesesteak is to Philadelphia, and pho is to Vietnam. Every Angeleno worth her weight in masa knows the go-to trucks for al pastor pork sabered from the trompo into warm and pliant tortillas, and each is privy to the fedora’d taquero who fries Ensenada-style fish tacos to order in a parking lot in Silverlake.
What makes L.A. tacos so great? The city is graced with recipes brought north by its more than one million Mexican-born residents and their ancestors—iconic dishes like cochinita pibil from the Yucatán and birria from Guadalajara. L.A. isn’t Baja, D.F., Jalisco, or Oaxaca; it’s all of these places rolled into one glorious city brimming with stewed meat, grilled carne asada, spit-roasted pork, tortillas hecho a mano, and scorching salsa.
Without further ado, we bring you 10 essential tacos in Los Angeles.