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Taco ethnography: North African tacos at Los Originales Tacos Arabes de Puebla

A taco pop-up not to miss? North African tacos meet tacos Arabes

Boyle Heights has long been known as a bonafide taco hot spot, the Mexican American neighborhood is home to many of Los Angeles' most notable tacos: Mariscos Jalisco, Guisados and Los Cinco Puntos just to name a few. And for one night only on Friday, Boyle Heights was home to North African tacos.

The innovative taco pop-up is a collaboration between Los Originales Tacos Árabes de Puebla, a local stationary taco truck that specializes in Puebla-style spit-roasted tacos using Puebla-sourced ingredients, and local chef Farid Zadi of Revolutionario North African Tacos who has plans to open a restaurant in downtown’s Old Bank District.

Both hungry Tacos Árabes regulars from nearby and Zadi’s loyal fans who made the trek from all over town were welcomed with taco fillings such as Algerian shakshouka (a spiced pepper, tomato, egg and onion mixture), braised duck, pan-roasted leg of lamb and tender cauliflower. Tortillas were standard issue and nothing special, though the typical taco side dishes of rice and beans got a North African makeover as well -- specifically, a hefty addition of saffron in the former. In conjunction with Los Originales’ Tacos Árabes, which are believed to be the result of Lebanese and Iraqi immigrants in Mexico, the pop-up made for a very ethnographic taco-eating experience.

Five butane burners and 8-foot-long folding tables is all it took to smoothly pull off the temporary taco operation. “It’s like cooking in Algeria, gangster style,” Zadi exclaimed.

North African Tacos will pop up at Los Originales Tacos Árabes De Puebla again on Saturday, Aug. 9 from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Los Originales Tacos Árabes de Puebla, 3549 Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles (open Friday, Saturday and Sunday 6:30 p.m. to midnight)

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