In general, tacos and Hong Kong can barely be put in the same sentence. Apart from Heirloom, which thankfully came to the rescue with its delicious palm-sized tacos, Hong Kong is home to far too many wannabe Mexican restaurants that charge an absurd price for mediocre food. Now, thankfully, there is Taco Chaca in the up and coming area that is Sai Ying Pun.
The small space is as casual as they come, with nothing but a handful of metal tables, some stools and a small open kitchen. Menus are non-existent; food is chosen from the big board on the wall, then ordered and paid for directly at the till. In the same way that some of the best Chinese joints in town are the ones that don’t look special in any way, the same goes for Taco Chaca; there is no fancy schmancy décor, plates are paper and cutlery plastic, meaning that the focus is entirely on what matters most – the FOOD!
The carnitas tacos, made with classic pulled pork were very tasty, though I would have liked them to be a just a tad more juicy. Nevertheless, the tortilla, flown in from California, was beautifully soft and the filling deliciously flavoured with fresh coriander, tomatoes, red onions and pico de gallo.
The Baja fish tacos, filled with lightly battered chunks of halibut, coriander, shredded cabbage and salsa were also beautiful, though a touch of spice wouldn’t have gone amiss.
I loved the refried beans topped with grated cheese and chopped onions…in fact I probably could have eaten them as a dish on their own, had there not been so many other delicious things to try on the menu!
I know I’m supposed to be raving about the tacos, but what really, really made me fall in love with Taco Chaca were the pollo (chicken) quesadillas. Where some places clearly don’t understand that quesadilla comes from ‘queso’ meaning ‘cheese’ and frustratingly skimp on that vital ingredient, Taco Chaca got the cheesiness just right…and the rest.
Finally, as if we hadn’t already eaten enough, for some reason we just HAD to try a carnitas burrito, and I am definitely glad we did. Though the pulled pork was slightly dry in the taco, in the burrito, combined with the Mexican rice, refried beans and cheese, it was wonderfully succulent. With a few drops of Tapatío chilli sauce, it was even better.
I think Taco Chaca has definitely tapped into a gaping hole in the market, and it seems that Hong Kong is already starting to realise this; even on a rainy Wednesday night, the place was packed full of people either coming in for a quick bite or ordering to take away. It’s a down to earth, affordable and tasty taquería that will no doubt do well in this taco-less city.
1 Second Street
Sai Ying Pun
Tel: +852 2525 2066
(Closed on Mondays)
Date visited: Wednesday 25th April 2012