Taco Taco

Pop-up diners outside Beaurepaires, Bob and Toms, Lark Distillery ...or wherever
0413 413 983
Open: Usually from 6pm, Thu to Sun. Takeaways.

There was a time in Australia when the pieman was an institution and inner-city streets resounded to the cries of muffin men, vendors with coffee urns kept hot over charcoal and others hawking such delicacies as pig’s trotters, saveloys, dim sims, fresh prawns and oysters in bottles. Of course those days have long gone and, unlike our Asian neighbours and many other parts of the world, and except for our charity sausage sizzles, Australia in recent decades has never been big on street food.

But times are a’changing. Rapidly, it seems, all driven by today’s ubiquitous social media. There’s now even an iphone app of www.wherethetruck.at which shows a multitude of pop-up street kitchens and vans around the country with details of where and when they’re serving what.

Combine this with the trendiest of trendy food – Mexican – and you have Hobart’s Taco Taco, Chris Quin and Matt Hidding’s colourful kitchen van which, depending on the night, you’ll find on the parking aprons of Freedom Furniture or Bob and Tom’s Garage on the corner of Hampden and Sandy Bay roads. In addition to cushions for the upturned milk crate seating, real Cholula, jalapeno and habanera chilli sauces and Mexican soft drinks, what they provide are cheap, fresh, quick and quite delicious soft-shell tacos filled with pulled pork, chicken marinated in achiote/annatto paste and black beans, all with a variety of accompanying fillings and dressings.

Since neither has been to Mexico, they resist using the word “authentic”, preferring instead to describe their food as “light, simple and tasty”. But their tacos, especially the one with black beans, are as good, if not quite as spicy hot, as any I enjoyed earlier this year on the streets of Mexico City itself. Best of all, you can taste real corn in every bite, from the imported Mexican corn masa they use to hand-make their shells. Forget corn chips and supermarket tortillas, these are the real thing.

Most importantly, as the ultimate conclusion to the decades-long trend towards the cheaper, more relaxed democratization of Australian dining, eating at Taco Taco is fun. As it is too at such other local taco vans/stands as Cocina de Mama, which has done a few irregular pop-up gigs around town, Lucky Loco’s, which debuted at this year’s Taste and appears regularly around the events/festival circuit, and Olli-Bella which presented its excellent Cal/Mex tacos at Dark MoFo. And, while enforcing strict commercial food preparation and kitchen requirements, the Hobart City Council is to be congratulated for sensibly taking a more enlightened approach to where and how in public, our food is served.

Look around the city and there is any number of suitable public spaces that could be enlivened by a food, fruit and vegie, coffee, roasted chestnuts or flower van. With luck, Taco Taco and the others might just be the first.

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