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Taco Truck, its snaggy cousin, Le Sausage, and other such recent phenomena may have mobility on their side, but such things have been around forever, of course – Mr Whippy had wheels, too, y’know!
Besides them, there are the ubiquitous kebab trucks, pie carts of yore, icecream/soft drink vans wherever and whenever there is a public gathering, the famous and revered Footscray Station doughnut operation and many more.
Still, having missed the Taco Truck’s visit to Newport in mid-November, and knowing its visits to anywhere in our vicinity are somewhat rare, I am keen to grab the opportunity in Essendon, corner of Primrose and Albion streets to be precise.
I pull up and park a few minutes after the advertised open time of noon to find the Taco Truck crew still doing their prep chores.
Already a handful of people have gathered for their taco hit.
In the time I am having my lunch and taking photos, a lot of people have come, eaten and gone.
Whatever its flaws – there’s a bit of griping about the enterprise’s unreliability, waiting times, running out early and so on at its Facebook page – its apparent the social media/eating connection is a winner.
The Taco Truck sells three kinds of taco – chicken, potato and fish – for $6 a pop.
I do as I’m sure just about all their customers do and order the combo of two tacos and corn chips for $12. A bottle of mandarin Jarritos pushes the price of my lunch out to $16.
This is a pleasingly slick and smooth operation – or at least it is today – and my meal is ready within just a few minutes.
The corn chips are quite distinctive. They seem a little bit cakier than your usual corn chips, but are no less crunchy. Very lightly salted, they are very extremely yummy. There’s simply not enough of them.
My potato taco, with its hard shell and topped with sour cream, a semi-bitter salsa verde and crisp chopped cabbage, looks like it’ll be a nightmare to eat.
It is not.
In fact, it holds together really, really well. The shell remains crunchy throughout yet does not shatter in the time-honoured taco fashion.
The potato filling is beaut and the whole thing is ace.
The fish taco comes in a soft shell. The same bits and pieces accompany, along with some creamy mayo.
This is simply incredible!
The fish – rockling I am told – is firm, juicy and flavoursome. The batter is not crisp, yet is just right, too, holding to the fish until the last delicious mouthful.
This could be the best taco I’ve ever eaten.
But I’m still hungry.
Look, I know a feed of top-class fish and chips will cost about the same these days, but in that case you’ll almost always get a ton of chips to fill you up – as opposed to the paltry handful of corn chips I receive from the Taco Truck.
And given that customers have to make do without tables and chairs, it’s a little alarming knowing that with a decent head of appetite up I could eat TWO of the combo deals – and that would push the price of a meal out to $24 and somewhat beyond the limits of cheap eats, or at least those of fast food.
Next time, we’ll make sure we take a bottle of water, to avoid the soft-drink trap, and order the combo with an extra taco for $6.
That’d be $18 for a light meal.
Still, there’s no doubting the quality of the tacos this mob is turning out.