Offering up the tastes of Mexican Street Food, Chingon; Cantina Y Taqueria boasts about their entirely gluten free menu. Located at 413 Swan St, Richmond they cook up simple fare, with a set menu of 4 tacos for $23. There are 6 varieties of tacos to choose from and thankfully with our large group, we got to try them all. They also have three varieties of salsa served with corn chips and the classic fire roasted corn served off the cob.
We dined as a group of five, joining myself and Brody for this journey into Mexican street food was Matthew, my long time friend Sean who just moved back to Victoria and his partner Allison. I booked for 6 pm but there were plenty of tables when we arrived. The atmosphere is quite dark and the décor very eclectic. They have some really intriguing pieces to look at, so take your time to explore. As the lights were dimmed it was hard to get good photos, but I tried my best.
Thanks to the size of our group we were able to try one of every taco. Being a bit on the hungry side, we also ordered the Corn Chips and Fire Roasted Salsa Mexicana for 2 ($10). Even though the meal was for two, we simply shared it around amongst the five of us as a starter. It took a while to come out, maybe twenty to thirty minutes. However, the Salsa was beautiful and we all agreed that we could just eat buckets loads of it. It was a really nice way to start the evening.
A few of us also ordered cocktails. I personally chose ‘La Paloma’ or The Dove, which was a blend of Tequila, Pink Grapefruit Juice and Soda Water. When you are ordering cocktails make sure you do check that the other ingredients going in are gluten free and that they haven’t spilt anything on the ice going into the drink. The waitress was more than happy to check to make sure the drink was gluten free too.
Our tacos arrived almost a full hour after we ordered. They also came on plates separated by type which is great for communal eating; however, a few of us had ordered speciality tacos so we had to make sure we knew whose belong to whom. It’s not too much trouble but something to note. To go with our tacos we also received a small slaw of cabbage and carrot to add to them.
All of their tacos are served on hand-made soft corn tortillas. These tortillas are about hand size, perfect for eating while walking or getting on with your day. They are definitely soft and not at all floury. Of course the main thing was they didn’t fall apart while being eaten
The six varieties of taco available are as follows:
- De Pollo – Orange & Honey Charcoal Chicken, Picked slaw, pico de gallo and queso.
- Carne Asada – Char-grilled steak black beans, fire roasted tomato & corn salsa queso
- De Pescado – Flame grilled fish, fresh lime, red cabbage salsa and chipotle crema queso
- Al Pastor – Char-grilled Achiote pork, pineapple & capsicum salsa, crema and queso
- De Camarones – Grilled Garlic Prawns, Chipotle Crema, Guacamole, Fresh Lime and Queso.
- De Calabacitas – Roasted corn, capsicum & baby squash with red cabbage salsa and queso.
Al Pastor & De Calabacitas
I started with the vegetarian option, De Calabacitas. The filling was well flavoured with capsicum, squash, corn and the red cabbage. I did find it to be a tad on the juicy side, this one out of the four I tried was definitely the messiest. The pinch of queso on top added a slight bit of creaminess and rounded the taco off nicely.
On the same plate were the Al Pastor Tacos. The pork was tender and juicy, it was very easy to eat. The combination of the pineapple and capsicum gave it a sweet and slightly spicy note. This was definitely one of my favourite tacos.
I didn’t personally order the Carne Asada, however those that did thought they were delicious. The steak came in strips and wasn’t chewy. Accompanying the meat were actual black beans, and salsa.
De Pescado & De Camarones
The surprise of the night was the fish taco. Around the table we unanimously agreed that it was the stand out in terms of flavour. Definitely worth trying if you enjoy fish. The lime and chipotle worked well together with the flame grilled fish.
I also really enjoyed the prawn taco. It also had the delicious chipotle flavour for a bit of heat. It wasn’t too spicy though, the heat was dampened by the delicious guacamole and corn salsa. With each bite you got juicy prawn, creamy guacamole and queso. I’d go back for another of these.
The final taco was the Pollo. I was looking forward to this one the most, however I didn’t get a strong orange or honey flavour. In saying that though the chicken was slightly sweet and it worked well with the pickled slaw. While not my favourite it is another taco I’d eat again.
Four tacos for $25 is definitely not the best value around. In the deal one taco is worth $6.25. However, we did have a great night and certainly had an experience in Mexican Street Food. The biggest downside was the wait for food. However, if you aren’t in a rush and are happy to chat over some drinks then it makes for an alright venue. If you are looking for less of an urban feel you could always try Mamasita’s. Alternatively, La Tortilleria in Kensington is quaint and perfect for a casual Mexican lunch as well.
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Until Next Time;