[Itaewon] Taco Amigo- ‘Amigo’ Worthy Knowing

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Well, I’ve never been to Mexico so I really can’t tell it is an authentic Mexican food. However, it is not hard to tell that the food in Taco Amigo very close to some I’d had in US. Even the atmosphere is very similar to someplace I vaguely remember visiting. I don’t know where exactly; it was probably some random place at random strip mall in some random city. Not sure it really exists. It might be some kind of stereotype of Mexican restaurant in US, with all the cheesy sauce and everything. There were even some obnoxious US guys and girls who laughed so loud that I got almost choked while enjoying my burrito once(Be ready with Heimlich maneuver. It might be useful someday). They totally completed the atmosphere. I love them expats. Teaching their native tongue and earn money, eating burrito and laughing loud… The life can never get better than that! (Oh, it can be if you moonlight food blog while teaching, eating, and laughing. all the better) Strangely enough, they only get so loud when coming out of the US territory. I always wonder what makes them kind of… brazen.

IMG_0069Anyway in this occation in Taco Amigo, stereotype is good. The food pushes all the right button: soft tortillas wrapping around the fillings with just right balance of hotness, tang and saltiness, with the touch of spice for both of enchiladas and burrito. My only discontent is beef, albeit minor; it would have been benefited by the grilling, as char can bring some taste and texture contrast to the burrito. And I would prefer the guacamole chunkier(the price and quality of avocado affects the texture?). Other than that, it was fine considering the infrastructure, or lack thereof, for the Mexican cuisine here in Korea. The big picture is OK.

IMG_0072Every time I eat this kind of food, meaning the food with precise western flavor profile, I get to think about the difference between that and ‘Koreanized’ ones, such as Grill 5 Taco. Why the latter always have to be sweet? Considering all the generous use of fats and thick sauces, the involvement of sweetness makes the taster tired very easily and fast. Ultimately, it is the taste combination of dessert. I think I have said this probably millions times now: the salt and the acid makes this kind of food relatively less tiring. In addition to that, they are concocted under the assumption that they have to be eaten with beverage-with some elements capable of cutting. Therefore still water doesn’t ‘cut’ it while carbonated water does. Or the help of lemon juice to the still water. You can see the logic here.

IMG_0070If I have to compare Taco Amigo with Don Charley, I prefer the latter. Their food is more sophisticated and slightly *upscale*(There is one more near Taco Amigo, right down the ally where Johnny Dumpling is).  For me it seems that these two have totally different origin. Anyway, it doesn’t alter the fact that Taco Amigo is one ‘Amigo’ worthy getting acquainted with in Seoul, in terms of food with right flavor profile. For me, Mexican(or American-Mexican, whether it is Tex-Mex or Californian. I would prefer the latter) cuisine is still very much untapped realm for Korea, thus it has the potential to be popular. But I have to be concerned about how the flavor unfolds, like all the foreign cuisines. Maybe the next one to get suffered?

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