Los Angeles has more than its fair share of authentic Mexican tacos, but it's also have the richest selection of fusion tacos with flavors from around the world. Whether you like your tortilla made with flour or corn and stuffed with Korean bulgogi, North African pozole tagine or Mediterranean kebabs with tzatziki, you'll find amazing taste sensations to discover.
Mondo Taco translates as Taco World, and they aim to provide as many world flavors as possible wrapped in their handmade corn tortillas. (For the gluten-intolerant out there, note that they use a little flour in their regular corn tortillas, but they have gluten free and paleo options available on request.). Offerings range from El Greco, with lamb, tzatziki and diced tomato and the Amore with grilled chicken breast, bruschetta and pesto sauce to Tokyo Shrimp, Bayou Fish, Taj Majal coconut shrimp, Thailicious chicken with chipotle peanut sauce or the Yo Adrian ribeye with provolone. All variations are also available in a wrap or a bowl. Sides include cabbage, horseradish slaw, and hot or cold quinoa in addition to the more traditional chips and salsa and guacamole. As a bonus, they have a nice patio and serve beer, wine, and margaritas.
Roy Choi's original Korean-Mexican Kogi BBQ truck is still an LA favorite with four trucks on the road, but his signature specialties are now also available at the Alibi Room near Culver City and the Kogi Taqueria in Palms. Tacos have corn tortillas, slaw, cilantro, onions, salsa roja and a choice of short rib, bbq chicken, spicy pork or tofu. Korean-themed mulitas, quesadillas and burritos are also on the menu as well as a selection of bowls and sliders.
The Komodo franchise was created by Indonesian-born, East LA-raised, Cordon Bleu-trained chef, Erwin Tjahyadi. The Asian-Mexican fusion street food with a little French technique thrown in started in a truck, but is now available at two brick and mortar locations in Pico-Roberson and Venice. The truck is only brought out for catering events these days. The four taco Killer Combo gives you a chance to try four different fusion tacos from Singaporean-style shrimp or Indonesian-style pork rendang braised in coconut milk to Hawaiian seared Angus ground beef patty with pineapple teriyaki sauce, white rice and sunny-side up egg; Deep fried fish and grapes; or chicken with marinated oranges, among others. Salads and dinner plates are also available.
When you read this, North-African-influenced Revolutionario may or may not have a physical location, since their original Exposition Park location was sold out from under them, but if they don't currently have a fixed location, keep a look out for the Revolutionario on Wheels food truck. Corn tortillas can be topped with duck hash; pozole tagine with lamb, beef, chicken, hominy and vegetables; smoked lamb; black-eyed pea falafel and more. Burritos, quesadillas and bowls are also available. Follow @ChefZadi on twitter to keep up with what's going on.
Kaya Street Kitchen is frequently referred to as a Southeast Asian inspired Chipotle because you choose your platform of non-GMO flour roti taco, whole wheat burrito, rice or noodle bowl, or salad, then choose your protein, then your veggie toppings and sauces. Proteins include grilled chicken satay, shrimp and pork meatballs, coconut lemongrass beef, or tofu.
TLT Tacos - named in honor of its predecessor, The Lime Truck - calls itself "New American cuisine without boundaries". Taco flavors include sweet & spicy steak with Asian slaw; beef short ribs with horseradish crema; pork belly with mojo sauce; and grilled ahi tuna with honey-chipotle sauce. Other specialties include the ahi poke bowl or chimi noodle bowl; a short rib grilled cheese on sourdough; and a quesadilla with pork belly, sweet potato or short rib, in addition to more traditional options. They also serve craft beer, keg and specialty bottled wine.
TLT Food has additional locations in Pasadena and in Orange County in Irvine and Newport Beach.
Another contender on the Korean-Mexican stage is Cha Cha Chili, which is basically a burger and taco stand with outdoor seating located next to a car wash in an industrial area in El Sereno. You're not likely to stumble upon it by accident unless you live in the area, however, fans make the pilgrimage for the seriously good Korean-Mexican specialties. In addition to their Kimchee quesadilla, bulgogi beef, kalbi short rib and spicy pork tacos, burritos, chimichangas and Hawaiian bread sliders, there are chicken, battered fish and tofu options and Korean or Chorizo Angus burgers. There's even a Korean Philly Cheese Steak.
Mandoline Grill is a Vietnamese food truck that includes Vietamese fusion tacos in corn tortillas with your choice of meat topped with fresh cucumber slices, pickled carrot and daikon, cilantro, and sriracha aioli. They also serve bun (rice vermicelli noodles), bahn mi (baguette sandwiches) and Vietnamese nachos topped with meat, jalapeno, mint, cilantro, scallion oil and sriracha oil. Their schedule is listed on their website about a week at a time.
The KooKoo Grill
The KooKoo Grill in Bellflower, south of LA, is a Japanese-Mexican fusion. They only offer two meats in their tacos, chicken or beef, both topped with cucumbers, onions, teriyaki sauce, sesame seeds and hot sauce, with avocados available as an add on. You can also get the same combo wrapped as a burrito or as a bowl or plate. The California burrito is teriyaki beef, french fries, 1000 island, pico, guacamole, lettuce, and hot sauce. The full menu includes salads, noodles, fried fish and shrimp, and the house special Kookoo Ball, a deep-fried fried rice ball resembling Italian arancini.
The original owners sold the Bellflower location and opened another KooKoo Grill in Anaheim. They both get stellar reviews.
White Boy Tacos
White Boy Tacos is one guy with a cart who can be found at his regular spot in front of 740 South Broadway most nights from 9 or 10 pm to 3 am. The guy is Ben, who puts his unique spin on tacos like whiskey marinated steak with hash browns; BBQ pork with bacon and coleslaw; Albariño and Dijon marinated tilapia; sake marinated chicken breast with scrambled eggs, pepper and onions; and orange juice marinated tofu and grilled banana.
HomeState is on this list, rather than my Best Authentic Tacos list because they're hipster Austin-style Tex-Mex, rather than pure Mexican. They're especially known for their breakfast tacos on fresh tortillas, including non-traditional options like the Blanco with organic egg whites, mushrooms and jack cheese. Other options include Austin-style chips and queso, Texas toast, Frito Pie in a Bag, or Kale Cabbage Salad. They also serve Cuvée Coffee imported from Austin, Mexican Coke and Hibiscus Limeade. Expect challenging parking and long lines especially for weekend breakfast/brunch.
Under a rainbow sign in a Sunset Blvd strip mall in Silver Lake, you'll find the French-Mexican concept from celebrity chef Ludo Lefebvre, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo. Open for breakfast and lunch, the only actual tacos on the menu are the double decker potato tacos with lime, crème fraiche, carrot pico and jack cheese. The menu is not completely meat-free, but concoctions like the beet tartare tostada and carrot mole enchiladas find favor with vegetarians. Compared to other fusion tacos on this list, servings are quite small for the price. 18% service charge is added to all bills. No additional tipping is necessary.
Kabob Express Fusion Truck - Mediterranean
The Kabob Express Fusion Truck offers traditional Mediterranean food in a pita, or you can choose from the Mexi-terranean Tacos, including a choice of chicken kabobs, shawarma, gyro slices or falafel in soft corn tortillas with hummus, pico de gallo, lemon juice and salsa, served with a side of dill cucumber salad and tzaziki sauce. Also available as a burrito. They don't seem to have a website, but can often be found in Santa Monica at lunchtime on Food Truck Row at 31st and Ocean Park.
Falasophy doesn't just fuse Lebanese with Mexican in their Spicy Modern Tacos with falafel, avocado, pickled red cabbage, cilantro garlic-crema, house-pickled jalapeños in a flour tortilla. They also serve Banh Mi inspired Pita with pickled daikon and carrots, fresh cilantro, jalapeños garlic sauce or tahini with chicken shawarma or falafel. The rest of the menu is pretty traditional Lebanese.