Tacos Arabes Great Mexican Food
MEXICO CITY, Mexico- Imagine a collision between Middle Eastern and Mexican fast food and you have tacos Arabes. This is not meant to be a figurative statement, it is literal fact: there are tacos in Mexico assembled from Arabic pitas, kebab grilled meat, and Mexican toppings and sauces.
My friend Caitlin raved about tacos Arabes when I was visiting her in Mexico City, and it did not take much convincing to get me to go and try them.
“What do you want to eat?”
“Something with lots of meat.”
“I know the place.”
I soon found myself seated at a small fast food restaurant near the Balderas metro stop in Mexico City. A smiling cook worked the kebab, slicing off mouthfuls of freshly grilled meat with a long fillet knife. My mouth watered as I watched him work. He was overtly friendly, and his continuous conversation with us seemed to usurp his cooking efficiency. I was salivating over the meat that was idly grilling as the cook asked me questions that I would have normally capitalized upon to get a story. I could not stop staring at the piles of meat on the grill like a starving dog kept at leash length from a plat of leftovers.
Soon enough, the cook stopped gabbing and divided the meat up into three fist sized piles before slapping thick face sized pitas over each. I watched as the cook liberally sopped up the excess meat juice with the pitas, which sucked up the essential liquid like a paper towel in some TV commercial.
With an adept twist of his wrists the cook scooped up the meat piles into the pitas, plopped them on plastic bag covered plates, and handed them over to each of us in order. We were then free to pile on onions, herbs, tomatoes, and sauces.
I bit into my first taco Arabe and the effect made me remember eating at fast food stales across the Middle East and North Africa. It was all thick, heavy, plump pita bread wrapped around three sides of two inches pure meat. Blissfully carnivorous.
The price: 15 pesos — $1.25 — each.