I had lunch this week with my El Salvadoran friend Manuel, and asked him where one can find the best Salvadoran food in the city. He invited my wife and I over to his annual Christmas Eve food party, assuring us it was the best. If he and his family go out for Salvadoran food, their go-to is often Tacos El Asador.
Tucked away in the heart of Koreantown, Tacos El Asador is a busy, busy place. There are 7 picnic tables, all rammed with people and copious amounts of food. There is also a take-out line that extends out the door. My wife and I considered returning another time but opted to stay. It took only about 5 minutes to get a table, and, after the meal, we agreed that pretty much any length of time would have been be well worth the wait.
Looking to start with something Salvadoran, we ordered 2 Pupusas ($2.85 ea). Picture a Corn Pancake that is filled with Beans, Cheese and Pork (optional). It’s grilled crispy and is then covered with a crunchy vinegar Coleslaw. Numerous textures, temperatures and tastes wrapped into about 4 bites. We washed the first course down with a couple of Negra Modelos ($5 ea).
We then order up a couple of Chicken Enchiladas ($3.20 ea) which are more like Toasadas than your typical Mexican Enchilada. Open-faced fried Tortillas are covered in Re-fried Bean Paste, Stewed Chicken, Shredded Lettuce, Tomatoes, Sour Cream and some crumbled White Queso. We topped them off with the house Salsas (both wet & dry) and resorted to using knives and forks after a valiant effort with our hands.
We reserved the final course for tacos (pictured above and below). The Crispy Chicken Tacos ( $3.20 ea) are full of Chicken, Beans and Spices… which get rolled into Tortilla tubes and then get deep-fried before being covered in crumbled Cheese and served on a bed of Lettuce. The Chicken Soft Tacos ($2.57 ea) were perhaps the most memorable item on the menu due to the flavour and tenderness of the Shredded Chicken (that had been stewing on the stove all day). Double-wrapped in homemade Tortillas, there’s lots of room to add Salsa and to fill with the Salad served on the side.
With so many affordable choices on the menu, we did not get a chance to try a number of the house favourites. Next time we come back (and it will be within the next week or so), we have Tamales ($3.30 ea), Burritos ($5.30 ea) and Pozole ($9.00 per bowl) on our radar. We also couldn’t help but notice that pretty much every table in the place had ordered either the Nachos ($6.90) or Guacamole & Chips ($6.90) to accompany their meal… so I am sure we’ll follow-suit next time around. Thanks very much for the recommendation, Manuel. We hope to see you over the holidays for some more great Salvadoran home cooking.