Taco Crossovers


Roy Choi’s Korean taco trucks took Los Angeles by storm in the late 2000s, and today Choi’s latest move is putting him inside the Whole Foods Market in El Segundo.

“A South Bay supermarket near the airport might not appear to be a likely location for an outpost of the city’s foremost street-food slinger,” notes The Observer, but Choi is known for bringing unexpected food to unexpected places.

While Choi blazes new ground for hybrid tacos in a grocerant setting, chefs across the country continue to tinker with broader versions of Asian-Latin mashups, like the sushi burrito served at Sushirrito restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area. Other chefs are merging traditional American barbecue styles with the taco or burrito platform. Chef Jason Alley, a Southern food expert and owner of Comfort and Pasture restaurants in Richmond, Va., recently announced plans to open Sur Taco and Sandwich, a Southern-inspired taco joint, inside a Champion Brewing Co. brewpub.

“Asian influences entered Southern California when the Chinese were brought in to build the railways. They also built restaurants and used the local foods,” Alley explains. “Parts of the Sonoran region of Mexico are influenced by European colonists. Today, one of the region’s iconic dishes tastes a lot like pork chops and pan gravy with wheat tortillas. When I first tasted this, it tasted like home. As long as you respect the nuances of culinary cultures, crossovers make a lot of sense.”

Grocerant-Ready Ideas:

  • Build-your-own burrito bars that mix traditional elements with local cheeses or barbecued meats
  • Taco Tuesday specials focusing on different culinary regions or crossover influences
  • Food truck nights featuring local truck chefs for tastings and talks
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