Essential T: Steamed Pork Head Tacos at the Oaxaca on Wheels Truck

A new regional Oaxacan food truck in Santa Monica delivers a rare treat

The very best Mexican foods start with the letter T—tacos, tortas, tlayudas. Here we showcase the tastiest “T” bites from the streets of L.A.

Tacos de cabeza, or beef head tacos, aren’t too hard to find in L.A. Many street vendors, armed with a heated stainless steel disc accompanied by a makeshift steam table, steam beef head, cheeks and other fun parts. We even have a couple of proper specialist taquerias serving up the many exotic parts like lips, tongue, brains and even nerve. But while beef head is all fine and dandy up in Northern Mexico, Central Mexico, and even for chilangos (people from Mexico City), in the southern states like Chiapas and Oaxaca, tacos de cabeza usually means pig head!

On Tuesdays–yes, Taco Tuesdays–Santa Monica food truck Oaxaca on Wheels serves steamed pig head tacos which are a specialty from San Pablo Huixtepec in the Valles Centrales region of Oaxaca, a region where a lot of L.A.’s great Oaxacan cuisine hails from.

Chefs and brothers Joel and Genaro Cruz, along with help from their family, operate a truck that represents a recent trend in Mexican street food operators: traditional Mexican cooks that have worked at non-Latin restaurants serving other besides Oaxacan specialties. That means in addition to empanadas de quelites(wild greens), memelas (masa boats), and pig head tacos, you can get a Caesar Salad too.

You would have a hard time finding these juicy tacos de cabeza even in Oaxaca City. They’re steamed in rolled corn tortillas, which soaks up some of the richness from the pork head meat. You receive the tacos in their simple form and then select your condiments, carefully opening the moist tortilla for a taste of Valles Centrales at the best regional Oaxacan food truck in town.

Oaxaca on Wheels, 11975 Santa Monica Blvd., West L.A., 323-805-3028; 310-890-5074; 6 to 11 p.m.