Essential T: Tacos de Harina at Tacos Alpique

A taste of Puebla comes to Koreatown

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.

One of the most deceptive types of taco here in the U.S. is the Pueblan taco arabe, which is often just a taco de harina. In Puebla, no vendor would ever dream of calling their taco de harina a taco arabe. The difference: a taco arabe uses a pita-style tortilla called pan arabe and the taco de harina employs a flour tortilla. In Puebla, there is a clear distinction between taco arabe, taco de harina, and the taco oriental, in which the same marinated and vertical spit roasted pork meat for a taco arabe is served on a corn tortilla.  Here in L.A. you’ll find many Pueblan trucks and street vendors advertising the taco arabe but many are using a flour tortilla—oh, you roll your eyes, but yes my friend, we just don’t take these trespasses lightly in the taco lifestyle.

So when I came across Tacos Alpique, a little family run hot dog stand turned taqueria in K-Town offering tacos arabes, I was skeptical. Sure enough, their taco arabe is a taco de harina. No need to call the taco police (oh, right, that’s me!) but I’m just going to call it a taco de harina. It’s delicious, luckily, so all is forgiven.

The pork isn’t cooked on a vertical spit but it very tasty, and offers a simple flavor of marinated pork with traditional chipotle sauce, wrapped in a flour tortilla that’s a departure from your usual taco stop where everything has onions and cilantro. L.A. has some great Pueblan restaurants and stands popping up lately and Tacos Alpique is a yet another reason to love tacos in L.A.

Tacos Alpique, northeast corner of 3rd St. and S.Catalina St., Koreatown