Sinaloan cuisine has always been strongly represented here in L.A., but lately, places like Mariscos El Cristalazo and El Moreno are heating up the local Sinaloan scene, one chiltepin pepper at a time. Sinaloa and Nayarit are considered the best states in Mexico for seafood dishes, and the Mariscos El Moreno truck—well hidden on a residential street in the South L.A. neighborhood of Green Meadows—is serving up mariscos from the Pacific Coast town of Los Mochis.
There are of course aguachiles (spicy shrimp cooked in lime)—red and green—and an excellent callo de hacha (pen shell clams) that are served in a base of bottled hot sauce and fresh chiles, giving the cooking liquid a milky quality. Ask for some fiery chiltepin to add some fire to your plate. You can get the mouthwatering taco gobernador (shrimp, vegetables, and melted cheese) in a corn tortilla or, if you like the northern style, rolled into a flour one. Be sure to order the sweet water prawns, known in Sinaloa as cauques (on the menu they use the word chacales for all their Jaliscan customers), or, more commonly langostinos. Their cauques a la diabla preparation is too sweet for my taste (I blame the ketchup in the mixture), but a plateful of cauques al mojo de ajo (with garlic and butter) is the perfect way to enjoy the special dish. It feels like you’re at your neighbor’s family’s food truck, which, in reality is the truth for everyone else here.