For the last six years, I have been obsessed with finding the best tacos in Mexico City. This is not an easy task because the diversity of tacos in Mexico is bountiful. However, I have sorted them into different types to make the task easier. Today, I want to focus on one kind that I find fascinating because of its simplicity and complexity at the same time: tacos de guisado.
The simplicity of this kind of taco is that it can be made with any guisado on hand. Guisado is a word that describes an ample array of dishes. It can be almost anything cooked in a sauce and served as the main course. There are beef, chicken, pork and vegetarian guisados. There lays the complexity of these tacos. I have tried some amazing tacos de guisado throughout the years, but I keep finding new and delicious places in a city that never fails to impress me.
A few months ago I started going to the Saturday Sullivan market for just one reason: eating breakfast at Los Barriles, a booth that sells between eight and 10 different types of tacos de guisado at a time. The first few times I was there I didn’t give it a lot of thought. I sat down and ordered two or three different tacos and a bottled juice.
However, after a number of visits, I realized I was hooked on what might just be the best tacos de guisado in the city and decided to learn more about who ran the show. It turns out that Los Barriles has been serving tacos at the Sullivan market for just a little over a year, but they’ve been selling at the Narvarte tianguis on Sundays for 15 years now.
Owner Alonso Perez told me that selling at the street markets on the weekends is not all they do. They also cater parties of 50 people or more all over the city. His wife, Isaura Gonzalez, is the cook and brains of the operation. She makes all the guisados at home and gets them ready to be taken to the street markets and catering locations. We can attest that she’s a formidable woman. Every guisado I have tried at Los Barriles has been perfectly cooked and seasoned.
Some of the best guisados I’ve tried at Los Barriles are lengua en salsa de morita, delicious and tender beef tongue in morita pepper sauce; suadero a la diabla, beef shank in a spicy red sauce; chicharrón en salsa verde, pork cracklings in green sauce; rajas con crema, julienned poblano peppers in a creamy sauce; and chiles rellenos, cuaresmeño peppers stuffed with cheese and deep-fried, among many others.
Although everything I’ve eaten at Los Barriles has been delicious, my all-time favorite dish there is cochinita pibil, the most representative dish of the Yucatán peninsula. Los Barriles’ cochinita – pulled pit-cooked pork – is tender and perfectly seasoned. Because this dish is their specialty, they make it every weekend, and I never fail to order at least one cochinita taco.
All tacos at Los Barriles are served with your choice of rice or black beans, which makes them generous and filling. One or two tacos would be enough for most people, while three or four would satisfy expert eaters such as myself. Los Barriles is definitely on top of my list of best tacos de guisado in the city. That said, I plan to continue my search for more of these pockets of inexpensive deliciousness.