Latin Food Crawl in Richmond

The al pastor from Taqueria La Selva’s taco wagon setup is a thing of beauty, reckons rworange. “This is no pre-formed, pre-cut pastor. The irregularly-cut slices in the spit are topped with two golden roasted rings of fresh pineapple,” she says. “It tastes even better than it looks … rich and complex with heat.”

Nearby, outside Central American market Mi Raza, there’s a lady turning out top-notch pupusas on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Hand-patted and cooked on the spot, they are the “least greasy pupusas” rworange has ever had. Loroco pupusa is just what it should be, she says, with the herb’s distinct flavor. The curtido is nice and tangy, with actual bits of puréed tomato in the sauce.

A few vendors can be found in front of St. Mark’s Catholic Church on Sundays while the two Spanish-language Masses are going on (which begin at 9:15 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.). Look for the one under a shady tree selling tamales, pan de elote, and bags of fresh fruit with chile.

“The pan de elote are wonderful: oblong, griddled and pancake-like filled with fresh corn flavor,” says rworange. “In texture [they’re] somewhere between cornbread and a pancake and about 1/3 inch thick.”

As for the pork tamales, she says, “the pork in the moist masa tasted like it had been roasted rather than stewed. Now why hasn’t anyone else thought of that? There was a rich porky flavor like getting a slice of roast pork out of the oven.”

Taqueria La Selva [East Bay]
1049 23rd Street, Richmond
510-237-0913

Mi Raza Market [East Bay]
1045 23rd Street, Richmond
510-232-5620

St. Mark’s Catholic Church [East Bay]
159 Harbour Way, Richmond
510-234-5886

Board Links: Richmond: After mass street chow at St. Mark’s–pan de elote and pork tamales
Richmond street feast part 2: Taqueria La Selva–the best al pastor tacos vapor in the Bay Area
Richmond street feast part 3: Mi Raza Market’s sidewalk pupusa lady

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