“What is the best thing you’ve ever eaten?” is a question that every food writer gets every once in a while. And while I tend to brush it off due to the mere impracticality of the bold question, I’ve been thinking about it recently.
First of all, for such an answer to even exist, there are usually a number of undisclosed intangible factors in the food that comes to mind: the nostalgia, the cultural aspect, the significant others eating with you etc. Secondly, we all must eat three (or more!) freaking times a day, multiply those three times however days old you are and you’ll understand why the question is a little far-fetched.
Well, all this is basically true until — you actually eat that best thing you’ve ever eaten.
What this is, ladies and gentlemen, is that best thing: A taco of Birria de Ternera from Birriería Aceves in the Mercado de Abastos in Guadalajara.
I think the fact that this was the only food stand with a ten minute wait among a dozen others open gave the awesomeness of this place away. The guy dry-roast’s chunks of fatty ass veal, then throws a fucken ladle-full of umami-laden birria broth on top of the crisp-skinned tenderness. And to finish it off, wraps the roasted baby cow in a sturdy handmade tortilla that is then pan fried ’till brown and crisp. It produces this kind of Xia Long Bao pork belly-like lipid anarchism in your mouth. Squeeze a little lime on it with a few tablespoons of table-oxidized minced raw onion (no cilantro!) and you get “the best thing you’ve ever eaten.” Apparently, this style is common in Jalisco and is recognized as “Birria tatemada,” which translates over to a combination of blackened and/or smoked Birria.
Yup, blackened and smoked fucken Birria made from local Mexican veal.
And the intangible factor for me this time around? Scarcity! My significant other had inhaled her half and I was taking turns between my half of the beauty and a bowl of roasted goat Birria in broth to make the decadence last. Then, out of nowhere, the cutest little girl came asking for money to buy food. Naturally, my table-mate handed her my half-taco on the premise of burgeoning Mexican capitalism and being able to afford another taco.
We obviously did not know the greatness of Birríeria Aceves, they had sold out of all food right after we ordered ours at 11 AM sharp. The little girl nibbled on her winnings and ran off to another patron who didn’t spare even a quarter of a lime.
And that was that, the best thing I’ve ever eaten. As a consolation, I did eat a pretty decent quesadilla a couple of food stands over. It was griddled in the same manner but instead, stuffed with pickled squash blossoms and queso Adobera, a local cheese with a similar meltability like Monterey Jack. With a side of nopalitos and guacamole, I was good. Plus, the Tianguis de Tonalá was our next stop and there was plenty of munchies and drinks to be had there too, I was sure.
For dessert, we stopped at a dulceria attached to the Mercado and picked up a sugar-free Mazapan made of pepita seeds. Oh well, on to the next best thing to eat.
In the Mercdo de Abastos of Guadalajara.
Between Calle Nance and Mandarina.