One of the best things about Los Angeles is the seemingly endless fleet of taco trucks, appearing block after block, parked at the curb and pumping out large quantities of food.
This idea of a mobile restaurant was put into the spotlight after the birth of Chef Roy Choi’s Kogi Trucks. The conception of Kogi sparked a nationwide movement that transformed the concept of food trucks from roach coaches into now what is part of the entertainment culture (as seen in the Great Food Truck Race).
With increasing media coverage, some food trucks have blown up across the country while others remain in the shadows, modestly serving amazing food at their off-the-beaten-path locations.
Here are some trucks that are easily worth the short drive from USC.
Ricky’s Fish Tacos
Ricky Pina was quick to gain national prominence with the help of The Daily Meal, who ranked his tacos as the Best Taco in America. Despite a menu with only 3 food items, Ricky has still managed to earn his tacos the title of one of the best fish tacos in Southern California. The crunch of the batter and the freshness of the vegetables and fish will easily convince you of Ricky’s taco supremacy. Wash it down with any one of the three delicious homemade agua frescas (cucumber/mint, hibiscus, or horchata).
ProTip: Beware the hot sauce, which Ricky categorizes into three levels: mild, medium and hot. This is a very deceiving scale though, as the mild is already fairly hot, making the hot almost intolerable. My recommendation is to put these on the side and try them separately. The taco itself is already served with diced jalapenos, so you’re able to get a nice kick even without the additional sauce. Also, do not be fooled by the top review on Yelp; you cannot get free refills of the agua frescas.
Check their Business Hours on Yelp as they are not open Mondays or Tuesdays and only open during the daytime.
Another taco truck that has evaded the social media spotlight is Mariscos Jalisco, which specializes in seafood. It is hard to believe that such fresh tacos could come out of a food truck. Mariscos Jalisco has been a finalist for Taco Madness for 3 years running and has won awards in 2012 and 2013.
You might feel like a slob when the taco sauce drips down your arms, but the mess is worth it. The freshness of the shrimp stands out almost immediately, and the sauce and avocado elevate the flavors to a whole other level. Hands down, this is easily one of the best tacos in Los Angeles.
ProTip: Be careful, Mariscos Jalisco first timers. There is another food truck down the street with a similar name, called Mariscos 4 Vientos, which is not the truck you are looking for. Mariscos Jalisco is open 9:00AM-6:00PM daily.
One of the best late night options that’s located closer to USC (right off the Hoover exit on the 10 at the Mobil gas station) is Tacos Tamix. The convenience of its spot has made it a top drunchies stop for the late night crowd at USC. Open only after 4PM, this location offers fantastic tacos al pastor off of a spit roast that can be seen rotating inside the truck on weekends. With a self-serve topping bar, customers have the freedom to flavor their tacos exactly the way they want it. Tacos Tamix is outstanding, thanks, in large part, to the tenderness and seasoning of the al pastor. If the above review isn’t enticing enough, let it be known that the tacos here are only $1 and quesadillas are only $4.50, no tax.
ProTip: On weekends, they add a slice of sweet pineapple to their al pastor taco, creating a perfect harmony of flavors with the balance of sweet and savory.
Ricky’s Fish Tacos
1400 N Virgil Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
3040 E Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90023
Hoover 20th St
Los Angeles, CA 90007