The Eternal Search for Good Mexican Food Abroad: Macho Tacos in Taipei, Taiwan

Since I moved away from California and its endless supply of authentic Mexican restaurants in 2009, I have spent the past three years hopelessly searching for decent Mexican food abroad — especially in Taiwan.

Yeah…I know.

Obviously, Taiwan is not likely to be home to some of the world’s best tacos, but I always held out hope that eventually I would find something that didn’t result in a call back home to Mom in hopes she had figured out a way to overnight me some.

And for a bit, we were living la vida loca with a great local place that not only had decent food but the best passion fruit margaritas on earth (with real passion fruit, no syrup extract!) And then, like all good things, my taco train came to an end.

It’s now early May and that brings Cinco de Mayo and feelings of bitterness that last over all the subsequent days of the month. While all my friends are posting pics of delicious tacos, guacamole, and certainly lots of tequila and cerveza, I am usually brooding in some remote destination that wouldn’t know a taco if it hit them in the head.

Until now! Finally someone was clued in to the importance of expats needing a good taco fix now and then — meet my new vice, Macho Tacos in Taipei.

Macho Tacos in Taipei, Taiwan

Macho Tacos now has two locations in Taipei and serves Baja style tacos and burritos, complete with a fish taco option that makes me feel like I am back in San Diego, California. You are quickly reminded that it’s Taipei though when you peruse the meat options for tacos…chicken, beef, pork, or tofu! It wouldn’t be a local restaurant without a tofu option.

Carnitas Soft Taco at Macho Tacos

The menu at Macho Tacos is pretty simple — tacos, burritos, quesadillas, burrito bowls, and nachos.  The prices are reasonable for Western food in Taipei, which can sometimes be quite expensive. For about $5 US, you can get three meat (carne asada, carnitas, or chicken) tacos, or for a bit more, you can get the three fish tacos. Right now, they are running a special Taco Tuesday special for about $1 US each (excluding fish tacos).  Sadly, I am headed to Italy on Monday so it looks like Taco Tuesdays are going to have to wait for me for a couple more weeks!

Baja Style Fish Tacos from Macho Tacos

When compared to local Taiwanese street food, the normal prices are a higher, but sometimes after traveling for months, you just need that little taste of home. Also, if you are hoping to run into a few more English speakers around Taipei, this is a great place to stop as most weekends it’s packed with local expats.

Macho Tacos is a tiny hole-in-the-wall that specializes in Baja-style Mexican food (also commonly referred to as Fresh Mex).  They’ve become a beloved fixture in the Taipei dining scene and I hope their luchadore (Mexican wrestler) and great food continue to delight the stomachs of other expats.

Carne Asada Nachos at Macho Tacos

Some of my friends thought my quest for Mexican food outside of the Americas was disturbing, but I had to believe there were other taco connoisseurs who shared my inane love for little corn tortillas filled with giant hunks of carne asada and enough onions and cilantro to rival the effects of a good dose of garlic. It wasn’t until I became acquainted with Jade from Vagabond3, that I knew I had a kindred spirit in the world. After talking Mexican food countless times on Twitter, we were finally able to enjoy a meal together after TBEX 2011 in Vancouver, and I’m looking forward to hopefully venturing off on the hunt for more tacos elsewhere sometime.

And hey, if anyone ever wants to sponsor a round the world trip in search of the best tacos around the globe, I’m sure you have two Los Angeles girls who would gladly volunteer!

Erin De Santiago

Erin is a US Expat currently living in the Netherlands and Belize. She is a full-time freelance travel, food/wine, and Disney Theme Parks writer who has eaten her way through 40+ countries so far. Erin is also the Taiwan/Hong Kong and Belize, Central America Regional Membership Coordinator for the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA). In addition to the various publications she writes for, Erin publishes a culinary blog, Our Tasty Travels, a new travel photography blog, No Checked Bags and her Disney Travel Blog,Pooh's Travels.

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