[Hole In the Wall] Build Your Own Pinoy-Mexican Mash-Ups at Adobo & Tacos in Orange
Longaniza With Your Taco?
Sometimes, culinary mash-ups just don’t work. I think it’s safe to say that pineapple on pizza has proved a success, but putting beans in your pho is pretty gross. The Kogi taco is already a Southern California mainstay; mustard in fessenjoon, not so much. And the first person to propose making a foie gras pupusa deserves a platter of Montezuma’s Revenge.
Adobo & Tacos in Orange seemingly doesn’t attempt anything adventurous—it sells Filipino and Mexican food, with no miscegenation advertised on the menu. The tiny spot is really a turo-turo joint, with the owners rotating Filipino dishes throughout the day according to demand and keeping the Mexican dishes of a previous ownership. Adobo, pork marinated in vinegar and as tender as the softest barbecue, sells fast (naturally), but they usually stock two trays of picadillo, sweetened ground beef mixed with potatoes, carrots and other vegetables that any Mexican will recognize. Also available are balut, purple-shelled duck eggs containing an embryo—great to gross out your barbarian pals, but a salty, briny, mushy pleasure to enjoy. And breakfast brings three types of silogs (Filipino breakfasts consisting of a meat, eggs, rice and tomato; Adobo offers juicy longaniza, crispy bacon or fried bangus for its meat selections) for less than four bucks. If you don’t eat a siopao (a massive dumpling containing Chinese sausage, a hard-boiled egg, barbecued pork and sauce) while eating in, take the two-buck treasure to go.
Honestly, the Mexican side of Adobo’s menu is lacking, and not just because half of the menu is already unavailable. No regional specialties here—expect the usual Tex-Mex selections of nachos, enchiladas, fajitas and tortillas. But the tacos surprisingly please, and not just because the owners cook the meat to order instead of letting it sit on the grill as at too many taquerias. The salsa they use burns; the tortillas aren’t small and are double-layered. Like Manny Pacquiao, another Filipino victory over inferior Mexican competitors.
Finally, the mixing. Tapatío on siopao works wonderfully, but make sure to splash it inside the dumpling since the outside is too smooth to properly soak it in. Tacos dunked in Mang Tomas sauce works, as the cane sugar in this Filipino condiment draws out the sweetness of the Mexican grilled meats and meshes well with the salsa’s heat. And if you want to order Filipino meats for your tacos and burritos? Such a thing is not on the menu, but the owner will gladly comply. Longaniza burrito? Mmmm . . .
Adobo & Tacos, 1639 W. Chapman Ave, Orange, (714) 937-5917.
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