No. 90, Toothpick Tacos at Mexico Supermarket

Forget the Korean taco, Seabirds' avocado taco, even the Choco Taco: the most interesting taco in Orange County right now are the suckers above, which come directly to you from the late 1940s, when the crispy taco ruled America but taco fryers had yet to become popular and thus cooks fried them by closing them with toothpicks. They're literally a trip into time: when was the last time ANYONE in Southern California had taco sauce, that vinegary, sugary pretender to salsa?

The makers of these toothpick tacos are the Chinese immigrants who run Mexico Supermarket, a claustrophobic mercado in Old Town Placentia that somehow survives with a Northgate Gonzalez Supermarket nearby. It could be because they fry fish on request and stock products from Puebla and Oaxaca for their regular; it could also be their limited Chinese menu–you know, because Mexicans LOVE Chinese food.

Or it's these tacos, five of them for two bucks, freshly fried, with almost a stir-fry inside of ground beef, jalapeños, and onions within the crunchy, greasy tortilla, ordered by almost everyone who eats here, people who stand around waiting for the plate to come as if it was the announcement of their first child. I personally prefer soft tacos to crispy ones, but everyone should give these a shot, if only to marvel at what was the taco–it's like biting into an edible Encyclopedia Britannica.

Mexico Supermarket, 134 W. Santa Fe Ave., Placentia, (714) 528-6829.

The list so far:

91. Hoppin' John at Memphis at the Santora
92. Free Beans and Chips at Taqueria Zamora
93. Pig in a Blanket Waffle with Gringo Bandito at Cafe Calacas
94. “Pork Hash” at Huong Giang
95. Sweet Chili Chicken Quesadilla At Kogi
96. Licuados at Mil Jugos
97. Hawaiian Ahi Poke at California Fish Grill
98. Takoyaki at Takoyaki Tanota
99. Fiesta Noodles at Jollibee
100. Chilaquiles Verdes Con Huevos Estrellados at La Tablita California

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Click here to view our 100 Favorite Dishes of 2011!

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