THE BLOG

Gone Fishing for Tacos

07/03/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Originally published on Youthradio.org, the premier source for youth generated news throughout the globe.

By: Javier Cabral

Let's face it-- the Los Angeles taco scene has been in desperate need of some strict regulation. There are tacos of sufficient quality, but far too much undeserved praise for tacos cooked on a griddle instead of a spit. Now Los Angeles is starting to get more serious about its tacos. It is about time.

Fish tacos are synonymous with Angelino eating culture, with our natural hankering for lighter, fresher renditions of time-honored classics. They are flaky, moist, and vibrant with a little healthier pizzazz than pork or beef versions. I'm happy to say the fish taco has never been more irresistible in Los Angeles than it is now.

The Baja Fish Taco is a signature item originating from warm Ensenada fishing docks. The taco might owe its roots to the influx of Japanese immigrants that once lived on the Baja coast. The abundant, fresh seafood lived harmoniously with their advanced frying Tempura techniques. It was only a matter of time until it interbred with the tortilla culture of Mexico.

Typically, fish tacos reflect a personal preference. You can choose from the essential fresh garnishments of finely minced cabbage, a simple red and green salsa and pico de gallo. A squirt of mayonnaise or some Mexican crema -- sometimes a thin, creamy blend of the two -- will always bind it all together. Handmade tortillas are beside the point here, as it will clash with the delicate flakiness of the fish. The thin, small taco tortillas are the usual vehicles this time around.

After my food blog comrades and I took several greasy, dry and fishy ones for the team, here is a list of the city's top three that we all compiled for your enjoyment:

The Best Fish Taco in Ensenada in Los Feliz is a joint (and yes, that's the name of the place, not a taco) that has been around for almost four years and is always cracking with locals. Behind the counter, an assembly line of workers making solid fish tacos are hard at work and there is a customizable salsa bar with specialty sauces like Pineapple Kiss ("tropical refreshing bite"), a creamy Hot Guac, a Mad Mango Salsa, and Mild ("delicious, but wimpy").

For just a slightly tastier version of this taco that uses buttery catfish, the East Los Angeles gem of Tacos Baja will satisfy with its crispy-edged rendition. I used to eat here pretty often since my dad actually grew a liking to this place (very rare). I remember at times eating 15 of those delicious Chile Gueros they offer in one sitting. They are kissed in oil and dusted with a savory chili powder that reminds me of Lucas, a brand of the Mexican staple, chile powder candy.

But if you want the absolute best fish taco available north of the border, then head out to Ricky's Fish Tacos in Silver Lake. This place is an eager newcomer to the taco scene. Ricky's tacos have Ensenada swagger and he touts his brief weekend taco show times on Twitter every weekend. His skilled frying technique involves piercing the fillet while frying. Plus, he has a secret oil mixture that adds an unequaled deliciousness. Whatever it is, it is for him to know and for us to find out! All I know is that it produces zesty, non-greasy, perfectly spiced crisp! His batter involves imported Mexican wheat from his homeland and a significant amount of mustard to give it that signature zing. He thins out mayonnaise with skim milk to get the crema to the right texture and slivers his cabbage razor thin. The salsa is minimally chunky with a decent kick and ample enough to satisfy both those with a passion for heat and those with spice phobias.

Buen Provecho!

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