Taco Tour Alert - we’re all about market research so we can bring you the very latest trends, so when someone mentioned a Taco Tour, we just had to… for you! We rounded up some of the gang, hopped on a train to London, and headed over to Borough Market to scout out what’s hot.
Here’s the Funnybones’ Commercial Team, assembled, limbered up and ready to eat! We worked our way through as many tacos as we could, and here we have our key ‘taco takeaways’:
Funnybones Commercial Team
The flavour of the day definitely seemed to be Al Pastor. Originating in the Puebla region of Mexico, Al Pastor seasoning quickly became synonymous with the famous street taco of the same name. The popularity of this dish has clearly swept over to the UK, and it’s not hard to see why! With notes of chilli, pineapple, and achiote, Al Pastor is brilliant at adding a smoky depth to dishes. But it wasn’t the only flavour bomb in the Borough! Carnitas, carne asada, and Baja-style tacos all made an appearance – largely drawing flavour from the cooking technique. And of course, coriander and lime featured heavily as well as homemade Pico De Gallo – yum!
Chicken took centre stage throughout the day, and as we subtly eavesdropped on other orders, we heard that beef and pork were also popular, with fish tacos holding their own too, typically served in a crumb coating for that extra crunch.
Mushrooms led the way in non-meat options and most vendors chose vegetables over meatalikes! This is really interesting and gives incredible flexibility to the chef and a lot more choice to the consumer. Choosing an authentic vegetable also adds to the taco experience – we’re thinking cactus here, aka nopalitos and what a great menu description that would make.
Menus and Portions
The menus at most of our stops had 3-5 different styles of tacos, with almost all including at least one vegetarian option. Each portion included 2-3 tacos, with fresh coriander, lime, and homemade Pico De Gallo making regular appearances. Great for people like us that want to try multiple places, these tacos were served on 4” or 5” white corn tortillas and we saw a couple of blue corn tortillas too. We kept our eyes peeled but saw no trace of yellow corn or flour tortillas. Make of that what you will!
And what’s more….
We noticed vendors serving up delicious Arepas – a fluffy bun, pancake-esque dish originating in Columbia and Venezuela, which are griddled, cut, and jammed with taco-like fillings – so maybe that will be our next foodie focus. Stay tuned!
Tacos are a unique market. Of all the vendors we saw, almost all specialised in a small menu. It’s common knowledge that the smaller the menu, the better the food, though it does somewhat limit choice. Choosing a speciality flavour, like Al Pastor, could alienate customers that don’t like that taste (if they exist, who wouldn’t like Al Pastor?!) Perhaps the most obvious solution is the gap in the market for a Taco Bar.
Could Tacos Bars be the new Burrito Bars? Well, why not? If there’s one thing we’ve noticed, it’s that customers love to personalise meals to suit their specific taste preferences. Entrepreneurial operators could present customers with a selection of three proteins, each seasoned in a different way. Seasonings and sauces are a low-cost way to instantly diversify menus after all. From there, customers simply pick which trimmings they want. So, there’s a free idea. But if you open a taco bar, we’ll definitely be expecting credit!
Well, we’re stuffed with tacos, but we had sooo much fun. A great day out with the team and no doubt we’ll be off on another foodie tour soon enough.