When I first lived in Bangkok it was tough to find really good Mexican cuisine. As a California native, it’s something I do crave every now and again. Then the food scene seemingly exploded overnight with some great Mexican restaurants. Now there’s no shortage of great places to enjoy some delicious tacos, quesadillas, burritos, etc. Off the top of your head you can probably name 5 pretty solid Mexican restaurants in the Big Mango. But I want to highlight one restaurant I’ve recently discovered because they take “homemade” to a whole new level when it comes to Mexican fare, El Mariachi Taqueria (official Facebook page).
Everything that El Mariachi Taqueria makes is made in house and from natural ingredients. Their chips, tortillas, sauces, salsas, and even their sour cream! If you’re lucky you may even try their homemade Oaxaca cheese which is made on special occasions. This freshness and simplicity in their food makes a huge difference in taste. But let me show you! I’ll start with some starters…
El Mariachi Taqueria takes “homemade” to a new level!
At one time the owners of El Mariachi Taqueria had a business of producing tortillas and tortilla chips for restaurants in Bangkok. They’ve since sold off that business but have retained their recipes. Their recipes are simple and natural. For their tortilla chips there are 3 ingredients: corn, water, and salt. Simple and flavorful, like the dips and salsas that can accompany them.
This dish pictured is a sampling of the Guacamole and Chips dish (175 baht). The size on the menu comes in a larger bowl with more guacamole. If you like a chunky guacamole then this dish is going to make you happy!
Salsa…proceed with caution!
El Mariachi Taqueria doesn’t hold back on the heat. If you enjoy chili rich spicy dipping sauces then these salsas won’t disappoint you. Pictured is their molcajete salsa, habanero sauce, and jalapeño sauce. If you were expecting that jalapeño sauce to be a creamy avocado sauce you’re in for a flaming surprise! But in celebration of Taco Tuesday they do provide a creamy avocado sauce (don’t get the two mixed up!).
Great queso dips!
This dish pictured is a sampling of the Mucho Queso Chicken dish (200 baht). The size on the menu comes in a larger bowl with more queso dipping sauce. It’s rich, flavorful, and full of chicken meat chunks. Eat it while it’s hot and melty!
Pictured is two tacos, but the Tacos de Barbacoa (280 baht) on their menu comes with 4 tacos. Also pictured is their Jamaica drink (50 baht), which is a refreshing slightly sweet beverage made with roselle that perfectly accompanies the intense savory flavors of the tender beef in this taco. The beef in these tacos is marinated for a few hours then coated in a chili paste (made with dried chilies from Mexico) and slowly cooked for 7 hours so that the chili flavors transfer to the meat.
El Mariachi offers 9 different styles of tacos (with your choice of corn or flour tortillas. There is something here to satisfy everyone’s palate from Tacos Vegetariano (200 baht) made with seasoned veggies, beans, and cheese to the adventurous Tacos de Lengua (280 baht) made with slow cooked beef tongue, tomatillo sauce, onion, and cilantro.
Tastes like heaven!
Pictured is a 10 inch tortilla quesadilla (a lunch special). The Shrimp Quesadilla (300 baht) on the menu is a larger 12 inches. This is a must try dish! It’s filled with large seasoned shrimp that are perfectly cooked so that they are sweet and slightly crunchy. But what really turns this eating experience into a transcendental culinary awakening is the sour cream.
El Mariachi Taqueria makes their sour cream in house with fresh milk from a local supplier. It’s so rich and creamy, and combined with the melty cheese in this quesadilla it’s heavenly. Again, unless you’re seriously lactose intolerant or allergic to shellfish, I highly recommend this dish!
A word on drinks…
Of course El Mariachi offers the typical margaritas (220-240 baht) and beers (draft and local beers at 75 baht) to accompany their delicious food but what really made me happy was that they have homemade Horchata (50 baht)! This sweet drink of rice milk, cinnamon, and vanilla is nostalgic for this California boy. Try it!
A chat with the owner…
I had the opportunity to chat with one of the owners about El Mariachi Taqueria’s story. Donaya and her husband, Abel, began El Mariachi Taqueria at a restaurant location in Srinakarin Road in 2013. They gained a large fan base of regular customers (and return to that area quarterly to put together BBQ cookouts). After a couple of successful years they decided to get a food truck as well. They operated the food truck in tandem with their restaurant for a year and a half. Then the opportunity to move to Habito Mall came in June, 2016. They decided to shutter their Srinakarin Road location and their food truck and start anew.
“To be in this business you have to love it.”
Donaya is Thai and Abel is from Chiapas, Mexico. They’ve lived and traveled throughout Mexico and their menu has been inspired by all of the street food they’ve enjoyed in Mexico as well as recipes passed down through Abel’s family. Donaya’s philosophy to cooking is that great food is made with no chemicals, just simple fresh ingredients, and with passion.
Both have worked in the F&B industry all of their adult lives, but it’s amazing how far they’ve come along over the past 5 years after deciding to venture out on their own and pursue their passion of putting great homemade Mexican cuisine on the table for their patrons. As I watched Donaya greeting and chatting with the customers it was clear that she genuinely loves what she does.
I’m hungry! Where is it?
El Mariachi Taqueria is located on the first floor of the Habito Mall which is located off of On Nut Road. It’s about a 15 minute walk from the On Nut BTS station. Alternatively you can take a shuttle bus from the BTS station (exit 2) which will take you directly to the Habito Mall (it runs every 30 minutes).
It is a small restaurant but there is seating available inside and outside. The inside is alive with vibrant colors and decorated with pictures of Mexican folk heroes and art.
Their Facebook page is worth following as they have some great events and specials which they advertise there. Their Taco Tuesday special is an incredible value at 399 baht for all you can eat tacos (Grilled Chicken, Tinga de Pollo, Carne Asada, Barbacoa, Carnitas, Shrimp, Vegetarian) from 6pm-9:30pm. If you are a fan of Mexican food you should certainly check out El Mariachi Taqueria!