Buried between kitchy stuffed animal shops in a busy street near edgy Tepito is an extraordinary daytime set-up specialising in just such maritime delights. Doña Maribel and family’s Tacos El Patán prepares fish the way they do it in her hometown, Lázaro Cardenas on Michoacán’s Pacific coast. And she’s the only game in town. Pescado a la talla might be known to denizens of Contramar or the rustic beaches near Acapulco. But Mari explains, while flipping a 5 kilo sierra, that “THEY use adobo, we do ours with pico de gallo.” Regional variation when explained by a local always implies an agreement that “our way is better.” Mari heads to the Mercado de la Nueva Viga every morning “before 6 a.m., otherwise you’ll get yesterday’s frozen leftovers.”
She goes through at least five fish daily. The whole sierra – a cousin of mackerel which is a bit oily so perfect for grilling – is splayed open the long way, grilled on one side over a charcoal bbq, then flipped. It is then removed and placed in foil, slathered with mayonnaise (the secret ingredient, like it or not), chile-infused oil and the aforesaid pico de gallo. It is wrapped and returned to the grill to finish. When done, the contents are scraped off for corn-tortilla tacos. Limes, a fiery chile-oil laden salsa and cole slaw are provided to augment the proceedings.
This is a unique taco experience in CDMX.
Tacos El Patán
República de Bolivia 75 (between Calle del Carmen & Rodriguez Puebla, 3 blocks north of San Ildefonso) Centro
Open Monday, Wednesday – Saturday, 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., closed Tuesday and Sunday