6 (Mon) December 2010
-Oksu, Seongdong, Seoul, Korea-
I hesitate to call them “tacos” and to categorize them as “Mexican,” because recent experiences have led me to believe that these crunchy shell ground beef shredded iceberg lettuce crumbled cheese salsa concoctions don’t resemble actual tacos and don’t seem to exist by any name in actual Mexican cuisine. But having grown up in California, growing up with Taco Bell, these will always be the real tacos to me. And yes, I also insist that burritos are authentically Mexican.
Real or not, I’ve never really liked crunchy tacos. I can’t remember the last time I had one, probably not since Taco Bell introduced the “soft” taco, whenever that was, though even before then I was probably eating burritos.
Anyway, while rummaging through my mother’s cupboard, I discovered a beyond-the-date-of-expiration box of taco shells that she told me to dump, but I opted to give them a try. She even tossed in a packet of taco spice mix, the kind to sprinkle over a pound of ground beef and a cup of water for a quick and easy taco night that the whole family will enjoy! So I went through all the motions, going so far as to make pico de gallo from scratch, shred the lettuce, crumble the cheese (muenster, as they don’t sell “Mexican cheese” here). About the expiration thing, I was thinking that, so long as the food didn’t have mold or some other overt signs of decay, it wasn’t really going to kill me, but the shells were a bit off, not to the point of rancidity, but stale beyond being comfortably edible. I ended up dumping the shells and just eating the fillings, which wasn’t so bad.