Well, well, well. You’ve been gripped by the title of this post. This bold, over-confident announcement, total disregard for the food establishments around the world that would like to think themselves worthy of this title.
Ah-hah. You’re thinking, “Who is this chick? Who does she think she is, to denounce fish tacos across the globe and choose but one, potentially unworthy king? To bear the crown of succulent, the glory of delectable, the duty of mouthwatering?”
I can only tell you one thing; if you had ever had the pleasure of trying these babies, you would be right there with me.
Let me set the scene. Picture a beach, on the coast of Oaxaca in Mexico. La Punta in Puerto Escondido to be exact, a carpet of golden sand, rolling waves, falling so heavy you hear them long before you see them. A world-renowned surf break, a glistening blanket of sunlight reflected on the water before you.
Then, a shack. Only reachable by walking along the beach – a good 10 to 15 minute walk from the closest beach entrance. Some plastic chairs, a stand-alone bar and a makeshift roof of dried palm leaves and you’ve got it; Pepe’s Tacos.
Pepe is a smile on two legs, a boisterous voice carried by the breeze across the length of the beach. The rounded speech of his accented english working wonders with his confidence, to make you feel right at home with your feet dug into the sand.
Pepe does not advertise, his fame is a conversation, carried on from traveler, to local, to establishment, to friends. It has spread like the flu and is much harder to shake. There’s no real menu, his options are subject to ingredient availability and what he can be bothered getting into that day. He’s eager to give you a good time whilst not being over-bearing. It’s like sitting at his house as he goes from kitchen to table. When we were there, he had two options; fish or shrimp tacos cooked to your liking; Baja style (battered and fried), grilled or coconut fried. Obviously, we tried them all! Perfectly cooked, insanely well-seasoned. The batter is the best I have ever had, light and does not overwhelm the flavour of the fish. The coconut fried tacos were a revelation – a balanced combination of these tropical flavours that paired beautifully with his homemade pineapple salsa, array of salsa picante and guacamole.
You don’t want to leave, your stomach has taken in more than ever before, and your feet that were dug into the sand are now the roots that will hold you in place forever. You order a few more beers, the afternoon wanders to sea as the sun goes to sleep over the horizon. You’re sunburnt, full to overflowing with good food and conversation, and you wander back to your accomodation in a daze of fish tacos and Mexican daydreams.