Street Food

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Best Street Food Dishes in Taipei, Taiwan

Taiwan has a long tradition of great food – from the native Taiwanese dishes to the influences of neighboring Fujian, and eventually, Japanese, and the huge influx of Mainland Chinese who came to Taiwan after 1949.

These people all brought with them their own regional specialties, making Taiwan the perfect melting pot for Chinese street food.

The country is beautiful, the people are kind, and the food is some of the best in the world. No wonder it often ranks high on the lists as a foodie destination, known for its many night markets and vibrant, dynamic food culture.

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Here are some of our favorite top 10 must eat street food dishes to get while in Taipei, Taiwan:

stinky-tofu-Credit- Flickr user JLim02
Photo Credit- Flickr user JLim02

10. Stinky Tofu

Stinky tofu, or chòu dòufu, is a form of fermented tofu that has a strong odor – some say it is reminiscent of strong body odor – popular in Taiwan as a street food dish. The traditional method of producing stinky tofu is brining in a mixture of fermented milk, vegetables, and meat. You can tell right away when you walk by a stinky tofu stall whether in a subway station or at a night market. Despite its pungent smell – giving it the nickname as the “blue cheese” of tofu – it is quite delicious. For the best stinky tofu, visit the old Shenkeng tofu street on Shenkeng Street in Taipei, Taiwan.

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Photo credit: projectbabyboiron.wordpress.com

9. Oyster vermicelli noodle soup

Oamisoir is a popular noodle soup dish containing oysters and misua (Taiwanese vermicelli) and some times pork intestines. The unique tan brown color comes from the caramelization of the wheat noodles used in the dish and it can be found at street food stalls through out Taipei from Shilin Night Market to Ningxia night market.

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8. Oyster Omelettes

Oyster Omelette is often sold in night markets, consists of an egg omelette with a filling primarily composed of small oysters. Starch (typically potato starch) is mixed into egg batter, giving the dish its thick consistency. A savory sauce is often poured on top of the omelette for added taste.

Yuan Huan Bian Oyster Omelet
No. 46, Ningxia Rd., Datong Dist, Taipei, Taiwan

Lai Ji Oyster Omelet With Eggs
No. 198-22 Minsheng W. Rd., Datong Dist, Taipei Taiwan

Photo Credit -opensourcefood-com
Photo Credit -opensourcefood-com

7. Gua Bao pork buns

Gua bao (literally: “cut bread”), is a Taiwanese street food consisting of a slice of stewed meat, usually pork belly, and other condiments sandwiched between flat steamed bread. Also known as “Taiwanese hamburgers”, the traditional filling for gua bao is a slice of tender braised pork belly, dressed with pickled mustard greens, fresh cilantro, and ground powdered peanuts in between a fluffy steamed bun.

Lan Jia Steamed Sandwich Shop | No. 3, Aly. 8, Ln. 316, Sec. 3, Roosevelt Rd., Daan Dist, Taipei Taiwan

Beef Scallion Breakfast Crepes - Niu Rou Jian Bing

6. Beef Scallion Breakfast Crepes – Niu Rou Jian Bing

Jian bing, a traditional snack that’s often eaten for breakfast, is a fried crepe made from a batter of wheat and grain flour that is fried on a griddle with an egg and beef, and can be topped with scallions, and cilantro. It’s like a delicious Chinese morning breakfast burrito.

Beef Scallion Breakfast Crepes - Niu Rou Jian Bing2

Mango Shaved Ice

5. Mango Shaved Ice at Ice Monster

The perfect way to fight off the summer heat – try the mango shaved ice dessert – made with heavenly, delicate shaved slivers of creamy ice (known as bao bing in Chinese) and topped with chunks of mango fruit and condensed milk or syrup. Other toppings include mung beans, strawberries, sweet potato, taro, and more.

Ice Monster
No. 297, Section 4, Zhongxiao E Rd, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106

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4. Giant Fried Chicken chop (Ji Pai) at Hot-star large fried chicken

Hot Star Large Fried Chicken serves their deep fried chicken breast in form of a large cutlet, spiced with garlic powder, Chinese five spice, sugar, and other chili spices. The chicken is as large as your face and is a fun street food to snack on as you explore the night markets, particularly in Shilin night market.

Shilin Night Market
+886 2 2881 5557

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3. Taiwanese Sausage Wrapped in Sticky Rice bun

Small sausage in large sausage (literally: “small intestine wrapped in large intestine”) is a made of sweet and savory Taiwanese pork sausage wrapped in a sticky glutinous rice “sausage” bun and chargrilled and served with garlic and sauces, similar to a Chinese hot dog.

Shilin Night Market
+886 2 2881 5557

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2. Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup (Niu Rou Mian) at Lin Dong Fang

Beef noodle soup is a the national soup of the Taiwanese made of stewed or red braised beef, beef broth, vegetables and Chinese noodles – often stewed and simmered for hours. Beef noodles is served with suan cai (Chinese sauerkraut) on top along with scallions. In Taiwan, at beef noodle soup shops you can also find cold side dishes, such as braised dried tofu, seaweed, or pork intestine.

Lin Dong Fang, 274 Bade Road, Section 2, Jhongshan District, Taipei City; +886 2 2752 2556

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1. Xiaolongbao Soup Dumplings at Din Tai Fung

Originally from Shanghai, xiaolongbao soup dumplings at the renown, Michelin starred Din Tai Fung are silky smooth and are a must try for those visitors to Taipei. Xiaolongbao are filled usually with either pork or a combination of pork with minced crab meat and roe. The soup inside the dumpling is created by steaming the gelatinous meat aspic soup that melts during the steaming process.

Din Tai Fung Dumpling House, 192 Xinyi Road, Section 2, Taipei City; +886 2 2321 8929

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Quickly Boba & Snow opened December 2014 in the Colonialtown Center strip plaza near the Orlando Fashion Square Mall, just north of the Orlando Executive Airport. It’s a little hidden, but word of mouth has gotten out and it’s been quite busy the past few visits I made there.

Spacious, and colorful – the interior’s visual highlight is that of local artist Boy Kong’s mural featuring the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac, racing in a frenzied fashion, possibly to grab some boba tea.

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Boba tea is a Taiwanese invention, made with syrupy sweet milk teas and small black tapioca pearls. It’s become quite popular in the US, particularly among the youth, who enjoy chewing and sipping on the drinks with their friends.

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Not only do they have boba, but they also make their own macarons in house – the owner is trained on the technique from a class she took while in Paris, France. They even make their own jumbo sized macaron ice cream sandwiches – great for Florida summertime eating.

Quickly is actually a franchise of an international chain of boba tea shops, so the menu is quite diverse.

Asian street food items feature here as well – from the egg waffle puffs, or gai dan ji, a popular Hong Kong street food, to the spicy popcorn chicken (my personal favorite!).

Definitely make a visit to Quickly Boba and Snow soon.

 

Quickly Boba & Snow
3214 East Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL 32803
407-270-4570.

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You wouldn’t know it by driving by this little Mexican grocery store – but inside these red and yellow bodega bricked walls there is a little kitchen that serves up some very authentic Mexican street food from tamales, tortas and tacos to shrimp cocktails, menudos and tostadas.

Jalisco is a region on the west coast of Mexico known for being the “heart” of Mexican culture. A classic dish for the area includes the pozole, a kind of spicy, meaty corn-based stew, as well as menudo, a traditional Mexican beef tripe soup.

Here at Tienda Mexicana Jalisco on Goldenrod Road, in addition to the typical list of tacos, there are “caldos” or “soups” and “guisados” or “stews”. My favorites are the tostadas, fried tortillas topped with beans, cheese, salsa, lettuce, and your choice of meat – which range from the familiar carne steak and al pastor pork, to the more exotic like lengua (beef tongue) and cabeza (roasted beef head) – though they are known to be “out” of the more rare meats.

You order at the counter – Spanish helps, for sure, but there is also an English menu. As is typical at these roadside grocery eateries, you pay not at the kitchen counter, but instead, take the pay stub to the main grocery cashier to pay and then get a receipt there for the meal. It can be a little confusing for first timers.

After you’re done paying, take a seat, and when the carne or carnitas are done sizzling on the griddle and the tacos and tostadas and soups are all prepared, they bring the plates out, fresh and ready to be enjoyed.

Simple and satisfying. Watch the heat from the hot sauce, though.

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Fried snapper

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Daily lunch specials

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The grocery market part of the grocery store

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Seating area – a lot of the working crowd during lunch time

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Mexican pastries – a lot of bread – for sale

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Pay for your meal, or buy a phone card, at the register

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Tacos – carne, lengua, al pastor – watch out for the red sauce – it’s spicy

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Simple onion, cilantro, and a dash of lime for my street tacos

Tienda Jalisco on Urbanspoon

A lot of comparisons have been made with the newly opened Mamak to another local Asian street food restaurant in town – namely, Hawkers Asian Street Fare just up the road on Mills Avenue.

The menu of small plates and craft beers look awfully familiar, and there is some history among the owners of which we do not know the full details. But, there are plenty of cases of restaurants having similar menus – examples range from the many local Vietnamese pho shops to Italian and Indian restaurants.

The main crux and differentiation of each lies in their execution of the dishes.

For that reason, I am happy to have Mamak in town because of the very distinct and robust flavors in their dishes, particularly in their curry dishes.

Their decor is modern and chic, with dark woods and a long communal table perfect for a night out with friends – more like a scene out of New York City than Orlando, but if it were to be in any place in Orlando, it would be in Mills 50.

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Here’s what we recommend to get at Mamak:

Top 5 Dishes to Try at Mamak

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1. Mamak Roti Canai – Start off with this Malaysian roti toasted till golden brown, crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside and served with an addictive spicy curry sauce.
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2. Wonton with hot sauce – plump little wonton dumplings bursting with flavor in a nutty, spicy wet sauce.
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3. Maggi Goreng – Stringy, bouncy Maggi noodles, stir-fried with shrimp, chicken, eggs, and veggie, in a spiced brown sauce. This dish reminded me the most of the nasi goreng noodle dishes I had while in Indonesia recently.
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4. Malaysian Coconut Kari – Malaysia’s most popular dish, your choice of chicken, beef, or tofu and veggies, tossed in a fragrant curry cooked with freshly ground spices and chunky potatoes, served with jasmine rice and sliced cucumber.
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5. Seafood Haw Fun – This rift on the popular beef chow fun is topped with piping hot seafood and veggies instead of beef and scallions. The thick rice noodles and the seafood make for a wonderful combination and tastes so authentic and real, you’d think you were on the streets of Southeast Asia after trying.

BONUS  – Here are some other dishes at Mamak, though good, not as essential to our list of top 5:

Nasi Goreng Indonesia - hot Spicy sambai fried rice with shrimp, chicken and onions, topped with a fried egg. I think the nasi goreng kari fried rice may be a better option - that kari sauce is so good on everything.
Nasi Goreng Indonesia – hot Spicy sambai fried rice with shrimp, chicken and onions, topped with a fried egg. I think the nasi goreng kari fried rice may be a better option – that kari sauce is so good on everything.
BBQ Roast Pork - better else where in Mills 50, these tasted a little off on our visit.
BBQ Roast Pork – better else where in Mills 50, these tasted a little off on our visit.
Malaysian Asam Kari - Your choice of protein, tamarind infused coconut curry cooked with freshly ground spices, tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots and onions, served with jasmine rice and sliced cucumbers. This dish was a bit mild compared to the coconut kari version, so it's a good choice if you like mild flavors
Malaysian Asam Kari –
Your choice of protein, tamarind infused coconut curry cooked with freshly ground spices, tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots and onions, served with jasmine rice and sliced cucumbers. This dish was a bit mild compared to the coconut kari version, so it’s a good choice if you like mild flavors
Char Kway Teow -Malaysia's most popular street dish, wok-fried rice noodles, with shrimp, chicken, eggs, bean sprouts, and chives.
Char Kway Teow -Malaysia’s most popular street dish, wok-fried rice noodles, with shrimp, chicken, eggs, bean sprouts, and chives.

Mamak Asian Street Food on Urbanspoon

Sapporo Ramen is one of my favorite places for Japanese ramen noodle soup here in Orlando. After having visited Tokyo and trying some of the most popular ramen shops there, I can comfortably say that Sapporo Ramen is among the most authentic ramen in town, and rivals some of what I tasted in Japan.

Sapporo is a city on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, known for their cold weather, the home of the Sapporo Brewery, and the founding place of the miso ramen.

Miso ramen became popular around 1965, featuring a broth that combines copious amounts of miso and is blended with oily chicken or fish broth – and sometimes with tonkotsu or lard – to create a thick, nutty, slightly sweet and very hearty soup.

The Spicy Miso Ramen
The Spicy Miso Ramen

Miso ramen broth tends to have a robust, tangy flavor, so it stands up to a variety of flavorful toppings: spicy bean paste, butter and corn, leeks, onions, bean sprouts, ground pork, cabbage, sesame seeds, white pepper, and chopped garlic are common. The noodles are typically thick, curly, and slightly chewy.

Recently, Sapporo Ramen introduced a new spicy miso ramen along with a curry noodle ramen to their line up of ramen which includes tonkatsu, miso, and shoyu. I found it to be quite flavorful, with just enough spice to be not overwhelming, and great when paired with the sweet corn and salty bamboo shoots.

Another thing I like about Sapporo is their variety of Japanese street food items offered from the takoyaki octopus balls topped with quivering bonito flakes to the imagawayaki desserts, a pancake like bun filled with sweet bean paste.

Creamy Pork Tonkotsu Ramen
Creamy Pork Tonkotsu Ramen
The Kitsune Udon topped with fried tofu skin
The Kitsune Udon topped with fried tofu skin
Imagawayaki dessert
Imagawayaki dessert

Sapporo Ramen
5080 W Colonial Dr
Orlando, Florida
(407) 203-6777
Tue – Sun: 11:30 am – 8:00 pm
Check out their facebook page at Sapporo Ramen

Located in a rather desolate corner of Alafaya and Colonial Drive, ‘Kesh restaurant serves up an intriguing menu of sandwiches and flavors with an international flair, truly a hidden gem.

A visit to ‘Kesh, right next to the Orange County DMV, is like playing a game of food roulette. You literally never know what to expect – the menu changes daily, dependent on the whim and creativity of Chef Jerry Helminski.

The shop is sparse, with a layout similar to a deli  – which it may have been in a previous time – with Chef Jerry manning most of the make-shift open kitchen area and doing his best to serve up creative street food dishes.

The dishes, though humble in name, are full of flavor and have a certain finesse to them, thanks to the culinary training of the chef.

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The menu, sandwiches, shakes, and snacks – always changing

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Chicago style Dog

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Yakiniku beef sliders at Kesh

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Chef Jerry grew up on the west side of Chicago, though starting out in architecture, after some jobs in the restaurant industry and becoming intrigued, began apprenticing at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in California and working in some of America’s most renowned resorts and hotel kitchens in Chicago, Atlanta, Orlando, Houston, and Amelia Island.

For more than 20 years, his passion has been driven by one simple rule: “Learn something new every day.” His love for learning and mentoring, in addition to being part of 5 hotel openings, has sharpened and broadened Jerry’s general management competencies, as well as his restaurant concept development skills.

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Jerry has cooked for world leaders, dignitaries and celebrities including US President, George Bush Sr., the Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, Mayors of Galveston, Lyda Ann Thomas and Joe Jaworski, actor Anthony Hopkins, singer Rod Stewart, radio personality and voice actor, Casey Kasem, Astronaut and US Senator, John Glenn, hosted former WWF professional wrestling heavy weight champion, Hulk Hogan’s daughter’s birthday party, among others.

Jerry has also promoted the culinary trade through fund raising efforts since 1992 with the homeless and hunger relief organization Share Our Strengths. He is a member of the American Culinary Federation.

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We talked with Chef Jerry about ‘Kesh and his inspirations.

Where does the name ‘Kesh come from?

The name ‘Kesh is short for Marrakesh, from the city in Morocco. My wife is from Morocco and we have been several times. In particular the marketplace there is an unbelievable experience…Jemaa el-Fna. While I don’t always have Moroccan dishes on the menu I am inspired by the excitement the memories of my time there.

What are some of your favorite food memories?

My favorite food memories are all family moments from the Christmas dinners with my family to my first dinner in Morocco with my wife’s family.

Tell us about the inspiration for the menu at Kesh – it is very diverse with elements from Asia to Africa.

The inspiration for the menu at ‘Kesh comes from all my travels. I love recreating classic ethnic dishes as well as putting my own spin on those dishes. Street food from all cultures is where I start and most times what I find at the markets and food supplies takes me the rest of the way…lately a lot of the menu comes from suggestions and what I call challenges from my regulars. For example, one regular asked me if I make good crabs cakes? Challenge accepted…lol.

How did the Supper Clubs start? What can guests look forward to?

Supper Club was an idea I always had planned, based on my food memories as I mentioned above…(dinner at the table with family and friends.) However, it took a spin when again customers wanted to see me do more than “sandwiches”. I did not want to compromise what I started with as far as menu prices. So I adjusted the Supper Club to be a little more upscale than originally intended. But never pretentious.

Guests can expect as I like to say at the start of the dinner…”good food, good friends and good music.” And sometimes bad dancing by me. .(have to be at the Supper Club to see that…lol)

Chicken K'dra - Moroccan style chicken with chickpeas and zucchini
Chicken K’dra – Moroccan style chicken with chickpeas and zucchini

Through out your career, do you have any special moments that you have had that you’d like to share? 

The fondest memories I have from looking at my career so far would be my time spent working with my mentor Chef Bernd Mueller at three different hotels…Marriott, Gaylord Palms & Omni. He taught me more than I could ever explain. The best moments where working side by side with him at the Croc’s pool grill at the Omni with three other cooks in a kitchen designed for one cook…lol

Where would you go on your off days?

Days off now are spent spending time with my wife & son, going to my favorite Asian market JM on O.B.T. and Sushi take out from either Mikados or Suki Hanna.

Cheesy Breakfast Tots - with scrambled eggs and ham
Cheesy Breakfast Tots – with scrambled eggs and ham

This is kind of like asking who is your favorite child, but … what is your favorite dish and why?

Being raised in Chicago my heart will always have a place for a good steak (very rare) and Chicago style hot dogs. But I admit to having an unhealthy obsession for Asian food…Sushi, Spicy Thai Food and traditional Chinese food (mostly made at home as most Chinese restaurants food is too “Americanized” hence why I Love going to JM Oriental Market. The owner always gives me fun things to cook with. Got some black mushrooms, fermented black beans & dried shaved black fungus!

Chef Jerry - master of the kitchen at 'Kesh
Chef Jerry – master of the kitchen at ‘Kesh

On every other Saturday, check out the Kesh Saturday Supper Club and enjoy a 4 to 6-course tasting menu delicately prepared by Chef Jerry Helminski. With dishes in the past have ranged from Maple-Sake Cured Salmon Belly to Prawns braised in sweet and sour sauce, you’ll never know what to expect.

Pre-dinner canapés will be served from 7:30 – 8:00 p.m.
First dinner course is served at 8:00 p.m.

$41 per person (includes pre-dinner canapés, 4 to 6-course tasting menu and paired beverages).
$72 per couple (includes pre-dinner canapés, 4 to 6-course tasting menu and paired beverages).
Group discounts available for parties of 4 or more.
Dress code: resort casual.
No children under 12, please.

Seating is limited so reservations are required.
Please call 407.203.0801 or email us at info@keshrestaurant.com by noon on Friday.

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Kesh Restaurant and Deli on Urbanspoon

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Located on Vineland Avenue near Kirkman Road, Border Grill is one of my favorite places in town for authentic Mexican street tacos. I first found out about Border Grill from our friends at Taco Tuesdays, started by a father and son team (Keith H and his son Brandon) and a group of friends on Yelp.com who came together to try to come together each week to check out a new taco place. We had quite a group the first time at Border Grill.

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It’s a hole in the wall, with maybe less than 15 seats inside, and can be a bit hard to find. But rest assured, this place provides some of the most authentic Mexican fare out side of Mexico City. The tacos here are the stars, with various styles written on their chalk board.

You order at the counter from their list of tacos, burritos, sopes, and other specialities.

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The Best Tacos in Orlando , street style, at Border Grill

You can try from one of their many taco styles like their braised carnitas pork tacos, chorizo sausage, or carne asada with grilled steak. The owner recommends (and I can attest for) the fantastic pollo asado grilled chicken, tacos al pastor made with marinated and grilled pork, and Pibil style tacos made with Yucatan style pork marinated in orange juice and baked in banana leaves. They also serve lengua (beef tongue) for those who are more adventurous.

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The tacos come in corn tortillas, street style, with just some cilantro & onions, and a variety of salsas with varying intensities of spiciness available on the side of the counter. The owner told me that the tortillas come fresh each day from the local tortilleria that makes them down the street on Oak Ridge Road.

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Chips and Guacamole

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The huarache – literally “sandal” – is named after the footwear item due to its long shape, and topped with fresh cheese, toppings, and your choice of meat.

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Finish with a nice cup of horchata drink with cinnamon and rice, or “aguas frescas”, fresh natural flavored waters.

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Fellow Yelpers Sharon L with her signature pointing at food and blogger Julius Mayo aka Droolius and Al Buchala aka Mr MegaYummo

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Keith H and son, Brandon

Border Grill Fresh-Mex on Urbanspoon

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