Since first parking their truck east of downtown over a decade ago, Mariscos Jalisco has made it a point to keep their lunch-only crowd satisfied, even on Christmas Day. Hailing from Jalisco, the western seaside state south of the border, Raul Ortega and his crew have made seafood their business since day one.
The menu board reveals a concentrated selection of ceviches, everything from fish and shrimp to oysters and squid, served as a cocktail or plated up on tostadas. But taco lovers should pay special attention to the fried shrimp and avocado tacos de camaron.
If driving to East L.A. and arriving from the west, don't be fooled by a similarly-themed operation looking to poach business with an undoubtedly inferior product. The real deal is parked up the street, with giant painted lettering and a watery landscape along the side of the truck.
Mariscos Jalisco is already quite the favorite with many of L.A.'s favorite food faces. Roy Choi is a fan, so is LA Weekly chow scholar Jonathan Gold. In the blog LA Taco's yearly Taco Madness bracket-style taco tournament, Mariscos Jalisco beat out Ricky's Fish Taco to finish second overall. No small feat, considering how much we love Ricky's battered shrimp concoctions.
Here, the shrimp tacos are of the dorados variety, meaning they're stuffed and fried until the tortilla crisps up into a delicious brown shell. The filling is a secret blend of shrimp and spices, browned at the open edges from its time in the fryer. The result is a thick, satisfying bite of fresh and well-seasoned shrimp, crispy at the edges and perfectly paired against the crunchy tortilla shell.
Ordering two tacos at once (no big feat at just $1.75 each) means a Styrofoam plate full of shrimp greatness. Plus, you get the added bonus of a few slices of avocado and an extra helping of the salsa roja splashed on top.
Normally, salsas this thin tend to be light on the flavor too, but here the cilantro-heavy mix carries a subtle but constant heat. Don't be afraid to ask for the hotter stuff from the truck if you're looking to sweat through your winter sweater.
The ceviche options at Mariscos Jalisco are fresh and vibrant enough, especially when served on a tostada with a pile of creamy avocado and some salsa. But here, your safest bet is to just order another round of tacos de camaron.
3040 E Olympic Blvd., East Los Angeles, CA (map)