Taco Challenge 2020 Winners

The  Vancouver Foodster 7th Annual Taco Challenge was a success featuring taco creations from restaurants around Vancouver. Each restaurant featured their taco creation from June 5-28, 2020. Our media judging panel determined the ultimate winners of the challenge, and this was quite the task as each judge who tasted each creation with a rigorous process based on taste, originality/uniqueness and presentation/appearance.

The Winners are:

1st Place:

{104 points}

Little Mexico Cantina

Al Pastor Especial

Price: $6.50

Created by owner Carol Janeczko

Description: Grilled white corn tortilla topped with grilled Oaxaca cheese, shepherd style marinated pork,  drizzle of serrano hot sauce, diced onions, cilantro, grilled pineapple and avocado.

The origins of tacos al pastor are linked to Lebanese immigrants who migrated to Puebla, Mexico during the 1930’s. Later, during the 1960’s in Puebla, the Mexican-born children of these immigrants opened their own restaurants and put a Mexican twist onto the popular Lebanese dish. Lamb was switched out for pork, which was then marinated in a variety of spices, chilies, achiote and more items that are popular in Mexican cuisine. The pita bread and/or flour tortilla were then switched out for corn tortillas. At one point, pineapple began to be included to the taco al pastor recipe. It was also during the 1960’s when tacos al pastor found its way into Mexico City and gained immense popularity.

Offered: 11:30am – 8:30pm Tuesday to Saturday

Available for dine-in, take-out, or delivery (partnered with Skip the Dishes, Uber Eats or Doordash)

Little Mexico Cantina

3131 Chatham St #150, Richmond

Tel: (604) 272-5123

Web: http://www.littlemexicocantina.com/

Twitter: @LMCSteveston

Instagram @lmcsteveston

2nd Place:

{92 points}

Mi Casa Mexicana

Suadero

Price: $5

Created by: the team

Description: Mexico City soft taco, juicy braised beef, onion, cilantro, cucumber, lime & salsa verde on handmade corn tortillas from locally based Metate Bake Shop.

Offered: Thursday – Sunday 2pm – 7pm

Mi Casa Mexicana

2015 Burrard Street, Vancouver

Tel: 604-346-7084

Web: https://micasamexicana.net

Instagram @micasamexicana.yvr

3rd Place:

{88 points}

Cinco De Mayo Mexican Grill

Tacos De Borrego

Price: $4

Created by:  Chef Claudia

Description: Get ready to enjoy our exquisite and delicious Tacos De Borrego! One of our most popular house specialties made exclusively by Chef Claudia. One of Mexico’s most traditional ancestral dishes, our fresh Halal lamb is marinated overnight wrapped in banana leaves with a proprietary blend of dried chilies and delicately slow cooked the next day “Al Vapor” to preserve the distinctively unique flavours.

When the meat is absolutely perfect, we shred it by hand and it is served traditionally, on soft corn tortillas garnished with our house made salsa verde, fresh chopped onion, cilantro and a lime wedge.

Offered: Lunch and dinner daily.

Cinco De Mayo Mexican Grill

200 Esplanade W., North Vancouver

Tel: (604) 770-1010

Web: http://www.cinco5demayo.com/

Twitter: @CincoTweets

Instagram @cinconorthshore

In the People’s Choice Awards category, the public who tried the Taco Creations were the ones who had the opportunity to cast their vote throughout the challenge.

The Winners are:

1st Place People’s Choice:

Little Mexico Cantina

Al Pastor Especial

Price: $6.50

Created by owner Carol Janeczko

Description: Grilled white corn tortilla topped with grilled Oaxaca cheese, shepherd style marinated pork,  drizzle of serrano hot sauce, diced onions, cilantro, grilled pineapple and avocado.

The origins of tacos al pastor are linked to Lebanese immigrants who migrated to Puebla, Mexico during the 1930’s. Later, during the 1960’s in Puebla, the Mexican-born children of these immigrants opened their own restaurants and put a Mexican twist onto the popular Lebanese dish. Lamb was switched out for pork, which was then marinated in a variety of spices, chilies, achiote and more items that are popular in Mexican cuisine. The pita bread and/or flour tortilla were then switched out for corn tortillas. At one point, pineapple began to be included to the taco al pastor recipe. It was also during the 1960’s when tacos al pastor found its way into Mexico City and gained immense popularity.

Offered: 11:30am – 8:30pm Tuesday to Saturday

Available for dine-in, take-out, or delivery (partnered with Skip the Dishes, Uber Eats or Doordash)

Little Mexico Cantina

3131 Chatham St #150, Richmond

Tel: (604) 272-5123

Web: http://www.littlemexicocantina.com/

Twitter: @LMCSteveston

Instagram @lmcsteveston

2nd Place People’s Choice:

Loz Takos

Crispy Pork Belly Tako

Price: $5.00

Created by: Chef Fernando Acosta & Billy Newell

Description: Loz Takos presents a gluten free Crispy Pork Belly Tako layered on a 6” fresh corn tortilla, topped with pickled red onion, and a drizzle of our house special green tomatillo salsa. FRESHNESS ALERT: All of our tortillas are made specially for Loz Takos, serving real Mexican street food as fast as we can!

Offered: Monday to Friday, 11 am to 5 pm. Available to dine-in, take-out, delivery with Skip the Dishes, Uber Eats, Doordash or Ritual.

Loz Takos – Broadway Location

792 W Broadway, Vancouver

Telephone: 604-423-4525

Web: www.loztakos.ca

Facebook: @loztakos

Instagram: @loztakos

3rd Place People’s Choice:

Mi Casa Mexicana

Suadero

Price: $5

Created by: the team

Description: Mexico City soft taco, juicy braised beef, onion, cilantro, cucumber, lime & salsa verde on handmade corn tortillas from locally based Metate Bake Shop.

Offered: Thursday – Sunday 2pm – 7pm

Mi Casa Mexicana

2015 Burrard Street, Vancouver

Tel: 604-346-7084

Web: https://micasamexicana.net

Instagram @micasamexicana.yvr

Our media judging panel determined the ultimate winners of the challenge, and this was quite the task as each judge who tasted each creation with a rigorous process based on taste, originality/uniqueness and presentation/appearance.

Each media judge scored each creation with a maximum of 40 points as follows: Overall Taste 20 points, Originality and Uniqueness 10 points, Presentation and Appearance 10 points. The highest number of points a challenge creation could have been awarded is 120 points.

Our Media judges for this challenge were: Shelley Hayashi, Rick Green and Jacqueline Chui

Thank you to all the restaurants that accepted my invitation and featured the Taco Challenge creations on the menu for the past few weeks during this challenge.

I encourage you to visit the winning restaurants to try their Taco creations! See all the Taco Challenge Entries Here.

By: Richard Wolak