The tacos and atmosphere at El Fogon in Playa Del Carmen haunt my fat kid taco dreams; the smell of charcoal grilled meats, the Spanish music playing in the background and of course those al pastor and chorizo tacos on those warm corn tortillas is enough to make me almost impulse buy a one way ticket to taco heaven and live happily ever after. El Fogon is an open air local taqueria with 2 locations that specializes in “tacos al pastor” and the first we do when we arrive in Playa Del Carmen is head to El Fogon for some tacos.
Tacos al pastor are an adapted culinary wonder of the world influenced by Lebanese immigrants to Mexico. Al pastor is based on shawarma (spit grilled meat) and at El Fogon juicy pork dances around the spit as zesty and sweet pineapple juice drips down to slightly caramelizes the meat. At El Fogon, each al pastor taco is made from hand carved meat placed over a warm tortilla and garnished with onions, cilantro, and sometime small pieces of pineapple.
The main location of El Fogon is on on Constituyentes Avenue (between 25th Avenue and 30th Avenue) and opens around 13:00 and stays open until 06:00 some days. The other location is on 30th Avenue and the corner of 6 Bis Street and recommended for dinner and late snacks as it open later and the wait is usually shorter than at the main location.
We usually order 3 tacos each and leave feeling pretty full, wishing we could eat “uno mas” but there’s always tomorrow. The al pastor and chorizo tacos are a-la-carte and the other ones come in orders of three. We have enjoyed the carne asada tacos but wouldn’t order them again; go for the al pastor and chorizo “con” or “sin” queso.
The service at El Fogon is impeccable, the people there work so hard to serve locals and tourists great food. We would say it is clean and sanitary even if it looks like it isn’t when comparing to norms back in Canada/USA. We have eaten here a dozen times and have never felt ill (we do take Dukkoral every year). I think a lot of our ideas about what is clean and sanitary can be influenced by perception and negative press. At El Fogon, they’re always busy and turn food around a lot, so it doesn’t sit. If you are worried, you may want to ask for your tacos “sin cilantro”, avoid the cucumber, radish, and salsas; your tacos will taste fine without them (but they taste better with the condiments). Just as a side note, we’ve gotten sick from eating expensive food at the luxury hotel so you never know what may affect you.
If you’re still unconvinced, have a look at the Facebook Fan page dedicated to El Fogon.
Have you been to El Fogon? What are your favourite kind of tacos?
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