We all know about chorizos right? Especially the ones that you would often see as tapas at Spanish restaurants. But what about Mexican chorizo? If you think that Spanish chorizo and Mexican chorizo are the same, think again. This is actually rarer to find in Sydney with Taco Mafia being one of those very few eateries that stocks this meat. Not too long ago, I got the chance to taste the difference as well as trying out the food that Taco Mafia serves.
The fit-out was similar to what you would see at places like Guzman y Gomez and Mad Mex except that Taco Mafia is an independent-owned (and I think also family-owned) store located on Elizabeth Street close to Domino's. It's promoted for delivering "Mean Mexican" cuisine which was clearly shown from the Mexican gangland-inspired decor from the posters to the red splashes on the white stools and the car doors ridden with bullet holes. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of eating a generous-sized meal at lunch so by the time I got to Taco Mafia, I was still very full so two visits were made to get a better idea on what they serve.
Was treated to a cup of hibiscus tea which was only offered as a special on the day. When I returned to Taco Mafia later, this was unavailable on the special menu. For those who are not familiar with this, it's made from hibiscus flower that was imported from Mexico. It had a light, fruity and not too sweet taste so it is an ideal drink for the warmer weather.
Taco Truck Tacos - L: Chipotle Pork, R: Chicken Tinja (Individual: $3.00, 3 x tacos: $9.90)
There are three different types of tacos available at Taco Mafia. You could get the option of "Taco truck" tacos, soft tacos and crispy tacos. I ended up ordering the taco truck tacos which were soft corn tortillas consisting of a meat filling of your choice, coriander and chopped tomatoes and onion. On this occasion, I got to try the flavours listed on the Specials blackboard which were chipotle pork and chicken tinja. The chipotle pork was made in-house and had a soft and not too spicy flavour. The Central Mexican-inspired chicken tinja was a bit spicier with its shredded chicken breast and thigh cooked with a tomato, onion and chilli sauce base. This was served with corn chips and house-made guacamole on the side.
But what about the Mexican chorizo? On this visit, I was given the chance to check out the difference in the Mexican chorizo. Unlike the more common Spanish chorizo which is firm and mild; Mexican chorizo is much softer, spicier and can only be used when the skin is removed as shown above. While you can have Spanish chorizo as a cured meat, Mexican chorizo can only be eaten once it's cooked.
Corn chip with chorizo
As you can see, it has a spicy and strong flavour with a crumbly texture that is similar to minced meat only with lots of seasoning. Great to have with crispy corn chips as a dip.
Cooking the Mexican Chorizo at home
I got the chance to try out the chorizo at home. Simply remove the skin and spread the meat across the pan. Cook the chorizo for about 3 minutes or until it's brown. One thing to note is that the smokey chorizo scent when cooking was too strong to handle especially with the intense spices. It works well with lots of recipes such as quesadilla, refried beans and chorizo, scrambled eggs, breakfast burritos and even on pizza or a Mexican chorizo fondue! Check out the Goyos Mexican Chorizo website for recipes and where this delicacy is stocked in Australia. Currently Taco Mafia is the only restaurant that stocks this in Sydney however you can also find it at Casa Margarita at Polkobin in the Hunter Valley.
Special Burrito - Chorizo ($13.90)
Because I was unable to eat any other dishes on my first visit due to a heavy lunch, I decided to make a further visit to try the chorizo burrito. You could get a regular burrito with the same fillings as the tacos as well as cheese, rice, chopped tomato and onions and pinto beans for $10.90. You could up-size to a super burrito with guacamole and sour cream included in the filling for $12.90 or a special burrito for $13.90 with different flavours listed on the blackboard that are only available for a limited time. While I opted for no sour cream, I actually found that the sour cream and guacamole would be beneficial to sooth the spicy flavours of the chorizo. Was very delicious though I thought that the size was a bit small given the price. Definitely had no trouble finishing this up. This also came with a small serving of corn chips on the side.
The staff was friendly and accommodating on both of my visits. While it was quiet, hopefully with this review it may not be the case since they do appear to be true to their word with serving authentic Mexican cuisine. Especially when they offer chicken fajitas and chicken mole for the occasional specials. Apart from the special chorizo burrito, most of the other items on the menu were quite cheap actually. For example, the chicken fajitas on a plate on the special menu is actually cheaper than most places serving the same dish! And they do deliveries to Sydney CBD and Surry Hills if you are craving for Mexican food at work for lunch or even dinner if you end up staying back late.
Disclaimer: The Random Foodie dined as a guest of Taco Mafia on her first visit, courtesy of Bill from Goyo's Mexican Chorizo. A further visit was also made to Taco Mafia on a later date where the burrito was independently paid for. Opinions remain personal.
232a Elizabeth Street, Sydney NSW 2010
(02) 9212 5222
Mon-Fri: 7:00am - 9:00pm
Sat: 8:00am - 9:00pm