Ortega Taco Dinners were my Italian-American childhood introduction to “Mexican” food. Since then, I’ve sampled the wide range of Mexican cuisine as it exists in Mexico, from Yucatan’s cohinita pibil (marinated pork slow roasted in banana leaves) to Puebla’s chiles en nogada (stuffed chiles in cream sauce), to Baja California’s fish tacos. I have learned that Mexican tacos are wrapped in soft, handmade corn tortillas, and can be filled with pork or lengua (beef tongue). The best chiles rellenos are coated in fried egg. Mexican hot chocolate, thick with a hint of chile, is not to be missed.
Our all-time favorite Jersey Mexican was a taquería in Hoboken on First Street. (Spectacular chiles rellenos, served with an intense red mole.) That place has closed, but there are plenty of Mexican food options in New Jersey.
Authentic Mexican restaurants have sprouted all over the Garden State, from South Jersey to Passaic, Middlesex, and Monmouth Counties. More than 200,000 New Jersey residents claimed Mexican ancestry in the 2010 Census, the second largest Hispanic ethnic group after Puerto Rican. There are so many Mexican-American communities in New Jersey, I’m sure the best taco is at a local spot we would never find on our own.
Tell me your favorites spots for Mexican food. I’ll add the most popular to the list, and to the map.
Blitzing Through New Jersey in Search of the State’s Best Mexican Food
Comida Mexicana Al Gusto
Good Mexican in Northern NJ?
Mexican home cooking making its way around South Jersey
Real Mexican Food in New Jersey
Search for Jersey’s best tacos takes Munchmobile from Montclair to New Brunswick