Here in Canggu – where eating is considered a full-time occupation – there are plenty of places to tuck into some grub worth gossiping over. But if you want to get messy with your food (like, meeeeessssssay), you might be at the whim of a few stinky stares. Luckily, on the outskirts of the ‘Gu, we’ve found a judgement-free zone where you can get as intimate with your eats as you like (okay, within reason) and enjoy sans the decree of the leafy-green-types this island also attracts. And what better food to do that with than… tacos, burritos, nachos, and quesadillas. Oooo baby, bring on wet(/fat) season!
Firstly, this place is on Jl. Bumbak in Umalas – a quiet area just a 5 min scoot from the ‘Gu. The set-up is intentionally basic so as to be ultra-inviting. Before you even see the menu, you know it’s Mexican. The dead give-aways are the painting of the girl on the wall, donning a Mexican marigold in her hair (a cempaxochitl, by the way), the bright coloured furniture and the smell of fresh lime permeating the air. The staff all wear breezy button ups with illustrations of Frida Kahlo on them and immediately, you know this place takes fun as seriously as they take food.
On that note… Make sure you come hungry. The owner and his chef definitely did their research, not just for the ingredients of Mexican delicacies, but for how people most enjoy consuming them. We’ll start with the Tacos ‘cos… well, it’s in the name. Your options are vast! The pork cuts come two ways – Al Pastor and as carnitas. If you’re yet to try carnitas, then this is your moment. We’ll be honest, they aren’t great for the waistline, but the succulent lard-soaked flavour is well worth it. Even the Mexican visitors on opening night said they were close to perfection – true story! If pork isn’t your jam, the next best option is the veggie carnitas with a jackfruit sub. (Just as delicious, and not so murdery.) The tacos also come in a chicken, tempe, tofu, beef and spicy shrimp selection. And by the way, they’re 25k-35k each. Yerrp, you read that right.
Next up: the burritos. You have two routes here, either with or without rice (in case you’ve already had ten tacos which, you know, happens). The burritos can be made up with all the same insides as the tacos, as well as an additional ‘De Pesca’ option for those who fancy themselves a bitta beer battered fish. At 40k a pop, you’re basically losing money by not ordering a banquet.
Of course, you want to leave room for the quesadillas too. These round guys are melted cheese paradise and arrive with sides of pico de gallo, sour cream and house made guacamole. If it’s the main event, you can also choose yourself a meaty filling – refer above for the array of options. The nachos aren’t to be forgotten either, featuring charcoal corn chips and a healthy dose of toppings (like, why else do you order nachos?) and the red snapper ceviche for chip connoisseurs who prefer a lighter crunch.
If your mouth isn’t already leaking, then you need to see a doctor. Or perhaps, you just need to hear about the sauce spread. Tacos Aqui make their own blends of coriander and lime mayo, as well as a crowd-pleasing chipotle drizzle. If being fussy is your style, you can also choose between corn (gluten free) or flour tortillas, which are made and pressed inhouse as well.
There’s nothing quite like smashing a generous helping of Mexican into your face, then rolling off the seat like you’ve achieved something remarkable. Tacos Aqui have made their menu affordable to encourage trying and sharing, and have matched the ambiance with that same intention. Perfect for groups, singles, pre-games, post-games, hangovers, cheat days, birthdays, and days where you just can’t get tacos off the brain (we all know those). If you only eat one meal today, let it be Tacos Aqui!