KILLER MARGARITAS, FUNKY FLAVOURS - HOI AN'S BEST MEXICAN
said that Mexican’s don’t have identity, they have history. That they are a mix of many cultures.
In Mexico City, Street food has particularly strong roots, people eat on the street for pleasure, free from social class distinction and barriers.
The flavours are bitter, spicy, sour, smoky, earthy, and the offerings seasonal dependent on access to the best ingredients.
Strikingly similar to Hoi An, and when you think of it like that it should make perfect sense of husband and wife team, Brad and Nhung Hulkes’ decision to open up Hola Taco, a Mexican restaurant on Phan Chau Trinh - a street famous for some of the best local restaurants in the city.
Despite only having been operational since 2012, Hola Taco has made a major imprint on the Hoi An culinary map (it’s rumoured that the spiced pulled pork enchiladas are worth selling a spouse for). The food here is extraordinary. With Perth chef, Brad Hulkes (the Taco Whisperer) engineering the complex flavours and vibrant colours that predominate Mexican cuisine without fault. Menu highlights include vegetarian spiced black bean tacos, Oaxacan chorizo enchiladas and spicy, slow cooked beef tacos with pico de gallo, queso fresco and black beans - each served with a homemade salsa bursting with citrus flavours and a whack of heat (easily extinguished by drowning with a classic lime Margarita or Corona).
For those that have already joined the Hola Taco cartel, Brad and Nhung made the brave decision to upscale to larger, more ambient premises a few shop houses up Phan Chau Trinh street, in September 2016.
On the surface, little has changed: decor and ambience remain soothingly retro. Dark wooden shutters, high ceilings and the artsy wall dressings are the same as before. But the lighting is kinder, the wood and chrome furniture is polished like new and the music hits its camp. The kitchen, which has consistently served patrons Mexican favourites with a burst of Asian exotica, is now - like their new digs, even bigger and better, and with the Taco Whisperer at the helm you can be assured of refined flavours and quality cuisine that could easily compete as some of the best you ever tasted. Lunch here will cost around $8-10 (a little bit less than the current spousal exchange rate).