Al Chile – Mexican Street food

It was the Queens jubilee weekend, the sun was out, and we had a few hours to spare, so the wife and I decided to pop into Ely and have a look around.

I had a feeling there would be some great food on and I was not disappointed, as I managed to stumble across Al Chile – a food van serving a selection of gourmet Mexican food.

The bulk of the menu was tacos but you also got a selection of other popular Mexican food, such as quesadillas and burritos. I’m an absolute sucker for chorizo, so I decided to go for their Mexican Style Chorizo taco. My wife went for a chicken Quesadilla.

The side sauces were 70p each, ranging from salsa, chipotle, and sour cream. Careful, as we were a little cavalier when ordering the sauces and didn’t check the prices, so the cost soon mounted up. Along with a bottle of water it came to over £22!

First off, the tacos. These were 3 hand made blue corn tortillas with mexican style chorizo, cabbage, caramelised onion, spring onion, feta cheese (I think), coriander, and chilies.

Visually they were stunning, with bold colours which popped right off the plate.

One gripe I always have with tacos is how messy they are. No matter how hard one tries they always fall apart and get everywhere. This was a mild anxiety I had as I was eating them outside on the go in front of many people. The blue corn tortillas were very durable however and managed to hold their structure well. They were much more enjoyable to eat than the disaster I was expecting. Phew!

The tacos tasted absolutely fantastic! They not only had a diverse and complex variety of tastes complimenting the flavour but they also had a great texture to the bite. This was an absolute joy to eat and my only issue was that there were only three!

I complained about the cost of the side sauces earlier but they really made a big difference to the dish. In my opinion they were worth the extra money. The spicy sauce was, for me, the real star of the show! Absolutely delicious!

My wife thoroughly enjoyed her quesadilla. She thought the portions were “about right” and it managed to fill her up. She couldn’t help but feel that filling was a little lacking but otherwise it was a good experience and much easier to eat on the go. I tried some myself and thought the dish looked a little bland by eye, but there were bolder flavours than I was expecting upon trying.

My experience with Mexican food is not as varied as I would like it to be but these were some of the best tacos I have ever had! There was so much more complexity to them than I was expecting and were beautifully presented for a van food. I highly recommend giving these a go the next time you see the pink van out and about. Don’t let the reputation of the messy taco scare you off. Get stuck in and give it a try – you won’t regret it!

Don’t forget to check out their website for more information!

Thanks for reading!

Second visit:

After the success of our first visit to Al Chile, my son and I popped back for another try. This was served by a different team in a multicoloured van which felt like an entirely different experience. The staff had changed and even the food felt like it was different.

My boy had the chicken tacos which were delicious but were a little dry. The sour cream was a big help with the dryness but it does not come with the dish, so make sure you order some if you do decide to go for this. Despite this, it didn’t stop my boy from devouring them and he said that they were absolutely fantastic.

I went for the mince tacos with the hottest choice from their chillies table. The meal tasted great, though there was a lot of grease which came out as I ate it. Luckily, I asked for extra napkins as this would have been a nightmare you eat otherwise. Make sure you do the same if you go for the mince in future!

There was absolutely no kick to the chillies. They were supposed to be the hottest on the menu (with a three chillies rating 🌶️🌶️🌶️) but I couldn’t taste a thing!

Al Chile offer a selection of Mexican brand fizzy drinks called “Jarritos” which come in a wide range of flavours, from coke, to pineapple, to mango. These really fascinated me as I am the sort of person who loves exploring foreign supermarkets when I’m on holiday, just to see how other cultures differ from my own. The idea of trying a Mexican coke was too tempting not to try.

They came to £3 a bottle, which took me by surprise. They were imported, I suppose, and I was only looking to try them once, so I decided to cough up anyway but they were actually very nice. The coke had a lot more flavour than the classic coke we all know. You could immediately tell that they were made with natural sugar which made a big difference.

The coke was certainly worth the £3 to try but to drink consistently? Probably not. That said, they already offer regular coke too, so it’s win win.

I absolutely love Al Chile and think it offers a good quality and authentic Mexican experience. I was amazed at how well this famously messy food held together while on the go (unless you order the mince!) and I think it was reasonable value for what you get. I often see Al Chile out and about so I will no doubt be visiting again in the future. If only they did things a little spicier!

Thanks for reading!

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