These Baja Fish Tacos from Ensenada, Mexico in a strange way, remind me of my childhood in England. I was a big fan (and still am) of the fish & chip shop! The crunch of the batter coating the soft, delicate fish got me every time. I'd fold my buttered bread slice in half and stuff it with fish and chips then smother it in mushy peas or ketchup - like a rough and ready Geordie taco!
One of the highlights of moving Las Vegas back in 2015, other than all sunshine and no rain, is the proximity to great Mexican food and even more wonderful the distance to Mexico itself! I'm a BIG fan!
Beautiful Ensenada in Baja California
On one of our travels, we decided to make the seven hour drive from Vegas to the coastal town of Ensenada in Baja California - where the Baja fish taco originated. I'd watched TV chefs Anthony Bourdain, Rick Bayless and Rick Stein all take in the town and rave about the street food seafood tacos and tostadas, so I knew it would be worth the trek.
We even discovered we could take our dog, Shirley. She's not such a fan of Mexican food, but agreed to come regardless.
After a pleasant drive there, we sampled all manner of seafood delights. The Uni, Cuttle fish, Marlin and Octopus tacos, ceviches and tostadas were all sensational and super fresh, but it was the battered tilapia tacos from one unassuming street stall Tacos de Pescado Floresta were the drop-jaw stand-out.
The perfect fish taco?
Costing around 90c, our tacos were small and simple. Consisting of two corn tortillas, a strip of perfectly battered tilapia fish and that was it! Plentiful condiments were provided - fresh salsas, shredded cabbage and limes with two sauces - Chipotle pepper infused sour cream and a thin zesty and spicy avocado/chilli sauce. There were also a range stomach rumbling hot salsas ranging from 'yum!' to 'ay caramba!'
They were sensational! The best street food I've ever eaten anywhere in the World. I lost count how many I ate. Shirley loved them too, she was fresh from a haircut at the "estetica canina" and devoured a whole piece of fish, to much applause from the locals.
Back home, creating these myself was easy - and the results surprisingly authentic. We live in a neighbourhood with countless amazing Mexican and Latin supermarkets, so our proximity to the same ingredients they use in Ensenada is no problem, but for those further afield, I've put together some helpful links below to some key ingredients online. The chipotles in adobo are a great store cupboard thing to have - they also feature in my delicious, authentic Mexican Posole soup.
Fish tacos with a little help from Japan
Now, before you scroll down to the comments to whine about me using a packet tempura batter mix, i'll defend my actions. In all honesty, my batter skills are all over the place. One day it'll be perfection, the next stodgy and gross. I'm just mediocre at batters OK! Life is too short for batter roulette, so instead I choose Japanese tempura mix - it's perfect every time. In the batter game, the Japanese DO NOT MESS AROUND . ありがとう (arigato).
They're perfect to serve when friends or family come by and everyone can participate in assembling their own food. Kids love them and the adults can spice them up or down as they see fit - everyone's happy! So, if you're in the game for authentic Ensenada Street Tacos (yes please!) - there's no need to pack up the car and dog, just try my simple to follow recipe instead!