TikTok-powered birria taco boom in Melbourne

By on August 7, 2021 0


In recent years, Melbourne’s new wave of Mexican food has been a big champion of light, fresh ingredients and the kind of three-bite tacos that can be held in one hand while the other rocks the cerveza.

Lately, though, there’s a new tortilla trend in town: cheesy and oversized birria tacos designed to be dipped in soup and requiring multiple napkins.

Birria tacos dipped in a soup made with their beef brisket marinade at Dingo Ate My Taco in Melbourne. Photo: Scott McNaughton

Birria is from the Mexican state of Jalisco, also the birthplace of tequila. Its recipes are many and varied, but the popular Australian quesabirria style typically includes simmered beef enhanced with lots of cheese in a crispy, deep-fried tortilla.

A cup of consomme laden with spices made from cooking juices and marinating the meat is served on the side to dip the tacos between bites. Perfect for winter; not so good for white clothes.

“For the original recipe, the goat was cooked in a broth of dried peppers to create the delicious stew known as birria, then served with raw onion, spicy salsa and tortillas,” says Rosa Cienfuegos. , the author of tamale and tacos in Sydney. loaded cookbook Comida Mexicana.

Grilled fat dipped birria tortillas topped with breast and cheese at Dingo Ate My Taco.

Grilled fat dipped birria tortillas topped with breast and cheese at Dingo Ate My Taco. Photo: Scott McNaughton

“I’m from Mexico City and used to eat it in canteens where we go either to have a drink and have a good time, or to cure a hangover.”

Like fruit-topped porridge and poffertjes pancakes, filler snacks have become a global TikTok sensation over the past 12 months with “#birriatacos” videos racking up more than 470 million views on the social media platform.

Part of Birria’s viral popularity stems from the appeal of cheese-rich dishes on the internet, in general, as well as the theatrical, messy process of eating the tacos.

“I think the experience of dipping tacos in broth is really appealing to people, especially in groups,” says Katherine Simkins, founder of the food truck Dingo Ate My Taco. “It’s something that looks like an event, especially if there’s a COVID lockdown in place and you can’t dine out.”

Hailing from Austin, Texas, Simkins and her husband sell birria and smoked breakfast tacos at a pop-up store on St Kilda Road and a truck that regularly appears in Maribyrnong and Collingwood.

A permanent store for the couple’s Tex-Mex-style street food will open in Fitzroy by Christmas, but Birria was never part of the business plan when the couple launched Dingo Ate My Taco last year.

Vegan Cabbage-Filled Birria Tacos from Si Senorita in Fitzroy.

Vegan Cabbage-Filled Birria Tacos from Si Senorita in Fitzroy. Photo: Jess Sargeant

“To be honest, we put the birria as a special [in November] largely so that I can eat it myself, ”says Simkins.

“We had no idea it was blowing up on TikTok. All of a sudden it got crazy, and the teens started coming to the truck after school and posting videos of themselves in the process. to eat the tacos – no one in Melbourne really did that at the time and the birria quickly became half of our business.

“Now, every day we’re open, at least one person will say they’ve traveled two hours to try our tacos – provided there aren’t any COVID restrictions, of course. But we also have traders. working in the area who visit us and have no idea for Birria It’s fun when they come back next week with all their mates.

Birria tacos can also be found at Superchido in Seddon, while Latin American restaurant Si Senorita has birria nights twice a week in Fitzroy. Si Senorita also offers limited Birria packs for delivery during lockdown. The tacos are prepared according to the family recipe of its chef Marlene Michel from the hometown of Birria, Guadalajara, the capital of Jalisco.

Michel’s birria is a labor-intensive process with spices ground from scratch, pre-roasted vegetables for the broth, and beef simmered for six hours. The tortillas are dipped in adobo for added flavor before going on the hot grill.

Si Senorita general manager Mariano Cingerle insists that you should drink the consomme that comes with it, after the dip.

“It’s the best because it’s super rich and tasty,” he says. The restaurant also offers a vegan version, with finely grated roasted cabbage mimicking the color and texture of pulled beef.

At Goofy Ate My Taco, Simkins recommends that birria customers order in advance on the food truck’s website as there can be “quite a long line”.

“We dip the tortilla in the skim fat from the birria cooking stew, then grill it until nice and crisp, which can take up to 10 minutes,” she says. “People seem more than happy to wait though.”

The next border is birria ramen, that is, pouring the copper broth over the Japanese noodles. The mash-up is extremely popular in the United States, and Goofy Ate My Taco has dipped its toes in the spicy soup as well.

“We made birria ramen and we could do it again,” says Simkins. “It’s really good – I expect it to take off in Australia. The Mexican and Japanese flavors go together really well.”


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