Friday 17 May 2024

Mexican Taco Stand Becomes First Ever To Receive Prestigious Michelin Star

 Mexico City-based taco stand has been awarded a Michelin star, a first for that type of establishment.

Tacos El Califa de León is the only taco stand in the world that can boast the highly coveted honor. The establishment’s head chef, Rivera Martínez, reacted to receiving the award, saying, “It’s neat, it’s cool,” per a translation, according to the Associated Press.

The Michelin Guides are a series of books published by the French tire company since 1900. The highly respected guides award up to three Michelin stars for excellence, and only the top restaurants in the world are selected for the honor. Gaining and losing stars often affects a restaurant’s popularity. 

The outlet noted that chef Martínez didn’t immediately put on the full-sleeved white chef’s jacket he received as a gift from the Michelin rep because his 10-foot by 10-foot cooking area gets very hot.

Martínez says the secret to the taco stand’s success is keeping the menu simple and concentrating on quality. Customers have one option – beef tacos. “The secret is the simplicity of our taco. It has only a tortilla, red or green sauce, and that’s it. That, and the quality of the meat,” he said. He would not reveal where the meat comes from, the outlet noted, but did say he cooks the meat at a very specific temperature.

When asked what he recommends customers to eat with the tacos, the chef said, “I like a Coke.” 


The establishment has been operating since 1968 and is massively popular among locals and tourists despite being slightly more expensive than competitors in the area. They’re known for the Gaonera taco, apparently named in honor of Mexican bullfighter Rodolfo Gaona.

“This taqueria may be bare bones with just enough room for a handful of diners to stand at the counter but its creation, the Gaonera taco, is exceptional,” the Michelin Guide says

“Thinly sliced beef filet is expertly cooked to order, seasoned with only salt and a squeeze of lime. At the same time, a second cook prepares the excellent corn tortillas alongside. The resulting combination is elemental and pure.”

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