Addicted to Chronic Tacos—Soft and Crispy Fatty Tacos at Chronic Tacos.

By Tana Kosiyabong

Chronic Taco soft fatty tacos with Tecate beer battered shrimp

A few days ago my coworker Tania proposed I embark on a Cheap Appetite mission to Chronic Tacos, a new taco joint that recently opened around the corner from our workplace. Although she hadn’t tried it yet, she thought it looked promising and I should give it a try (as her lab rat). That same night, my friend Grant also mentioned about this joint. So now that I’d heard about it twice I was very curious. “What’s up with this place? I’ve gotta check it out,” I told myself.

So on my lunch hour the next day I strolled down to West Broadway at Yukon and into Chronic Tacos. When I got to the taco shop – which looked more like a sport bar – a long line of patrons had already formed in front of the counter. It was hard to believe that they’d only been open a week. As I was waiting in line, more and more people kept coming in.

Fifteen minutes later, it was my turn to order. Since this place was named after tacos, I figured it would be wise to roll with that. I ordered two fatty tacos; one on a soft corn tortilla with deep fried Tecate beer battered shrimp, and one crispy taco with Carne Asada (marinated grilled steak) — each priced at $3.29. Other choices of meat (for the same price) are Pollo Asado (marinated grilled chicken), Carnitas (slow cooked pork), Al Pastor (spicy marinated pork with pineapple and onion), deep-fried or grilled fish, and grilled shrimp. Chronic Tacos also sells veggie Fatty Tacos for $2.89.

I had to wait a few minutes while the crispy taco and beer battered shrimp were deep-frying. Once they were cooked I moved along to the next station in their taco assembly line, where I could choose anything to top my tacos; veggies, guacamole, salsa, you named it.

As far as I saw, the staff here were friendly and knowledgable about their menu, although they did look like motorcycle gangsters. You’d think plenty tattoos were part of their job prerequisites. It was fun to see these tough guys cooking in the kitchen for a change.

Soft and Crispy Fatty Tacos at Chronic Tacos, a taco chain from California

Once the tacos were assembled, I sat down and tried my best to keep the photo shoot as short as possible. In my mind I kept thinking about the deep fried shrimp which would be less and less crispy with every second I delayed eating them. “That’s it. Enough shots already!” I told myself as I put the stupid camera down.

Not wanting to waste another second, I grabbed the soft tacos with crispy shrimp and popped it straight in my mouth. Fortunately, the deep-fried shrimp batter was still somewhat crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The contrasting textures of the crispy shrimp and the corn tortilla were a heavenly combination in my lucky mouth. The hot sauce was hot, but not tongue-burning. The fresh salsa and hot sauce lifted up the flavor profiles a few more notches. On the table, there were 3 extra bottles of hot sauce in case what they added in the assembly line wasn’t enough.

I was on cloud nine while I alternately switched back and forth among the 3 hot sauces and sometimes combined them all together. My favorite of the three is the Bandito Gringos which made of vinegar, habernero peppers, jalapeno peppers, red japanese chili peppers and a few other ingredients.

Cholula, Gringo Bandito, and Tapatio mexican hot sauces at Chronic Tacos

Crispy Fatty Tacos Crane Asada at Chronic Tacos on West Broadway at Yukon St.

Then I moved on to the crispy taco which miraculously stayed crispy after all that time. The Carne Asada (marinated grilled steak) was deep-fried with the taco shell — which predictably was much better than grocery store taco shells. The only complaint was that the shell did closed up while being deep-fried. Even when the assembled staff tried to pry it apart without breaking it, there was still limited space for the toppings. So if you’re looking to fill up your belly, I recommend you go with the soft corn tortilla tacos which allow more room to pile up the toppings.

The grilled steak was cooked well-done as a result of being deep-fried with the shell. However, it was still beefy and the tender texture contrasted well with the crispy shell. With the 3 bottles of hot sauce at my fingertips, I was, for a few minutes at least, the happiest man alive.

Judging from the size of the corn tortilla, Fatty Tacos is not authentically Mexican. It is more similar to Tex-Mex, or, in Chronic Tacos’ case, Cal-Mex (the original restaurant of this fast food chain is located in Newport Beach, California). Two fatty tacos are more in quantity than 4 La Taqueria authentic Mexican tacos. Although Chronic Tacos’ Fatty Tacos are slightly more expensive, you also get much bigger portions.

I must say that it’s really unfair to compare authentic Mexican tacos with the Tex-Mex styles. There is a time and place for everything. All I know is that after my first visit, I can foresee myself chronically addicted to Fatty Tacos in the near future.

NOTE: Other than Fatty Tacos, Chronic Tacos also offers variety of Mexican dishes including Burritos, Tostada Bowls, Tortas (sandwich like dish made with fresh talera bread, refried beans, veggies, guacamole, salsa and your choice of meat), Nachos, Quesadillas, etc. Chronic Tacos also serves breakfast, a kids menu, and most importantly, it also has a liquor license.

CHRONIC TACOS MENU

Chronic Tacos Menu (Vancouver)

Chronic Tacos soft corn tortilla Fatty Tacos with Tecate beer battered shrimp: ©©©© 1/2

Chronic Tacos crispy Fatty Tacos with carne asada: ©©©©

Chronic Tacos is located at 382 W. Broadway Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada. (T) 604.709.8226

BUDGET BREAKDOWN:

Remaining Budget: $114.30

Budget Spent: -$6.58 (not included HST)

Budget Available: $107.72

©2010 Tana Kosiyabong and CheapAppetite.com™. All rights reserved.

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14 thoughts on “Addicted to Chronic Tacos—Soft and Crispy Fatty Tacos at Chronic Tacos.

  1. I tried Chronic last week and enjoyed my deepfried soft fish taco, potato taco and taquitos very much. I didn’t see the Gringo hot sauce so will have to watch for that next time as the others are not my favourites.

    I have heard varying reports on the shrimp but it is on the radar for my next visit. The Canadian website also says they now serve flautas, so that is the other thing I will be targeting.

    1. Grayelf, I think if you like deep fried battered fish, you would probably like the shrimp as well. I believe they use the same batter. But don’t expect big shrimps though. They use small shrimps, at chronic tacos Next time i will try the deep fried fish and maybe the grilled one too. Just talking about it make my mouth water 🙂

    1. Tia, my best guess would be the name “Fatty Tacos” refers to the size of the tacos themselves. As I mentioned in the post, the tacos were a lot bigger (Tex-mex or Cal-mex size) than La Taqueria’s (authentic mexican tacos size). I don’t think it’s the fatty cut of meat because you have many choices of meats including grill mahimahi fish and even veggie fatty taco. 🙂

      1. Although the tacos are larger here than at other taquerias, I assumed the ‘fatty’ reference was to rolling a big j-int (cf) the whole chronic analogy. But I’ve lived in BC all my life and tend to free-associate, if you know what I mean.

        I ended up going there again tonight before a class. Had the shrimp which were the size of regular shrimp (not prawns) and very juicy. I wasn’t in love with the batter though it was very light but that is a personal thing as I am generally not a fan of beer batters.

        Also tried the carnitas (just a sample) which was tasty but a bit too connective tissue-ey, so I opted for an al pastor soft taco and a carne asada crispy taco. All much more to my taste than any other meat fillings I’ve had in town and thank goodness, not wet. The al pastor is a little too spicy without corresponding flavour balance. I was completely stuffed for $11 all in.

      2. Second visit to the taco shop already, Greyelf? You’re fast! Thanks for the tip about the fatty reference 🙂 That makes better sense with the tattoos gangster staff. lol. Too bad you didn’t like the batter. I think it was good 😛 Well… it’s all about personal preferences, i must say.

        I haven’t tried al pastor yet. But I don’t think it’s going to be too spicy for me though. I’d probably add more hot sauce. But I add hot sauce to everything. lol. My tongue loves to be abused 🙂 Thanks for sharing your experience. Hope you come visit us again soon.

  2. I’ve had the battered fish taco, and the crispy carne asada. The fish I liked a LOT, light, fluffy, crunchy crust and not greasy. I could have easily eaten three. The crispy beef was good for texture but the beef was bland. For add-ons I got lime, shredded cheese (sorry, Grayelf), lots of cilantro, and lettuce (hate raw cabbage except in cole slaw).

    Paid just over $3 each taco, plus a one-size $1.99 soda. With Hated Sales Tax, total was just over $9.

    I’d go back for the fried fish taco, and maybe try the al pastor.

    1. I’m going to try the battered fish taco next. I didn’t notice that the beef was bland. I guessed I add too much hot sauce to each bite. lol. I personally will go for all kind of toppings as long as they are free. The more the better. I don’t mind cabbage either. Good filler in my belly. lol. I agree with you about the Hated Sales Tax. That’s what it should be named. Hate it sooooo much.

  3. The taco just looks so & so but you made them sound so scrumptious! I bet they were. Now, you even made me craving for those too. haha… OK…go to list to do! Thank you for sharing.
    Have a good day.
    Kristy

    1. It’s difficult to take the taco shots. I would rather eat them, lol. But it was yummy though. I love the deep fried shrimp one a little more. The crispy taco was good can’t put lots of toppings on it.

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