Taqueria Chingon - Chicago
Taqueria Chingon proves that, though we have a lot of taco joints in Chicago, there’s always room at the top for more of the good ones.
Chicago food writer Michael Nagrant wrote that Taqueria Chingon “might be the best taqueria in the city.” Such high praised is earned by not only excellent renditions of taco standards, but also by taco preparations that push the envelope to present variations on a well-known theme.
Taqueria Chingon builds upon our understanding of the world-famous Mexican taco by presenting the classics while at the same time creating contemporary alternatives. For example, tacos al pastor are on the menu, and you probably know them as the cones of marinated pork that are sliced thin before being placed in the taco. Taqueria Chingon has that classic taco, but it also offers a veggie al pastor, made not of meat but of meaty portobello mushrooms and celery root – you might do a side-by-side comparison of both the classic and vegetarian versions.
There are, of course, a few selections that are traditionally Mexican but that are slightly outside the mainstream offerings at a taco joint. The crispy pig head taco utilizes the tender cheeks, one of the most delicious pieces of meat on a pig. The pig head taco is served with “Mexican giardiniera,” which is probably new to many of us, and a salsa of chile arbol, probably quite well-known to anyone who has visited another one of Chicago’s many taco joints. This blending of the familiar and the new is what Taqueria Chingon seems to be all about.
Blood sausage might be a little challenging for those who’ve never had it before, but for those who appreciate the mineral-y flavor of a sausage that uses blood as one ingredient of many, the blood sausage tacos at Taqueria Chingon are not to be missed. Unlike the morcilla tacos you might have in Mexico City, these blood sausage tacos are dressed with red onion and pickled apple, providing a crisp, fresh, slightly acidic complement to the meat.
Of course, if you prefer the more traditional taco offerings, there’s carne asada (marinated and griddled steak with onions and chipotle chimichurri), green chorizo (with avocado salsa and pumpkin seeds), and short rib meat (with cotija cheese, pea tendrils and hazelnuts).
If you’ve been to a few of Chicago’s excellent taco places, Taqueria Chingon is a must-visit; it will tickle your palate while it expands your appreciation of what can be put inside of a folded tortilla.