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The hunt for Veggie Tacos in Tijuana

My last hours before leaving Mexico. I was so excited to finally head home. I came to a third-world country and got a taste of reality. I was able to taste some Mexican food, saw the beach, the houses, and shopped a little. I mostly bought souvenirs. It was a different experience for me visiting another country versus visiting another state. I couldn't drink the water, which you don't really want to taste the water because the smell of old water was sickening. What I really wanted the most was to taste authentic tacos. This is kind of hard because I am vegan and Mexicans love meat. So the hunt to taste tacos making them veggie was on.

Once we arrived at the hotel, we put our bags away in our room and decided to go to the store which was across the street. Taking the elevator down to the lobby, we walked outside after taking the escalator downstairs. Well, I took the steps so I could get my steps in. There was a cab driver named Carlos, who worked for the hotel. He told us he could take us to get tacos and across the street to the store, so I could find body wash and water. He stated he would charge 10.00 American dollars there and back. We stated that was a good deal and he helped us get into his white cab. The taco stand he took us to was on a safe street. I do not eat meat however, I still admire seeing it being cooked. The sausage, chicken, and beef looked fresh and tender. The veggies were being grilled just right. I personally love my veggies to be soft. The guys cooking only spoke Spanish. I completely forgot about pulling up google translate on my phone. It's a good thing our cab driver spoke good English and was able to help translate for us. It was such a relief to have someone help us with translating from Spanish to English. I did end up downloading a currency converter app to make sure I'm not getting taken advantage of. He deserved his extra tip we gave him too.

After Carlos explained to the cook, I finally, got some tacos. Well, in my case quesadilla because once again I do not eat meat. I was able to get them to put grilled onions and mushrooms, tomatoes, guacamole, cilantro (they love cilantro on their tacos), and a little bit of cheese. 🧀 I know I'm vegan but I had to compromise and I was hungry and oh so ready to taste tacos. As Tabitha Brown says, it's my business. It was very delicious though. I had to use a fork because the veggies were sliding from between my flour tortillas. You could tell they were hand-rolled because the dough was so soft and fluffy. I felt deep satisfaction finally tasting authentic tacos. I've been waiting my whole life to do this. Well, ever since I learned I had Mexican in me on my fathers' side of the family.

We went to a restaurant down the street from the taco stands. They had beans and rice, guacamole, and even spaghetti. I didn't want anything but tacos but that was interesting to see they made something other than tacos. We decided to go back to the hotel to eat because we were tired from the long trip that day. After getting back to the hotel, I sat my food down at the desk. I grabbed bottled water and couldn't hide the big smile on my face as I couldn't believe I was going to eat real Mexican food. I was still in shock that I was even in Mexico. I was quite surprised about the taste of the rice and beans. They had a slightly bland taste, which wasn't what I was expecting. I could tell they didn't use all the ingredients we use in the US. I'm sure it's because I'm used to American Mexican food. My taste buds expected the American way and forgot it's the Mexican way I was going to be tasting. It was still good though. Maybe add a little bit of salt, which I didn't see them cooking with. I used this experience to taste test the food to see which I liked more. The street tacos won which is why I went back on the last day I was in Mexico for more.

When we walked into this restaurant, we first had to get our temperature taken. The thermometer was attached to the wall. You walk near it, leaning your forehead forward and it takes your temperature. Under it, you squirt hand sanitizer and proceed to the counter, where a waitress brings you a menu that's in all Spanish might I add. Thank God, Carlos was there to help me read the menu. I looked in awe at the kitchen in front of me. I hadn't seen anything like that before except for a restaurant that serves hibachi. It makes you feel good seeing your food cooked in front of you. I saw the pans of beans and rice and knew I wanted some immediately. I told the cab driver that I just wanted guacamole with chips, beans rice. He went to the counter to order my food in the corner of the restaurant. This was just a regular restaurant on the corner of the street but it gave this homey vibe with all types of families eating there with their children or by themselves.

On the last day in Mexico, we took a walk over to the mall to sightsee. First, let me tell you that it's dangerous walking across their crosswalks. I don't think they have pedestrian laws. There was no button to tell us to walk but somehow it did eventually say, "caminar" or walk. There was no button to push. I had to hurry to get across the street because there were two parts of the street to cross. Those drivers will hit you and not care so hurry up or get out of their way. Once arriving at the mall, we walked around and window shopped mostly. They had stores that sold Gucci and Burberry sunglasses, a Chanel store, and even a store that sold gold. I should have changed to a dress before going but I wore black leggings, a t-shirt and a jacket with my bookbag purse. It's a good thing I had that because they do not give out bags in any store. We found a store that was similar to a Meijer but less. They had just a little bit of everything including a pharmacy. This is where I found Dove body wash. After walking around the mall, I was ready to find some more tacos or similar. I really wanted to go back to the original stand but I didn't know how to get back to it with that cab driver's help. He wasn't due to start working for a few hours. We walked around to the front of the mall and found this taco that looked promising because they actually had a veggie sandwich. I'm a big fan of veggies. The woman behind the counter spoke pretty good English and I was able to get her to switch out the bread for corn tortillas. It had mushrooms, onions, lettuce, avocado, tomato, and green onions. Once again we waited until we got back to the hotel before I tasted my food. I sat down at the desk and made my taco because they did not put it together for me. It was very fulfilling. I'm not a big fan of corn tortillas though but I did like it a lot. I was able to get something decent to eat.

The guacamole was so fresh, you could taste all the fresh ingredients. The only disappointment was they only gave me two tortillas. I didn't know this until I got back to the hotel. I'm a big fan of guacamole and chips. I had the other tacos to comfort me though.

My journey to find authentic tacos in Tijuana, Mexico was very difficult at first. There are not really any vegan choices so at times I had to compromise. It's not like they didn't have tacos because this is Mexico where they're known for them. There were burritos and taco stands everywhere on every corner. It was hard explaining that I wanted veggies instead of meat. There's no plant-based anything. So knowing some Spanish is a plus as long as they understand, "hablo un poco de Espanol," which translates to "I only speak a little Spanish."They do not put a lot of veggies on their tacos. It's all about the meat with a little bit of cilantro, cheese, and guacamole. What I have learned is as a vegan, I may have to pack some items I will be able to eat if I plan on visiting another country. Not everyone's culture is the same. I was still able to make it a successful experience for me. I got a taste of veggie tacos with Mexico's authentic flare.

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