Tacontento is a new Mexican food van serving up crispy Mexican tacos (and no, we don’t mean the Old El Paso shells).
Irving Alejandro Rodriguez Nava, who goes by Alex, came to Australia with his wife in 2016. While he’s a big fan of Canberra’s lifestyle, he found that he missed the food of his home state, Guererro.
“What I miss most about Mexico is that on every street corner, you can find street food. That’s what I want for this business. Now people know I’m here, they can come in the evenings and enjoy some tacos,” Alex told Region.
Starting with a market stall in mid-2023, Alex realised within a few weeks he had enough community support to upgrade to a food van. His sister helped him name the business: contento means happy, so Tacontento is Happy Taco!
The Tacontento van can now be seen regularly at the Old Bus Depot Markets and various festivals and events around town.
During the week, he parks at the Palmerville Heritage Park in Belconnen, just off Gundaroo Drive, and he says that he often has new customers turn off the busy road simply because they’ve spied his bright yellow van and are curious!
The menu on offer at the taqueria is simple: just four traditional varieties of crispy Mexican tacos.
“Tacos are well known in Australia, but usually it’s a soft taco. What we do here is we put the filling inside the tortilla, roll it up and then fry it,” Alex explained.
These rolled tacos are known as taco dorados, but they are also called flautas or flute tacos because of their shape. Alex tells me that there are some traditional regional variations when it comes to flavour and toppings. He chosen a simple sour cream, salad and feta topping for his tacos.
Three is the perfect number for a satisfying meal, and you can mix and match flavours. I chose beef, chicken and chorizo.
The tacos are so wonderfully crispy and moreish. The fried corn tortilla has brilliant flavour – Alex uses an authentic Mexican brand – and the fillings are really tasty. I enjoy the salad and feta on top because it balances out the fried component of the dish.
There’s also a bottle of homemade chilli sauce, which I eagerly slather over everything, adding a kick of spice with a smokey undertone.
Alex has set up solar panels to run his truck (with a generator as a backup) and wants to be as sustainable as possible with his business.
The tacos are gluten-free, and Alex also sells packets of tortillas. He is thinking about stocking more Mexican ingredients, like the specific varieties of dried chilli he uses that can be hard to find locally. He wants more people to enjoy cooking and eating authentic Mexican food, and he says he’ll even share his recipes!
In less than six months, Alex has already gathered a loyal following of locals and is hoping to make more Canberrans contento with his food, so keep an eye out for the yellow truck around town.
“Who knows? Maybe one day we can put a taqueria in every neighbourhood!”
Tacontento is parked at Palmerville Heritage Park, Owen Dixon Dr, Belconnen. They are open from 4 pm to 8 pm, Tuesday to Friday. You can also find them regularly at the Old Bus Depot Markets or at events around town. Follow them on Facebook, Instagram or TikTok to learn more, or check their website for upcoming locations.