I was intrigued when I saw a few posters on Chowhound mentioning Taco Don Memo's food truck as a viable food alternative for a visitor and as a favorite food truck in Philly.
And what made it things a bit more intriguing and maddening, was that the truck played hard to get.
Attempt 1: Arrived 4pm. Too late. Denied tacos.
Attempt 2: Arrived at 3pm. Due to rain, they closed early. No tacos for you, amigo.
Attempt 3: A somewhat what-the-hell Sunday go. No in English is No en Espanol.
I finally was able to successfully try them out on my fourth trek to campus and I made my order count. (And yes, I shared the meal with my gf.)
One taco of each kind (steak, pork, chicken, al pastor)
All were ordered spicy and had a very sauce-based, full flavor to them, rather than an emphasis on lightness and fresh ingredients. And the spicy had a pretty good kick.
Like the visitor, it's immediately noticeable that they do a double tortilla (which I saw is from a package, but isn't bad.) I think this was for stability; with the sauce and the amount of stuff they put into the tacos, a single tortilla would just break. Detailed breakdown follows.
Chicken - Tender, juicy chicken pieces. I think deep-fried and/or fatty pieces of chicken. Chile seeds throughout. What is this orange sauce? Slightly sweet with perhaps some ancho? The sauce lends a certain straightforward familiarity to it with a kick kick as well.
Pork - Also tender, fatty goodness. The oil lasting in flavor well beyond your bite was done. Also had the orange sauce.
Steak - This came across as the most simple, just tasting the steak pieces and the various add-ons and the orange sauce again...
Al Pastor - By far, this was the most interesting, tasting like earthy/spicy szechuan peppercorns, kind of reminding me of a cheap/fast version of hot oil wontons. Together with the slightly canned tasting pineapples, which trigger Americanized Chinese food for me, this was like a strange fast-food Szechuan Chinese taco. Definitely not what I expected at all.
Tostada - The freshly deep fried tortilla is nice, but the layer of black beans, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, pork was only okay. The flavor was what was expected with the ingredients and the freshness of the vegetable, were just passable.
I wish I had known about this food truck earlier, since I would have been a regular while in school. I think it's constrained by the food truck vessel, having to opt for flavor via sauce instead of providing very fresh ingredients. If I was dining out, I would no doubt choose the brick & mortar taquerias around 9th & Washington over the food truck, but it does make me a bit curious to try out the brick & mortar Don Memo's restaurant if I do get a chance.
Taco Don Memo's
38th and Sansom, West side of 38th st. Philadelphia (north of the Korean food truck) (map)