It seems like for as long as I’ve lived in Seattle I’ve never had a go-to place for tacos. Whenever I have went out for Mexican food in the past, it has always either been for a burrito or a Mexican plate dinner — a freshly broiled carne asada with rice and beans on the side is my favorite. Never have I really gone out for a meal specifically in pursuit of tacos.
I consider this to be odd, considering how much of a staple tacos have become to American snack food. After all, the emergence of taco trucks completely set off the food truck revolution here on the West Coast, and here in Seattle food trucks have remained extremely prominent. Part of it is due to my own skepticism over tacos in Seattle. For a city with such an unremarkable Hispanic population, would the tacos here really be good? Isn’t Los Angeles the place to get actually good tacos?
Tacos Chukis in capitol hill, I heard, would change my mind.
Interestingly, Tacos Chukis isn’t immediately visible to the public from the street. In order to even get to the restaurant, one has to enter the mini-mall type complex and walk up a wooden flight of stairs, passing a neighborhood barbershop and old sushi place. But still, when I got to the top of the stairs, a packed house and line out the door was waiting for me. The place itself maintains the very old wooden structure of the rest of the building. Tables fill every nook and cranny of what is actually a fairly big room. The entire kitchen and ordering counter are squished into the far right corner of the room, in which three sweaty cooks are doing their best to cook rapidly for the neverending swarm of customers. Fifteen minutes of waiting in line go by fairly quickly, and I order a carne asada “baby burrito” and three house “taco chukis”.
Carne Asada “Baby Burrito”:
As one would expect from the name, the “baby burrito” comes out as a smaller, handful of a burrito. One bite, and I’m overcome with flavor. Tacos Chukis skips out on rice and beans in their burrito, which I like. Instead, extra space is given for the juicy steak and salsa verde. These offer bold flavors of sour and umami, which are cut through just enough by freshly diced onions. Overall, this is no normal burrito. Its small size suits it well, proving light in retrospect despite its actionpacked flavors.
House Taco Chukis:
Now, for what I’ve been waiting for. I admit I’m surprised when the tacos come out with pineapple on the top. Picking one up, several pieces of onion and marinated pork fall out. These tacos are just the right of messiness for me. I struggle to get a perfect bite of equal pineapple and pork, but when I finally get it, it’s lights out. It puzzled me at first, but after tasting the taco it’s safe to say I love the addition of pineapple. One could even describe the pork as over marinated, if that’s even possible. But I don’t mind at all. Anyways, all the strong flavor from the pork is just about balanced through the sweetness of the pineapple. I almost wish they used corn tortillas, just to add a little bit of starch flavor into the mix. But, the flour tortillas do a fine job of soaking up the overflow of flavor. I honestly find it difficult to come up with legitimate criticism of these tacos. These are utterly delicious.
Writing this now, I feel foolish to have been so naive to doubt the existence of a good Seattle taco joint. Nevertheless, I will happily eat my words, and hopefully eat more of these tacos in the future.