Taco Quest: First Stop “Chilo’s”

My first stop on the Vancouver taco quest was Chilo’s Taqueria (5170 Victoria Dr.). Not much to look at from the outside (in fact, watch closely or you’ll drive right by), it’s even less to look at from the inside! But it’s the taco that counts on this quest. And trust me, Chilo’s delivers.

We each ordered four different kinds of tacos: carne asada, carnitas, chorizo and pollo. All of them came with the meat on two corn tortillas, lime wedges on the side, topped with cilantro and sweet onions, except the chicken (pollo) which was topped with a white cheese instead. All were absolutely delicious. My favourite was probably the chorizo which had a nice bite to it. The pollo (chicken) and carnitas (pork) were both tender and juicy, with mild spices. The carne asada (beef) was probably my least favourite; it just didn’t have as much flavour as the others, but it was still very good.

Chilo’s salsa is homemade, using organic ingredients, they told me. That night we had two options, both red. One was a bit smokier than the other – I’m guessing it had chipotle peppers in it. This ain’t no gringa salsa! I love hot food, and I love dousing my food in salsa, but with this salsa, I have to go with more of a dribble. And it still makes my lips tingle!

At a buck-fifty a pop, the cost for my dinner was up to a whopping $6.00, so we decided to splurge and also order a cheese quesadilla. I think it was $5.00, and it’s very large. So simple, just white cheese inside a flour tortilla which is then fried. It’s like a basic quesadilla that you can order anywhere in town, except it tasted so much better. And then topped with those yummy salsas, I was in heaven.

There’s nothing fancy about Chilo’s but it’s the real deal. The owners, a husband and wife, are Mexican and don’t speak much English. There is no printed menu, although they have a whiteboard up that lists mainly tacos, but also burritos, quesadillas and some soups. It might be a little more of a challenge than usual to place your order, but they are so patient and friendly. Just be the same and you’ll be happy you made the effort. I’m almost sad to have found it on the first stop of the quest. It will be hard to beat.


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