Sal y Limon – Vancouver, BC
Sal y Limon
701 Kingsway Ave
I’m a big fan of Kingsway as a foodist’s destination. The scruffiness of this diagonal slash of a street seems to impose a level of gastronomic authenticity that you will not see in other parts of this city. Embedded into the various strip malls along this drag are some true gems – mostly of the ethnic hole-in-the-wall variety. This road is of course well known to fans of Vietnamese food, but this post is about a Mexican Tacos and Tortas newcomer to the section many people call “The Triangle” at corner of Fraser St.
When someone texted me a picture of the menu of this newly opened hole in the wall a couple of weeks ago, I was instantly intrigued and have been angling to check it out. The subsequent social media buzz about this restaurant further stoked my interest.
I finally made the effort last week and ordered a selection of tacos (al pastor, cordero, pernil) and a carne asada torta (grilled beef sandwich). The tacos are small (as they should be) and served on doubled-up tortillas…but they were not inexpensive at $2.25 each – about the same range as La Taqueria’s offerings. A bit high for Kingsway joint, I thought.
Overall, I found what I ordered to be merely “decent”, and definitely not “great.” The torta was filling, but borderline mediocre. The carne asada was not grilled, but instead was flat-topped griddled. The al pastor was probably oven roasted and not properly sliced off a shwarma spit. They were both missing that charred, smoky essence that makes these dishes addicting and crave-worthy. But props to Sal y Limon for not trying to pass off pulled roast pork (pernil/pierna) as carnitas like most taquerias in this city. (Carnitas is fatty hunks of pork properly cooked in a big vat of boiling lard, and should come out crispy, brown and dripping with delicious pork fat. Don’t settle for anything less).
Don’t get me wrong, I think Sal y Limon is a worthy destination – but for those who are fans of the “authentic” (sorry to use the “A” word again) tacos that you can get in the US and Mexico, you might leave a bit disappointed as the ones you can get here will not fill your bill. I will come back to try their other dishes – namely the stews and soups, but I suspect that I’ll have to wait until a trip down south to truly satisfy my Mexican craving.