Mexican cuisine can be hard to define. Visit Guadalajara on the country’s west coast, or the central-southern region of Oaxaca sitting on the foothills of the Sierra Madre, or the Yucatán Peninsula in south-eastern Mexico where the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico meet, and differences in cuisine will be clearly evident. All worthy of exploration!
Interestingly, the Mexican cuisine most of us know is the food originating from southern Texas and neighbouring northern Mexico. This cuisine, now commonly known as Tex-Mex, is rooted in the Tejano culture (Texans of Spanish or Mexican heritage who lived in Texas before it became a republic) along with Mexican immigrants from Northern Mexico. We’re talking the 1870’s.
This style of food spread across the US and until the 1970s, most people referred to it as ‘Mexican’. For those of us living in other parts of the world, this was most probably, the ‘Mexican’ we also grew up with. There is differences between the cuisines of Mexico and the Tex-Mex of the southern United States and thankfully for us, both are tasty and worth discovering!
The excellent news for anybody craving ‘Mexican’ food in Hua Hin is, there is an exceptionally convenient option. Taco 94 – which has been providing excellent Tex-Mex style food to Hua Hin locals and visitors for two years now. Here’s what we enjoyed when visiting recently.
Restaurant manager and the man behind the Bar at Taco 94 is Khun Akraset (or Noo for short) who ensured we started our Taco 94 journey with suitable Mexican classics – Margaritas and Mojitos. Corona beers are also available. If you want to go down the Tequila path, the bar stocks KAH brand, which is distilled from 100% blue agave into three lively options – Blanco, Reposado, Añejo. These award-winning tequilas come from the city of Tequila in the Jalisco region of Mexico. The distinctive skull-shaped bottles are treasures in themselves.
And what could and should accompany a refreshing drink in most ‘Mexican’ restaurants, corn chips with salsa or guacamole and that’s how our time at Taco 94 kicked off. Australian and New Zealand avocadoes are all they use and not softened and stretched by sour cream or such additives. Just great tasting authentic guacamole.
Other starters or snack style dishes include Quesadillas (beef, chicken, pork, or vegetarian options of corn and cheese) or Nachos topped with beans, jalapenos, cheese and homemade salsa. Our party chose a serve each of the Tacos – softshell with pork, and the hard shell with beef. To accompany, each table has small bottles of both Tabasco and Spicy Sauces. Both sauces are made in house and ideal seasonings for you to add to taste.
Of the more substantial dishes offered in the menu, we tried a Chicken Taco Grand Salad which is a fried tortilla in the shape of a small bowl filled with chicken and topped with fresh lettuce, tomato, cheese and served with Taco 94’s homemade salsa. Light in texture yet the crunchy tortilla contrasted well with the fillings and was a delight.
The Burrito, a flour tortilla filled with rice, beans, and a choice of lamb, beef, chicken or pork is folded into a rectangular package and topped with a red mole (sauce) and cheese. Our pork burrito was delicious, as was the Chimichanga.
Once again, a wrapped burrito with the same option of fillings and then quickly deep-fried and served with a salad garnish. The Chimichanga was new to me and as the staff tell it, is exceptionally popular with regular guests.
The crowning glory for our party was the beef Fajitas. A sizzling metal platter with barbecued and sliced beef served of a bed of grilled onions and peppers and accompanied by servings of homemade Mexican rice and beans, plus cheese and fresh tortillas ready for you to mix your own particular concoction. Taco 94’s homemade Spicy Sauces fit in perfectly here. Other choices for the Fajita filling include pork, chicken or shrimp.
If making choices is hard for you, or you are new to ‘Mexican’ food, the Taco 94 menu offers four Combo options for two people. Each combo has three dishes with prices starting at 549 THB.
For desserts, the menu offers freshly cooked pancake with vanilla ice-cream. With so many dishes to choose from on the savoury side of the menu, it’s hard to find room for dessert.
Unlike many Tex-Mex restaurants that are part of a franchise chain, Taco 94 is the work of local Khun ‘Eang’ Phutthachat. It was her love of Tex-Mex style food plus the desire to create a venue that she would be happy to take family and friends to, that was the catalyst for this venture. Khun Eang threw herself into learning the intricacies of Tex-Mex, testing the recipes on her husband and other family and friends. After three months of trials and tests, owner Eang finally felt she had developed a menu she was happy with and set about opening her dream restaurant. Two years on and Taco 94 is well established, and a new expanded menu is now in place.
Taco 94 currently operates six days a week from 10 am to 11 pm and is closed Sundays. It’s developed a reputation as an ideal venue for birthday parties and other group events given the sharing nature of the food, the fun, relaxed environment, and the inside and outside seating options. Takeaways are available as well as delivery through www.richestdelivery.com Search for Taco 94 under restaurants on this site.
Taco 94 is located on the ground floor of the G Resort shopping complex, corner of Phetkasem Road and Hua Hin Soi 94. For more information or to contact Taco 94 directly visit: facebook.com/Taco94HuaHin
By Michael Cullen
Photos by Michael Cullen