La Monita Taqueria

It’s difficult to find tasty, authentic, ungreasy Mexican food in Brooklyn. Sure, there are some solid taco joints here and there, but given the volume of taquerias, or more accurately the volume of taqueria wannabes, it’s a pretty drab scene overall.

There’s no such problem in Bangkok, of all places, thanks to La Monita Taqueria. Anonymously located in Mahatun Plaza, near the Chidlom BTS Skytrain Station on Sukhumvit, La Monita shocked me with their flawless preparation of tacos, burritos, and tortas. There’s no reason to expect anything remotely resembling authentic Mexican in Bangkok, but this vibrant little joint is truly exceptional.

La Monita is no secret to locals: it’s packed with expats on lunch break during the afternoon, and it can be hard finding a table at night, especially on weekends. Out-of-towners, however, likely don’t come to Bangkok with Mexican food on their mind, and probably wouldn’t stumble upon the place by accident given its nondescript location off Sukhumvit, sandwiched in between English-Thai translation and visa service offices.

I was admittedly skeptical, even after reading so many rave reviews of the place, and only decided to go out of curiosity, low expectations in tow, after considerable cajoling from another expat who insisted it was stellar.

He spoke the truth.

You’re drooling over the Cali Fish Taco Combo, pictured above, which comes with small sides of rice and refried beans and three soft-shell Cali tacos generously filled with hunks of fresh white fish, fresh, creamy guacamole, light sour cream, and a zesty homemade salsa. It’s a lot of food, but, ahem, I’ve never had any trouble polishing it all off.

My wife swears by the Double Cali Spicy Roasted Pork Tacos, which are basically the Cali tacos but with a soft shell slathered in beans wrapped around a hard shell–kind of like a Double Decker Taco from Taco Bell but, you know, actually delicious.

We’ve found it very difficult to stray from our go-to dishes and venture much deeper into the huge menu, but I have also tried a crispy Fish Torta (essentially taco fillings served on a toasted sandiwich) and Cheese Quesadilla. They’re both fantastic. Guilt has thus far kept me away from the Veggie Fries (basket of French fries smothered in guacamole, Monterey jack cheese, salsa, salsa, and sour cream), but I’ll have to give in one of these days. Everything we’ve eaten tastes even better when doused with one of the two super-spicy sauces available in squeeze bottles on every table. (I like the green sauce best.)

When I moved back to Bangkok earlier this year, the two things I thought I’d miss most in New York were pizza and, yes, even our beloved mediocre Mexican. I never would have thought that after moving back to Brooklyn 6 months later I’d miss Bangkok’s Mexican food. But I do. Very much. Please have a fish taco in my name until I can make it back; actually, have three.

La Monita Taqueria is located at 888/26 Mahatun Plaza, just off the Chidlom BTS Skytrain Station. Call 02 650 9581 if you can’t find it, or check out a map here. Open 11:30am – 10pm Monday through Saturday.

We could play the “Must-Eat Food in Bangkok” game every day for years and still have plenty of culinary fodder to feature. In that sense, the “BKK Must Eats” series will not be comprehensive, nor will it exclusively list dishes that are “the best” of anything (though it might, from time to time). The modest goal of this series is simply to spotlight, somewhat randomly, damned delicious dishes in Bangkok that I’ve indulged on many occasions, and that I recommend you indulge too.

More BKK Must Eats:
+ Early Evening Pad Thai on Soi Chidlom
+ Salmon Agemusubui at Sukishi
+ Spicy Tuna Roll at Yaki Ten
+ Grilled Squid at Pantip Plaza
+ Pumpkin Hummus at May Kaidee’s
+ Seared Tuna at Pla Dib

Photo credit and copyright Brian Spencer