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T.J. Taco Safari With Ed’s Manifesto: Where to Find Albóndigas de Camarón (Shrimp Meatballs)

2:29 PM PDT on March 22, 2022

    If I had to think of a turning point in my Tijuana taco-eating life, it would be the moment I first bit into the juicy, cloud-like albóndigas de camarón at "Albóndigas de camarón 'Las Originales' in Tijuana's busy Zona Río. The flavor speaks for itself and shows the depth of taco culture in one of Mexico's most misunderstood regions. I found out it one day on Facebook while researching ways to maximize my Tijuana eating and maximize I did.

    Tijuana is just as much a mariscos capital as it is an epicenter of delicious tacos. The ocean, even though it is divided by wall, is just about 25 minutes away.

    The taco de albóndiga de camarón is the kind of taco that you can't wait to bring someone to try. It shatters your expectations because most of us only know a traditional beef albóndiga, served in soup. At Las Originales, the albóndiga is chopped up shrimp, with a couple of secret herbs and spices, and maybe bound together with 1% binder of some kind (which I suspect is breadcrumbs). It is shaped into a ball and delicately cooked in broth. Then seared on a hot plancha so it gets a little crispy, and placed atop a tortilla blanketed with cheese. You go buck wild on the salsa mocha and red onion at your own discretion and of course lime.

    It was a bold and brave move for someone born and raised in L.A. to dare to bring a Tijuananse to try; a taco risk. On the line was 17 years of taco media street cred, the pocho palate, and the alliance between Los Angeles and Tijuana. But the risk paid off. Check out our latest episode to see Ed Calderón's reaction after that first bite.

    José Maria Velazco 2632, zona urbana río tijuana.

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