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Birria-Flavored Instant Ramen Is Here via This Lonchera’s Paisa Ingenuity in Lennox

1:03 PM PDT on August 12, 2020

[dropcap size=big]L.A.'s[/dropcap] Taco Lifeis one step closer to the dream of having supermarket shelves full of birria-flavored instant ramen. You can thank the straight-up paisa ingenuity from El Grito, a truck in Lennox that specializes in handmade Puebla-style huaraches and now, birria-flavored ramen. 

“We did it for the youth,” Rafael Dionicio tells L.A. Taco. The truck located on 106th Street and Hawthorne Boulevard started to earn street cred with its neighborhood of Lennox since launching last year. Still, it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that the truck began to become ‘hood famous for their DIY birria-flavored instant ramen. 

“If you’re hungover, this instant birria ramen is a great way to start the day,” Rafael adds, noting that his customized instant ramen is popular on weekend mornings.

Rafael and his family immigrated from Santa Maria Coatepec, Puebla, to Inglewood in 2004. They started the truck to share their hometown’s famed antojito, the huarache, the way they enjoyed it, handcrafted from masa every day. Once they gained their loyal following for their huarache in February, Rafael and his tía Imelda, a chef, started to develop a special beef birria recipe made to compliment Tapatio’s instant ramen. “We tried many different types of chiles and amounts of salt and would give it away to our customers at first, and it wasn’t until everyone said, ‘you got it,’ that we finally added it to our menu,” Rafael says. 

A handmade huarache from El Grito in Lennox.

While the idea of doctored up instant ramen may sound blasphemous to some, instant ramen is a staple food across Mexico. It is the defacto meal for many while traveling regionally in Mexico either via a luxury bus or airplane. In many bus lines, it’s included with the price of your ticket. There are street food stands dedicated to just selling instant ramen that you can fix up with as many hot sauces as you can imagine. It is also a popular breakfast food for many working-class people since it is convenient, affordable, and filling. 

Rafael tells L.A. Taco that one day he would like to have his packaged line of birria-flavored instant ramen. “It’s expensive, but one day.”   

“We understand that some people will not like us making birria into instant ramen,” Rafael says. “They are used to making everything by hand, but at this point, people have started to come from The Valley, Palos Verdes, and El Segundo—and people keep coming back to eat it again.”

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