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Eggslut’s Alvin Cailan ~ My Favorite Taco

3:29 PM PST on February 27, 2018

We remember Chef Alvin Cailan when his food truck, Eggslut, debuted in what seems like a different era for both him and the city's food scene. Eggslut went on to become the star of the revamped Grand Central Market, creating a brand and sensation that has lead to numerous other opportunities. He currently also hosts First We Feast’s new series 'The Burger Show." It airs Tuesdays at 11 a.m. ET on First We Feast’s YouTube channel. We caught up with this trail-blazing chef to talk tacos, burgers, and the city of Los Angeles...

L.A. Taco: What's your favorite place to get a taco in L.A.?
Alvin Cailan: My favorite taco spot in L.A. is Ave 26. The carnitas are to die for.

What neighborhood(s) are you from? How did they shape you as a person?
Pico Rivera. It’s a blue-collar town and very fast-food heavy, but had some of the best Mexican-American food and introduced me to spicy flavors as a child.

Who are some people from outside the food world that influenced you as a chef and entrepreneur?
Kobe Bryant. He made me realize that hard work and perseverance is how you become the best that you can be. Also, as a little brown kid growing up, Fernando Valenzuela’s success in the major league opened my eyes and inspired me to dream big.

What music are you listening to right now? What music do you play in your restaurants?
Currently playing “Gods Plan” by Drake on repeat. In my restaurants, I play a lot of current hip-hop and 90s hip-hop.

What are the key components of an amazing burger?
Perfectly toasted bun, seasoned and seared beef, and slightly melted American cheese. That’s all you need.

You've traveled the world but ultimately came back to LA, why?
L.A. is home. It’s what I’m familiar with. It’s what I crave.

Do you have a lucky number?

What do you love most about Filipino cuisine, and what are some dishes that best exemplify what you love?
What I love most is its unique flavor profiles — sweet, sour, and salty. It’s a complicated flavor profile, which ultimately defines me. A dish to exemplify this is sinigang which is a savory, sour soup flavored with tamarind, bone marrow and has sweetness from turnips, and tomatoes.

What's the worst burger you've ever had?
Probably a burger that I had at the Angels stadium in Anaheim. It tasted like it was sitting under the heat lamp for a while, and the wrapper was stuck to the burger. But I was younger, and I was there because the Los Angeles Dodgers were playing against them, and I didn’t have much money. So, I had to eat it.

When and where were you most happy?
I’m the happiest when I’m with my family on a cool summer afternoon in the backyard talking about life, drinking Coronas, and eating carne asada.

What are your favorite hidden spots in Los Angeles?
Aloha Cafe. Weird Wave Coffee.

If you could design your own theme park, what would it have?
Excellent food would be the priority. Then some awesome train-style rides that last 30 minutes long, because I hate to wait in long lines for a 2-minute ride.

Got any shout-outs?
Shout out to Los Angeles and all the delicious tacos that exist there that are nonexistent on the East Coast!

'The Burger Show”'airs Tuesdays at 11 a.m. ET on First We Feast’s YouTube channel.

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