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Bellflower’s New Sonoran Taquería Has Everything, Rivaling L.A.’s Best

The shop's paper-thin flour tortillas are made just for them by a local tortillería, specifically with lard, because that’s how it’s supposed to be if you’re eating tacos in Sonora. They also use Prime-grade beef and have the crispiest tripitas in SELA. The brothers who own it are from Obregón, Sonora.

A trio of tacos at La Rueda on their custom-made flour tortillas. Photo by Javier Cabral for L.A. TACO.

A mural of an Indigenous Yaqui man looks down on you, mid-stride in La Danza del Venado in the Sonoran desert coast, as you take your first big bite of an Obregón-style taco de asada at the seven-month-old Tacos La Rueda in Bellflower. 

It’s the dream taquería of brothers-owners Omar and Alan Cejudo Hernandez, who pictured opening it since they first moved from Obregón, Sonora, to Los Angeles in 2004. Their young taquería, hidden deep in a strip mall, doesn’t look like it’s the most exciting Sonoran-style taco shop to open in Los Angeles since Sonoratown. But it is.  

“I have seen so many customers from Sonora be instantly transported back to their childhood as soon as they take their first bite or the first sip of our agua de cebada,” Omar tells L.A. TACO, getting a bit emotional. “Moments like that inspire me always to have my food be just as good as it is in Sonora; there is nothing more rewarding than seeing that moment as an owner of a restaurant.”

Tacos La Rueda is inside a strip mall in Bellflower. Photo by Javier Cabral for L.A. TACO.
A pair of tacos de asada with guacamole. Photo by Javier Cabral for L.A. TACO.

Alan and Omar carefully built up a mini-empire of teriyaki restaurants called Teriyaki House Grill in 2017, one in the same strip mall as their taquería, along with one in La Mirada and Chino. They saved money from their success with that concept to build Tacos La Rueda out from scratch. 

“Sonorenses have a carne asada every Sunday; our shop tries to make you feel that same way of being at one of our family carne asada gatherings,” Omar says. 

A big reason why their tacos are just as good as those in Sonora is due to their lead taquero and general manager, Javier Alcaraz. He also transplanted his life from Obregón, Sonora, to southeast Los Angeles five years ago and has been working in taquerías his whole life. 

Omar Cejudo Hernandez is proud of his yaqui roots. Photo by Javier Cabral for L.A. TACO.
Javier Alcaraz showing off the restaurant's chilaquiles verdes de machaca. Photo by Javier Cabral for L.A. TACO.

He exudes taquero wisdom through his confident chopping of freshly grilled juicy meat, just as he does when asked about the secret of what makes a taquería like La Rueda as good as a taquería in Mexico: 

“A taquería has to develop its own identity. It can’t be about copying another taquería in Mexico and trying to recreate it here in the U.S.,” he tells us. 

Alcaraz’s sense memory of the sazón used in Sonora is just as sharp as the cotija cheese he sprinkles in the outstanding Sonoran-style hot dogs that are also on the menu. It uses a cloud-soft, steamed Sonoran hot dog bun that the brothers self-import through Tijuana weekly from their home state. 

“It’s a mission to go to Tijuana to pick them up, but we don’t want to compromise,” Omar says.

A taquería has to develop its own identity. It can’t be about copying another taquería in Mexico and trying to recreate it here in the U.S.

Javier Alcaraz

Other elements that distinguish a real Sonoran-style hot dog are the use of both mayonnaise on the bun and crema Mexicana on top of the hot dog, plus a splash of salsa verde with ketchup and mustard. 

Tacos La Rueda is that rare taco establishment, in that nearly everything they make is worth driving there for. The totopos for their chilaquiles verdes de machaca are fried right before being sauced (the machaca is also the real air-dried stuff, not stewed meat that is shredded). Their lorenzas (Sonoran variation on a tostada) stay crispy even under the heft of carne asada. Their huge caramelos (quesadilla-like) will make anyone who prefers quesadillas over tacos consider ordering another one as soon as they finish it. 

Sonoran-style hot dogs at Tacos La Rueda in Bellflower.

Their Sonoran-style pozole blanco is known to sell out early as hell on weekends. Their burritos—by default—are also great if you gotta eat on the go. Their papas locas, known as “papanchas” in this part of Mexico, are up there with the best in the city. 

They even have a trompo for al pastor. Even though that taco is not traditional in that part of Mexico, they can’t deny the fact they are in Los Angeles, which has its own taco style that any taqueros who bravely opens here must respect. 

Even though they’ve only been open for seven months, a steady stream of customers walks in every few minutes on a Wednesday early evening. Most are landscapers and construction workers (as evident from their branded trucks in the ample parking lot outside), and even a local chef still in their chef’s coat came in to order a dozen tacos for his family after clocking out of a lunch shift. 

That’s because the golden rule still stands when opening a restaurant: customers know the difference between quality versus quantity. The Hernandez brothers source Prime-grade diesmillo (chuck roll) beef for their asada, and they are proudly marinade-free, relying simply on salt and the quality of the beef. 

“My grandfather told me: ‘When you eat carne asada, do you want to taste the meat or the marinade? It’s not marinada asada, is it?’” 

Because they don’t have the proper ventilation for mesquite, they use volcanic rocks in their gas grills that they change out weekly. When the tallow renders and drips over the fire, the flare-up adds a smoky flavor to the beef that is similar to using mesquite.   

The crispy-grilled tripas are a contender for the best in this part of town, shatteringly crispy and tasting nothing of what these organs’ function is meant to do. Their chicken is tasty, if you’re watching your red meat intake. For vegetarians, they offer a meaty, slimy-seared wedge of nopal at least a half-inch thick. Nopal ribeye? Sure. 

Rueda’s thin flour tortillas are made just for them by a local tortillería, specifically with lard, because that’s how it’s supposed to be if you’re eating tacos in Sonora. And their salsas were coaxed out of their mom, who flew in to L.A. just to be able to recreate them and scale up. 

Their agua de cebada—a refreshing agua fresca variation from Sonora where toasted ground barley is used instead of ground rice—is not too sweet. It is similar to horchata in texture and flavor. Their thin and delicate flour tortillas are available to take home on their own, along with carne seca, chiltepin salsa, corico corn cookies, and other Sonoran goods.

All these little details have created another bold contender in L.A.’s thriving Sonoran taco scene, which seems to be proliferating around all corners of the county, from the asadero-style Mochomitos in Whittier and Tacos Los Yaquis in the Valley or the seafood-driven Mariscos El Tocho in Lynwood, where you can find saucy and shredded stingray tacos.      

Rueda has had some setbacks, like being broken into twice in one week, but they march on. 

“Little by little, we want to add more specific Sonoran dishes to our menu, like our gallo pinto stew. Oh man, wait until we add my mom’s recipe for that,” says Omar.  

With the Hernandez brothers’ Rueda’s early success and teriyaki legacy, it’ll only be a matter of time until they build a mini Sonoran taco empire to accompany them both. 

Tacos and teriyaki make dreams come true.  

16900 Lakewood Blvd. Bellflower, CA 90706. Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 266 - "Lakewood/Flower."

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