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All the Mexican restaurants in Singapore

by June Lee, Sylvia Tan YL

inSing.com - 3 April 2013 3:25 PM | Updated 23 May 2014

All the Mexican restaurants in Singapore

The giant burritos at Baja Fresh are lovingly smothered with a tangy tomato-chilli sauce and extra cheese | Photo: Sylvia Tan YL

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To view this story in photos, go to:
21 Mexican dishes to try in Singapore

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Piedra Negra 
For ceviche and pork ribs
With plaster cast statues popping out of the walls and eye-catching full height murals, Piedra Negra is a seriously buzzy bar and restaurant in equal measures in the Haji Lane district. Since 2010, it has spawned a second dining room as well as a Johor outpost – testimony to its recipe for casual, come-as-you-are fun and food. The rich pork ribs ($17.90) are a big hit, thickly marinated in tangy tamarind and herbs, in a hearty portion and accompanied by, er, French fries. Salmon ceviche ('cooking' via citrus marinade, $12.90) is unusual for its choice of fish, but the fruit-inspired cup is a lovely refreshing hit of lime, green apple, pineapple, mango and jalapeno chile.
Piedra Negra | Address: 241 Beach Road | Tel: 62911297 | Opening hours: Mon-Thu noon-11pm, Fri & Sat noon-2am

 

Chimichanga at La Salsa
The crowd favourite at La Salsa is a deep-fried burrito | Photo: Sylvia Tan YL
For photos of all the dishes, click here: 21 Mexican dishes to try in Singapore

La Salsa
For chimichangas

Opening on the same block as stalwart Margarita's in 2011, La Salsa nonetheless brings its own brand of late night fiesta and live music to the mix – Mexicans tend to have late dinners, starting 9pm or later. Evergreens and classics take the bandstage from Sundays to Thursdays, while rock 'n' roll dominate on late Friday and Saturday nights. The seating at the dramatically lit bar is our fave, where we noshed on chimichanga (from $24) – the crowd favourite is essentially a cheeky deep-fried burrito, with generous fillings such as grilled chicken leg and crispy roast pork. The tortillas take well to deep-frying, leaving no trace of grease, which makes every crackly bite a pleasure.
La Salsa | Address: #01-17, Block 11 Dempsey Road | Tel: 64756976 | Opening hours: Sun-Thu 4pm-1am, Fri & Sat 4pm-2am

 

CRITIC’S PICK Baja Fresh
For giant burritos

Baja (pronounced 'ba-ha') Fresh is a global franchise with a loyal following here for their range of casual cuisine. Since launching in 2012, their proprietary recipes means that important ingredients such as beans, jalapenos, spices and avocados are imported from The States. Director Anant Hada notes they do not use microwaves or freezers, so salsas and guacamole have to be prepared from scratch everyday. The giant burrito (12-inch, from $13.85 to $18.15), done Enchilado style (add $3.70) is a lovingly smothered tortilla wrap with choice of grilled chicken, pork, steak, shrimp or fish, baked in tangy tomato-chilli sauce and extra cheese, and served with tortilla chips. Great if you are picky about quality.
Baja Fresh | Address: 9 Bras Basah Road, #01-03 Rendezvous Gallery | Tel: 63377300 | Opening hours: Sun-Thu 11am-10pm, Fri & Sat 11am-11.30pm

 

CRITIC’S PICK Lucha Loco 
For pork belly taco

A taqueria that’s elegant, modern and gourmet. Lucha Loco has the formula for dining and drinking just right, with small bites and inviting cocktails priced perfectly for the modelesque yuppie crowd at the corner of Duxton Hill. The three owners travelled to Mexico in 2012 for research, and came back with a taco de carnitas (pork belly taco, $10 each) to die for. The 12-hour slow braised palm-sized pork is firm yet yielding, contrasting with a crunchy chunk of jicama (pronounced 'he-ka-ma'; known as bengkuang locally) with the right amount of creamy garlic and cilantro sauce. Chef Mario Malvaez from Mexico City, and ex-Piedra Negra, collaborated with Chef Jason Jones from Mamasita in Melbourne to create the compact but powerful menu.
Lucha Loco  | Address: 15 Duxton Hill | Tel: 62263938 | Opening hours: Tue-Sat 5pm-midnight

 

taco at Mex Out
Pistola's fusion tacos that are 'drunk food' for Club Street party-goers | Photo: Sylvia Tan YL

Pistola 
Fusion tacos for takeaway

Since January 2013, Pistola’s tiny premises has been thronged by night owls looking for "drunk food", as owner Min Chan winningly calls it. The sister outlet of Club Street Social serves only a takeaway menu, of which the tacos (two for $12) are most popular, alongside the burrito ($12) and quesadilla ($12). Surprise: the choice of five fillings are all Asian – and our favourite is the Korean kalbi-style steak, with sprightly kimchi, spring onion salad and Sriracha mayo dressing that brings the flavour level up to 11. So it’s not Mexican per se, but the toasty corn tortillas bring it halfway there. For what to drink at Pistola, check out our '17½ bars along Club Street and Ann Siang Hill' guide. 
Pistola | Address: 93 Club Street | Tel: 64382185 | Opening hours: Mon-Sat 5pm-midnight

 

Mex Out
For pulled pork tacos

This addition to the 'fresh Mex' category opened in March 2013 and the queues haven’t stopped, with up to 140 covers at lunch for this teeny CBD bunker. Diners move along an assembly line to choose between baja-style tacos (three for $13), burritos ($13), salad bowl ($13) and nachos ($15), and a variety of pre-cooked fillings such as chargrilled chicken, cochinita pibil (Yucatan style pulled pork) and vegetables. The authentic and super tender cochinita pibil gets our vote for its banana leaf and spice flavours, while the chicken (skinless breast and thigh meat only) is surprisingly aromatic with lemon, paprika and spiced dry rub marinade. Chunky guacamole ($2) and shredded tasty cheese ($0.50) are charged separately.
Mex Out | Address: 39 Pekin Street, #01-01 Far East Square | Tel: 97707441 | Opening hours: Mon-Fri 11.30am-2.30pm, 5-10pm

El Rocho’s 

Aracherra at Senor Taco
The Yucatan-style pork shoulder| Photo: El Rocho's
For photos of all the dishes, click here: 21 Mexican dishes to try in Singapore

For a good variety of Mexican tacos
Chef-owner Marcus Loh has been a fan of Mexican food since his visits to California as a child. After a two-year stint with the fine-dining Les Amis group in Singapore, the Culinary Institute of America trained chef opened El Rocho’s in May 2013 – his first restaurant –offering mainly homely Mexican classics and a few Tex-Mex-style crowd pleasers like nachos and carne asada (grilled steak) fries with toppings ($28). For reasons that Mexican cuisine is generally not very well understood or appreciated among local diners, he serves only soft corn tortillas and not crispy corn or flour tortillas which are found in Tex-Mex cuisine. “Mexico is corn, corn is Mexico,” says Loh, who loves the unique flavour of corn tortillas as a result of the slaked lime (calcium hydroxide) process the corn kernels have to go through. An El Rocho bestseller is the tangy Yucatan-style pork shoulder ($22) which is braised in achiote paste, habanero pepper and orange juice for six hours. Loh also makes his own mole – a thick, rich, nutty, chocolate-tinged sauce – for his stewed chicken dish. Adventurous eaters can opt for the ox tongue tacos ($9) which is getting increasingly more popular; chicken ($9), pork ($8), chorizo ($8), beef ($7) and vegetarian (bean or vegetarian chilli, $6) options are also available.
El Rocho’s | Address: 36 Circular Road | Tel: 64387879 | Opening hours: Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm, Mon-Sat 6:30-10pm 

 

Aracherra at Senor Taco
The burrito at Muchachos | Photo: Sylvia Tan YL
For photos of all the dishes, click here: 21 Mexican dishes to try in Singapore

Muchachos 
For big burritos
Describing itself as a 'Mission-Style Burrito Bar', there’s no confusion as to what it offers. Named after the district in San Francisco, it is distinguished from other burritos by its large size as the result of the inclusion of rice, beans and other ingredients in a large flour tortilla which is wrapped and served in a piece of aluminum foil. The slick industrial-style eatery (opened in June 2013) is the brainchild of Singapore-born Jonathan Yang, who upon returning to Singapore from the States where he grew up, was unable to find a decent burrito that he liked. He then roped in childhood friend Elson Lee as chef and co-owner who oversees the daily operations where almost every main component of the burrito is made in-house. At the cafeteria-style counter, customers can opt for tomato rice, boiled whole black beans, refried pinto beans, cheese, sour cream, pico de gallo (chopped tomato salad), salsa verde, and a choice of meat - braised pork shoulder ($12.95), fried beef flank ($13.75), grilled chicken ($12.45). Guacamole ($1.75)and grilled vegetables ($1.45) are available at an extra charge. They have recently added quesadillas ($9.95-$11.75) to the menu and the newest item is a low-carb lettuce taco ($6.25) in which the flour tortilla is substituted with romaine leaves. The kitchen can fry up buffalo wings ($12.95) to order and corn chips ($0.95/$2.75) are fried on site every day. Drink this in with the Mexican beer, Negra Modelo ($8.45).
Muchachos | Address: 22 Keong Saik Road | Tel: 62200458 | Opening hours: Mon-Thu noon-4pm, 6-10pm, Fri & Sat noon-midnight

  

Aracherra at Senor Taco
The crispy corn and flour tacos at Lower East Side Taqueria | Photo: Lower East Side Taqueria
For photos of all the dishes, click here: 21 Mexican dishes to try in Singapore

Lower East Side Taqueria
For spicy tacos
From the same owners as Spathe Public House came this quirky restaurant-bar in October 2013, in the heart of Katong. Owner Christopher Lim shares, “I lived in California for six years where we had ready access to fabulous Mexican food. I love spicy food and how Mexican cuisine uses simple ingredients to great effect.” The food, however, is staunchly “Mexican-inspired” as opposed to classically Mexican. Chef-partner Claudio Sandri brings in clever twists, such as in the Sriracha sambal mayo salsa and adding cubed green apple and bacon to the octopus and squid burrito ($15). The base of the cuisine is still recognisably Mexican, with imported habanero, poblano and jalapeno in the marinades and sauces. What’s special here is the Ultimate Hotness Challenge – if you can stomach a trio of tacos at ‘level 5’ spice intensity, it’s on the house. Having braved the sweat-inducing ‘level 4’ tacos, we salute anyone who attempts this challenge. Come in groups to better appreciate the tacos, which comes in sets of three ($28-$29), as well as the DIY burrito boards ($55) for four people – allowing you to customise your burrito to your preference. From the signature charcoal grill, carnivores should dig into the platter of charcoal Australian grain-fed ribeye ($28), served sliced.
Lower East Side Taqueria | Address: 19 East Coast Road | Tel: 98244009 | Opening hours: Mon-Fri noon-11pm, Sat & Sun 10am-11pm

 

Aracherra at Senor Taco
The fish taco at Hombre Cantina | Photo: Sylvia Tan YL
For photos of all the dishes, click here: 21 Mexican dishes to try in Singapore

Hombre Cantina
More for tequilas than tacos
Roughly translating into English as “man bar”, Hombre Cantina’s shabby chic corrugated metal sheet and reclaimed timber beach shack looks stand out against its seafood restaurant neighbours, when it opened in 2013. It’s no surprise then when co-owner Alex Liu (who’s American-Taiwanese and has lived in California for three different periods in his life) reveals that the bar is inspired by his trips to Baja, California. Hombre Cantina’s menu is fairly compact with six main dishes (burritos, set of three tacos, rice bowl, quesadillas, salad bowl and nachos, $15 each), with a choice of battered fish, roasted pork shoulder, braised beef brisket, roasted chicken thigh and/or veggie (onion, green peppers and corn) and a choice of salsas. Additional charges for cheese ($1), guacamole ($2) and quinoa ($2). Dishes are assembled to order and diners pick up their food from the counter. A small selection of soups and sides are available; a standout is the grilled corn on the cob which is topped with queso fresca (fresh Mexican cheese), lime mayo and a chilli-spice blend ($7). Given that this is a bar, the drinks menu is far more extensive than the food menu. What’s available: a range of ten bottled and draft beers (Mexican and otherwise, $10-$15), some 60 tequilas ($12-$50 per shot), 11 margaritas ($13-$14, per glass), and too-many-to-count cocktails and shooters. Can’t decide? Try the Tamarindo ($14), an interestingly sweet, salty, sour and spicy tamarind-based cocktail or the housemade horchata ($6) – a traditional sweet and refreshing drink made with rice, nuts and cinnamon. This Cinco de Mayo, they’re hosting parties on 3 and 5 May, with $5 tequila shots and tacos.
Hombre Cantina | Address: 53 Boat Quay | Tel: 64386708 | Opening hours: Mon-Sat noon-midnight, Kitchen: noon-2pm, 6-10pm

 

Guzman y Gomez
For Tex-Mex fast food
This is the Sydney-based Mexican fast food franchise’s first store outside of Australia. Founded in 2006 by Steven Marks, a New York native, after spotting a gap in the market for Mexican fare, the chain now operates 36 outlets Down Under, and now here (opening its first store in 2013). While it pitches itself as an authentic Mexican taqueria chain, its offerings are in fact more Tex-Mex-style with burritos ($7.90-$10.90), soft and hard corn tacos ($7.90 for two), nachos ($13.50) and quesadillas ($8.50 for two). Filling options include mild and spicy grilled chicken, spicy grilled steak, slow roasted beef, slow roasted pork, sautéed fish and veggie. All its proprietary marinades and sauces used by the chain originate from California . The Spicy Chicken burrito (mini $7.90, regular $10.90,) filled with rice, Jack cheese, black beans and salsa is the store’s best seller. Guacamole ($2) is made in the restaurant daily using avocados from Australia or the US while the pico de gallo (chopped tomato salad) uses Roma tomatoes from Australia which doesn’t become too watery or squishy after being chopped. Burrito bowls ($10.90) and salad bowls ($12.50), whole wheat tortillas and brown rice options are available; corn tortillas are gluten-free. A free condiment station is available for diners who want to add some extra heat and flavour with 'Mild' roasted jalapeno, 'Medium' smoky chipotle, and 'Hot' habanero sauces.
Guzman y Gomez | Address: 12 Marina View, #02-11 Asia Square Tower 2 Foodcourt | Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10am-8:30pm 

 

CRITIC'S PICK Taqueria
For halal hawker tacos 
Finally, affordable tacos! Give it up for this halal Mexican stall on the third floor of Market Street (Golden Shoe) Food Centre. Set up by a West Coast American who missed good, affordable Mexican food, this taco stall is as authentic as it gets, and the prices are hard to beat. What should you eat? Read on here, or watch the short video below. The tortillas that are made in-house every morning, so arrive early - before the food gets sold out.
Taqueria | Address: 50 Market Street, #03-29 Golden Shoe | Opening hours: Mon-Fri 11.30am-2.30pm  

See video below for what we ate
 

 

 

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This is not all. For the rest of the top Mexican dishes in Singapore, read here

 


From dining on scorpions in Thailand to llama in Chile, there is nothing that fazes June Lee, CSW. Finding the right wines to match can be a challenge, though. With 12 years' experience in food and travel writing, she counts snorkelling in the Maldives, living with nomadic families in Mongolia, and driving in Mexico as her most memorable adventures. In her happy few months in Mexico in 2009, she sampled home cooked and street food, alongside café and restaurant specialties across the regions.

Sylvia Tan YL is the editor of a news and social networking website, avid traveller and photographer. When on the road, she gleefully swaps her keyboard for a camera which is often precariously juggled alongside handfuls of street-side snacks. The adventurous home cook also recreates favourite foods from her travels, and contributes travel and food stories to local and regional publications.