Ryan’s Regards: Mexican Meals – a taste testing odyssey

Exploring Langley’s Mexican restaurant selection and Latin culture

The Mexican flag flies over a very large amount of tasty restaurants in Langley. (Langley Advance Times Files)

When my girlfriend Mariana and I came to Langley to explore for the first time, the two of us instantly asked each other with joy, “why are there so many Mexican restaurants?”

It felt like a bit of a sign to us that we were on the right track for a place to live – my girlfriend was born and raised in Mexico City, which I have been lucky enough to visit with her on a number of occasions. Biggest city ever! But I believe we are both under the opinion that her land of tortillas, Oaxaca cheese, and jalapenos is the tastiest country in all the world.

The two of us have spent the majority of our relationship visiting each and every Latin themed taco joint in the Lower Mainland where she gave her thumbs up or thumbs down on authenticity. We’ve dined at a lot of places, only to have found a handful of spots that seem to be the real deal.

So when we stepped foot on the Fraser Hwy one-way and saw three Mexican restaurants in a row, not to mention the Latin food store Los Guerreros, we were pleasantly surprised at what kind of “little Mexico” neighbourhood we had found.

Naturally, the process of trying every single one of them to find out which one was best became our life’s mission. We began with Viva Mexico, the largest and certainly loudest fiesta factory on the block.

For margaritas and blended beach drinks, Viva is by far the winner. It’s fun atmosphere blending goofy signage along with occasional live entertainment and TV screens showcasing the wonders of my girlfriend’s home – she said the other day that the lively atmosphere there made her miss the festive feeling of Mexico.

Barely even a few steps away is Adelicia’s, an authentic treat offering up endless varieties of tortilla based dishes. I recommend the tostadas, flat and crispy deep fried tortillas topped with your choice of meat, spicy sauces, cheese, and lettuce. The place definitely got the authenticity gold star from Mariana.

Cielito Lindo is a few steps west from Adelicia’s, a smaller, more cantina-type feel, which borders the Latin foods store. If you’ve never stepped foot inside, do yourself a favor and take a trip to Los Guerreros. It’s essentially like travelling to Mexico without needing a plane or passport. The smells and selection are overwhelming in the best possible way.

And that is only the beginning. About three restaurants closed since our arrival in 2017 that we never got to – longtime locals will have to tell me how the Pupuseria was. Several co-workers at the Langley Advance Times have brought in lunch from Tacoholic, a place neither of us new existed.

We laugh every time we pass the cleverly titled Little Donkey Burrito in Fort Langley and we still talk about our Tex-Mex meal served at Del Pollo in Aldergrove. Mariana had never had a chimichanga in her life and now wonders why her own country doesn’t actually serve the dish.

The moral of this taste testing odyssey is that Langley is uniquely diverse. Growing up in a city around the same size, our Mexican choices were Taco Time or Taco Bell. Even some of Vancouver’s most cultural neighborhoods lack the authenticity of Langley’s Latin choices – not to mention a whole south-of-the-border grocery store; Langley’s is one of two locations in the entire Lower Mainland.

Be proud of this colourful culture Langley, and don’t miss out on the ample ethnic foods that are available all around. As for an answer to the question of who makes the best Mexican in Langley… well, is there any competition?

My girlfriend Mariana of course! She has crafted tamales, tortilla soup, and dishes that I cannot begin to know how to spell – but the flavours have stayed with me. She has a real talent whipping-up recipes from home that I wish you all could have the opportunity to enjoy.

So whether I’m dining out or eating at home, we’ll just say Mexican options in Langley are more than muy bien.

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Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@langleyadvancetimes.com

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