Here at Los Tacos Azules, we believe that delicious tortillas are essential for making delicious tacos.
A properly made traditional tortilla, with its enticing nutty aroma, delicate flavor and fluffy texture, has nothing to do with its commercial counterpart. Similar to good quality bread or rice, it tastes so good that you can actually enjoy it on its own. Almost anything you put on it will taste great.
Since we aspire to make best tacos we can, we are very particular about the way we make our tortillas.
We make them fresh, and cook by hand one by one -by the order- so you can enjoy them in their best possible condition.
With our restaurant being located in Japan, a country with such a rich culinary tradition, it only makes sense to take aspects of the local cuisine into consideration when creating our dishes and to use local seasonal ingredients as much as possible. We strive to combine traditional methods and recipes you can only find in Mexico with the deliberateness of Japanese cuisine and local ingredients in order to expand not only Japan’s, but the world’s understanding of what a taco is supposed to and can be. The possibilities are endless, and we intend to explore them. Through our carefully handmade tortillas and reverence for both Mexican and Japanese culinary practices, our goal is to blend tradition and innovation in order to create a unique culinary experience.
We exclusively use heirloom corn from Mexico for making our tortillas.
Having been consumed as a staple food for thousands of years, corn has a strong historical and cultural significance in Mexico. There are about 80 indigenous varieties that are still being grown naturally today by small-scale farmers. Each variety has its own unique flavor profile that reflects the soil and climate of the region where they were grown. Unfortunately, mass production and monocropping of genetically modified corn has led to a great loss of biodiversity, threatening some of these irreplaceable species.
Large-scale corn flour producers tend to favor genetically modified and F1 hybrid varieties because of their convenience and low cost but almost everything else about the corn, from its flavor and aroma to its nutritional value, is significantly inferior. These large-scale producers prioritize production stability and cost at the expense of quality. Even if we were able to mass produce disease resistant varieties that contain the characteristic traits we desire, it would be extremely difficult to replicate the same complex processes found in nature. The climate, the soil, the altitude, cultivation methods... So many factors play a role in the final product that ends up on our plates, and even though corn is often seen as a cheap source of food or energy, it can be just as unique and valuable as luxury cacao or coffee.
We choose to use small scale heirloom corn not only because of its superior quality, but also because it helps support the farmers who have been the guardians of these crops for generations. We believe it is our responsibility to do as much as we can to ensure that these species can be enjoyed by generations to come.
Nixtamalization is the traditional method of processing corn to make masa (dough) in Mexico and Central America. The process consists of first boiling corn in an alkaline solution, usually made from lime and water, and then letting it soak in that solution overnight. The end product of this initial process is called the “nixtamal.” The nixtamal itself is versatile and can be made into many other delicious foods such as tamales and pozole. There are always grains of truth to be found in ancestral wisdom and practices that have endured the test of time. Nixtamalization not only makes the corn malleable enough to grind and form into masa, it also increases nutrient bioavailability. It is through this ingenuity that corn was able to flourish and become a staple food in these regions.
Through repeated experimentation and our own hands-on hands research in various parts of Mexico, we are continuously improving our method of nixtamalization here at Los Tacos Azules. There are so many variables, controllable and not, that affect the quality of the nixtamal. Water, temperature, the degree of alkalinity, and very importantly, the way of grinding all need to be adjusted according to the type of corn being used. The quality of the nixtamal determines the quality of the masa (dough), affecting the color, aroma, texture and taste of the tortillas. While our methods are time and labor intensive, we believe this is the only true way to make truly delicious tortillas.
taste tortillas in the best possible way!
With the utmost care put into the sourcing of our ingredients and the craftsmanship we put into creating our masa, each tortilla is made fresh to order so that our guests can enjoy them in the most delicious state possible. You might have to wait a little bit longer for your order at our restaurant compared to other shops, but we prioritize quality and taste over convenience. By making truly delicious tacos, we hope to communicate the dedication and effort of the farmers who preserve these species and the rich history and tradition passed down by our ancestors.