When I came across Aida's stand on Alameda St. between E.110th and E.111th in Watts, I didn't exactly find what I was looking for. Watts has become a hotbed on Latino street food due to the increasing Mexican and Central-American presence. Aida is from El Salvador where there are no tacos, except at a Mexican restaurant, nor are there tacos de canasta.
But Aida's husband is Mexican, from Michoacan, and the recipes for the tacos come from his family.
In addition to some salsas out on her table is a tub of fresh curtido, the Salvadorian pickled cabbage that is a standard topping for pupusas. Aida's curtido is outstanding, not the overly vinegary kind that's been sitting on a table all day at many of the Salvadorian restaurants we see, but crisp and clean. She said it was to put on the tacos. OK!
Her red and green salsas were nice, solid, at this point I was quite interested in this new Mexican and Salvadorian taco de canasta combo.
A local Mexicana came by and displayed her take on these tacos. In Michoacan, enchiladas resemble red stained tacos de canasta covered by shredded lettuce,pickled vegetables and white cheese. So, she completely covered her tacos with curtido and then smothered the plate with salsa. I don't know if Aida will stay in business if that woman comes back.
The tacos themselves were pretty good. The bean and cheese was the best, followed by a potato and chorizo. The chorizo taco isn't usually a filling for these kinds of tacos, and was the typical store bought variety here, which isn't worth getting.
But the steaming is on the mark. Another restaurant in Highland Park claims tacos de canasta but just splashes the tacos in some grease to give it that sweaty feel. Aida's are naturally steamed.
Mexican-Salvadorian restaurants are common in the MacArthur Park area, but this is something different.
Tacos de Canasta
Alameda St. between E.110th and E. 111th
in front of Mercado Tires #2 on the west side of the street
weekends only,mornings till early afternoon