Taco fans show off their orders at the Taco Truck Throwdown.Photo by Frank Lopez
Written by Frank Lopez
Fresnan takes food seriously.
The Central Valley is known as the food capital, not just for residents, but for people across the country. Now, the Fresno area’s foodie scene is attracting hungry eyes from outside the area.
Fresno has been a test market for fast food chains for decades. Taco Bell Doritos Locos Taco and breakfast waffle tacos were the first to hit the area, with people lining up to try new treats.
Local food events such as FresYes Fest, Taco Truck Throwdown, GreekFest, the new Garlic Festival, MADE Central California’s revived food expo, various farmers’ markets, and weekly gatherings of food trucks at multiple locations are packed with queues. it’s finished. Number of people waiting for orders.
The Central Valley’s food scene is overshadowed by that of big cities like San Diego and Los Angeles, but the local Mexican food scene is a candidate for hungry travelers.
Earlier this year, a team at the Fresno/Clovis Convention and Visitors Bureau began promoting the region’s food attractions to attract visitors from the surrounding Central Valley cities and beyond.
“We realize that thanks to all the food we grew up with here and the compelling stories of those who have opened restaurants and owned food trucks, we were in a unique position. We wanted to make sure we were highlighting them, and we got great results out of it.
Last week, the Visitors Bureau posted “Around the World You Can Eat in Fresno County” on its website. This list celebrates the variety of cuisines available in Fresno County from around the world, including Mediterranean, Mexican, Indian, Italian, Chinese, and Japanese.
In compiling the list, Puopolo said the team made sure there was something for everyone and a wide variety of foods that would inspire both residents and visitors to try things they’ve never eaten before. He said he was thinking of getting it.
Puopolo said the Fresno area is uniquely positioned to market itself as a food destination because most of the food grown here is also used in local restaurants.
“There’s a connection between what we grow and what we eat that you don’t find in many other places, which leads to the tremendous range of cuisines available,” Puopolo says. Told.
To find such diverse dining options, Puopolo said, you have to go to a city like New York City.
When it comes to Mexican food, Puopolo said he ranks Central Valley Mexican food against food from other regions.
On October 1st, Fresno Street Eats and the Fresno Grizzlies hosted their 7th Annual Taco Truck Throwdown at Chukchansi Park. The event saw local taco trucks take to the field to compete for the Jury Prize and People’s Choice Awards for Best Taco.
This year’s event featured live entertainment from professional wrestlers, Mexican norteño group Los Rojos and headliner rap group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.
Mike “Oz” Osegueda, founder and president of Fresno Street Eats, said this year’s event attracted about 10,000 visitors, more than last year.
The People’s Choice Award for best taco of the year went to Tacos La Vaporera, which also won the same title last year. The Jury Prize went to Cocula’s Taqueria.
Oz said there were more applicants than usual this year. That’s because Fresno Street Eats has a wider network of trucks than ever before, which meant they had to be more selective.
As these food events grow in popularity, Fresno is starting to become a foodie destination.
“I don’t think any city can match Fresno when it comes to food diversity. We definitely have everything it takes to create a foodie town,” Oz said.
While neighborhoods like Los Angeles and San Diego consistently rank high on bloggers and reviewers’ lists for the best tacos and Mexican food, Central Valley Mexican food draws from different parts of Mexico, according to Oz. offers a wider variety of options.
While many other cities with good Mexican food only serve dishes from specific regions, Fresno offers styles from several states, including Michoacan, Sinaloa, Oaxaca and Jalisco, according to Oz. can find.
Oz notes a growing number of restaurants, food trucks and pop-up stands selling from other Latin countries, including Cuban food truck Havana Cafe, Venezuelan food pop-up stands, and several El Salvadoran restaurants.
“For many people, Fresno is a big city,” Oz said. “If we can bring in people from Selma, Sanger, Madera and even Merced and Bakersfield, if we can make this place a destination for those people, not just for the event, but for all the businesses supported. It will be a victory. It depends.”
stand with family
Tacos Jacinto, a family-owned food truck in Fresno, entered the Taco Truck Throwdown for the first time this year.
Melissa Martinez, 26, is the chef at Taco Jacinto, which she runs with her mother, Maria Jacinto, and sister, Marisol Martinez, who started the business 26 years ago.
Melissa stood in the kitchen the whole time and her mother taught her everything she knew about food.
Tacos Jacinto started as a taco stand in Fowler in 1995, evolved into a taco truck a few years later, and then a restaurant at Caruthers for about five years. They’re regulars at Gazebo Garden’s food truck night on Thursdays, usually posted in the Light He Aid parking lot on Cedar Avenue and Gettysburg Avenue.
After the restaurant, the family decided to return to the taco truck, which has been operating in Fresno ever since.
Martinez said he didn’t know exactly what they were going to do when he went to the event, but he found it very rewarding when the Viria tacos sold out.
“We got a lot of new followers and exposure because it’s a little more publicity than we were doing,” Martinez said.
Tacos Jacinto is a regular at Gazebo Garden’s Food Truck Nights on Thursdays, usually in the Rite-Aid parking lot on Cedar and Gettysburg avenues.
Taco’s Jacinto serves Michoacan-style food, but Martinez said he likes dining at other taco trucks for a taste of Mexico’s different cultures.
“You don’t eat the same taco twice at different stands,” says Martinez.
Outside of popular food events in the area, the Taco Truck draws visitors from Bakersfield, Salinas and even Los Angeles who come to Fresno just for the tacos, Martinez said.
Martinez concedes that cities such as Los Angeles and San Diego may be better known for their Mexican cuisine, but he believes Fresno will one day rival the rise of the food truck scene.