As part of the Quaker Campus’ continued search for the best vegan/vegetarian food in Whittier, we (Editor-in-Chief Madison White and Managing Editor Autumn Dixon) visited MasaTaco. Located about 10 minutes from campus, MasaTaco is a cozy shop with a wide range of Mexican vegan and non-vegan options, specifically tacos.
We started off our order with the vegan carne asada fries, which came topped with crema, salsa verde, cilantro, and onions. For a meat eater, the flavor of the carne asada is definitely different, but it packs quite the punch, and the texture overall is closer than any other meat substitute we had had before.
We then ordered a variety of tacos to get a sense of what we liked best — it is a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it. We ordered chicken, cauliflower, and zucchini tacos. The zucchini came as a recommendation from an employee, and, while it was not our favorite, it still managed to have a more realistically-cheesy flavor than we ever would have expected from vegan food. As anyone that eats vegan or dairy-free knows, a good cheese substitute is hard to come by, and MasaTaco nailed it. The only drawback to the zucchini taco was that it lacked the crunch that the other taco options had.
The chicken substitute looked extremely similar to the asada meat that we ate earlier, but the difference was in the seasoning. The chicken tacos had a strong barbeque flavor to them, and the homemade tortillas set it apart from any other vegan tacos we have tried.
Lastly, we tried the cauliflower tacos. While it was hard to fit two cauliflower pieces onto a street taco-size tortilla, it was by far the best one. The buffalo sauce used made it taste like buffalo wings, which, as any vegetarian or vegan knows, is yet another food item that is hard to veganize. MasaTaco did a great job of capturing the flavor, although the texture of the cauliflower is much different than of a buffalo wing.
The specials MasaTaco has during the week make their food budget-friendly for college students. In total, our three different tacos and asada fries cost about $27, with the fries being the most expensive at $12. As for seating and space at MasaTaco, there are plenty of tables both inside and outside to enjoy your meal.
We opted out of drinks because we were going to get coffee right after, but MasaTaco offers a coconut milk horchata that seems to be very popular and a vegan coffee and bar with different milk substitutes and flavored syrups. MasaTaco even has a full breakfast menu from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., on the weekend. For more information on the restaurant or to look at their full menu, check out MasaTaco on Facebook.
To see our previous review of Veggie y Qué, visit thequakercampus.org.