From Iceland — Tacos Served With A Side Of Jazz

Tacos Served With A Side Of Jazz

Published August 14, 2023

Tacos Served With A Side Of Jazz
Photo by
Art Bicnick/The Reykjavík Grapevine

Tacoson’s simple menu brings big flavour

Situated on the docks of Reykjavík harbour is Tacoson – a food truck overlooking a skatepark and a basketball court. Nearby is a massive cruise liner, which almost acts like a seven-storey building framing the area. Two men are dancing to the tunes of reggaeton music playing on the yellow communal loudspeaker and high-fiving passersby. 

It is early August, yet the weather has started showing signs of fall, with grey skies and wind gusts, lowering my body temperature rapidly.

Art Bicnick/The Reykjavík Grapevine

I seek the refuge of Tacoson – a food truck serving, you guessed it, tacos. The stand is emblazoned with a picture of a viking eating a taco, although I’m pretty sure vikings never ate those. Such is the power of fiction. 

As I approach the truck, the stand’s proprietor was practising the trumpet.

A trumpet-playing taquero

As I approach the truck, the stand’s proprietor was practising the trumpet. “How long have you been playing?” I asked him. “About 25 years,” he replied.

Iceland’s climate doesn’t really allow for a vivid food truck scene, as the act of eating outside will usually land you in early stages of hypothermia, or the tragicomical scene of chasing down paper trays and full meals being swept away by the wind. Despite this chilling fact,  the local food truck culture is more diverse than one would think, as exemplified by the annual street food festival. 

During the time of my visit, Tacoson boasts a simple menu, offering three types of tacos: BBQ pulled pork; chilli con carne; and fish. Patatas bravas are available as a side dish. 

Waiting for the meal to be prepared, I gazed at the splendour of urban life around me. I had never noticed the vibrancy of the city to this degree. Despite the awful weather, I saw friends taking up a game of basketball and the two men dishing out high-fives earlier had started dancing.

Eating out is generally an expensive avocation in Iceland, and Tacoson is no exception. They offer two tacos and a pop for 2700 ISK. A duo of fish tacos with soda costs 3400 ISK. Add the patatas bravas, 950 ISK, and you could be eating a relatively nice meal somewhere inside, somewhere warm. On their own, the BBQ pulled pork and the chilli con carne variations were 1350 ISK each, and the fish taco 1850 ISK. 

Catch that fish

Because an adult man physically cannot be satiated by two tacos alone, I opted for three tacos – one of each sort. It ended up costing a total of 4.400 ISK with a can of Coke, which blew away as soon as I had emptied it. 

When my tastebuds came into contact with the fish, something inside me changed, and I wished I’d gotten three fish tacos instead of one.

Diving into the first bite of the BBQ pulled pork, which I lathered with one of the four available hot sauces, a rich taste of barbecue sauce greeted me. Chewy and excellent, the taco was adorned with pickled red cabbage and other essential accoutrements. 

Art Bicnick/The Reykjavík Grapevine

Next up, the chilli. Although I love this one-pot wonder of easy protein, among the three tacos, it ended up in third place. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good, but it was outshined by both the BBQ and fish variations. 

By far, the best course on Tacoson’s menu is the fish taco. The fried fish batter managed to keep up its crunch despite swimming in a sour-cream base, with brunoise cut fresh onion, tomato and cabbage. When my tastebuds came into contact with the fish, something inside me changed, and I wished I’d gotten three fish tacos instead of one. 

I was disappointed by Tacoson’s lack of vegetable and vegan options, as it’s something they have served in the past. Although my hands were cold, Tacoson’s excellent tacos managed to warm my soul. 

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