The Taco Bar Symonds Street

Pukekohe's home of dripping birria tacos has arrived in Auckland CBD.
Stephen Heard
Published on April 21, 2021


Dripping birria tacos are one of the latest food trends to sweep social feeds. The Los Angeles food truck staple are traditionally filled with the sweet, sour and spicy fall-apart stew and then fried or grilled on a hotplate to provide an additional crunch and gooey cheese pull. Bright red sauce or broth is often provided for dipping.

The juicy tacos can now be found in Auckland's CBD as The Taco Bar lands on Symonds Street. The Pukekohe taqueria is best-known for its beef brisket birria. Co-owner Juan Carlos Cantor says customers regularly drive across Auckland to wrap their hands around the snack, while some have even come from as far as Hamilton and Rotorua.

Carlos Cantor says the main idea behind the taqueria is to bring the small fast-paced Mexican street taco carts to New Zealand. The chef of 15 years started developing the concept in 2018, but only opened his first outpost last year in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The menu at his new Symonds Street location features between six to eight different tacos, including slow roasted pork carnitas, chipotle marinated pulled chicken, cheesy prawns and mole tacos. Carlos Cantor says the birria filling for his famous tacos takes around eight hours to cook. It comes served inside corn flour tortillas alongside dripping cheese, coriander and white onion. A small bowl of beef birria consomé can be purchased for dipping.

Further, The Taco Bar serves up a range of Tex-Mex favourites, including nachos, quesadillas, guacamole and fresh pico de gallo salsa with chips. The rotating specials menu has featured everything from a birria crunch wrap with Flaming Hot Cheetos to fresh clam ceviche, tamales and Central America's much-loved baleadas — a folded flour tortilla filled with refried beans and cheese.

The new store is currently operating with a reduced menu. Place your order online for speedy pickup and delivery, or drop in to the hole-in-the-wall at 5/103 Symonds Street, Grafton.


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