Friday, July 30, 2010

Mexicali's Chicken Taco Salad, more than a salad to me

Who would have thought that a salad can hold so much memory? An aunt who now resides in Canada introduced me to Mexicali’s Chicken Taco Salad during one of our forays in Glorietta. This salad also reminds me of a dear friend who is also in Canada. I remember eating it while discussing our college woes in between nacho chips and cheese and jalapeno dip. So you can say that I always order this salad for sentimental reasons.

I’m not exactly fond of salads with big bowls of lettuce. So this small bowl of nacho chips, strips of grilled chicken and mashed brown beans on a small bed of greens topped with shredded cheese is just right for me. Here, I know I won’t be munching my way through a mountain of leafy vegetables, only the delight of eating crunchy nacho chips that deliciously goes well with the chicken and beans.

And unlike the usual salad, this one has no dressing. It only relies on the mild but tasty flavor of the mashed beans, giving the dish a more rustic side, easy to imagine eating it on a clay bowl in Mexico. I’m not sure though if these are local beans. But even so, the mashed beans really make this taco salad stand apart from other salads especially those with more indulgent dressings thanks to its unique taste and texture.

And this salad is very Mexican indeed. I recall one show in Discovery Travel & Living mentioning that the true tacos of Mexico contained mashed beans inside, together with strips of grilled chicken instead of minced meat which we usually associate our tacos with.

I just wish that Mexicali had a bigger bowl for their Chicken Taco Salad, a larger bowl to enjoy this simple but uniquely Mexican salad because Mexicali’s Alabang Town Center with its Frida Kahlo pictures and wooden benches has truly transported me to the place where the tacos was first invented. And with a larger bowl, I hope to cherish the times with my aunt and my dear friend a little longer, even while I’m finishing my favorite salad.

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