Here at Los Tacos Azules, we believe that delicious tortillas are essential for making delicious tacos.
A properly made traditional tortilla, with its enticing nutty aroma, delicate flavor, and fluffy texture, has nothing to do with its commercial counterpart. Similar to good quality bread or rice, it tastes so good that you can enjoy it on its own. Almost anything you put on it will taste great.
Since we aspire to make the best tacos, we are very particular about how we make our tortillas.
We make them fresh and cook by hand one by one -prepared to order, not in advance- so you can enjoy them in their best possible condition.
With our restaurant located in Japan, a country with such a rich culinary tradition, it only makes sense to consider aspects of the local cuisine when creating our dishes and using local seasonal ingredients as much as possible. We combine traditional methods and recipes you can only find in Mexico with the deliberateness of Japanese cuisine and local elements to expand Japan’s and the world’s understanding of what a taco is supposed to and can be. The possibilities are endless, and we intend to explore them. Through our carefully handmade tortillas and reverence for both Mexican and Japanese culinary practices, our goal is to blend tradition and innovation to create a unique culinary experience.
We exclusively use heirloom corn from Mexico for making our tortillas.
Corn has been a staple food in Mexico for thousands of years and has a strong historical and cultural significance for its people. There are about 80 indigenous varieties that are still being grown naturally today by small-scale farmers. Each type has its own unique flavor profile that reflects the soil and climate of the region where they were grown. Unfortunately, mass production and monocropping of genetically modified corn have led to a significant loss of biodiversity, threatening some of these native species.
Large-scale corn flour producers favor genetically modified and F1 hybrid varieties because of their convenience and low cost. However, much else about the corn is lost, from its flavor and aroma to its nutritional value. These large-scale producers prioritize production stability and cost at the expense of quality. Even if we could mass produce disease-resistant varieties with the characteristic traits we desire, it would be extremely difficult to replicate the same complex processes found in nature—the climate, the soil, the altitude, cultivation methods, etc. So many factors play a role in the final product that ends up on our plates, and even though many consider corn a cheap source of food or energy, it can be just as unique and valuable as luxury cacao or coffee.
We choose to use small-scale heirloom corn not only because of its superior quality but also because it helps support the farmers who have been the guardians of these crops for generations.
Nixtamalization is the traditional method of processing corn to make masa (dough), discovered in ancient times by the dwellers of Mesoamerica (the area that Mexico and Central America now occupy). The procedure consists of boiling corn in an alkaline solution, usually made from lime and water, and then letting it soak in that solution overnight. Then, corn is ground into a malleable dough so it can be shaped into many forms, including tortillas, tamales, and many more. This ingenuous method not only enhances the flavor of the corn, it also increases its nutrient bioavailability. It was through this ingenuity that corn was able to flourish and become a staple food in these regions.
Through repeated experimentation and our own hands-on research in various parts of Mexico, we are continuously improving our method of nixtamalization here at Los Tacos Azules. There are so many variables, controllable and not, that affect the quality of the nixtamal. Water, temperature, the degree of alkalinity, and very significantly, the way of grinding: all need to be adjusted according to the type of corn being used. It is essential to get nixtamal right, as it determines the quality of the masa (dough), which influences the tortillas' color, aroma, texture, and taste. While our methods may be time and labor-intensive, this is the only proper way to make delicious tortillas.
tortillas are best fresh!
With the utmost care put into sourcing the best quality ingredients and the craftsmanship we put into creating our masa, we make each tortilla fresh to order so that you can enjoy them in the most delicious state possible. You might have to wait a bit longer for your order at our restaurant when compared with other shops, but we prioritize quality and taste over convenience. By making truly delicious tacos, we aim to communicate the dedication and effort of the farmers who preserve these species and the rich history and tradition passed down by our ancestors.