Tacos & Tequila at Taqueria Jardin
This great little (and I really mean little- there is standing room for 6 or 8 can sit and stand if you don't mind getting a bit cozy) Mexican taco hut really took me by surprise. The taco-hut is in the middle of one of Hiroshima's most traditional places, Onomichi city. The typical foods in this Onomichi area often feature Ramen noodles, Setouchi lemons, raw fish and even turtle's blood. So, it was nice to find tasty foods completely outside the norm.
The owner lived in Oaxaca for five years and developed a fondness for the local cuisine. Upon returning to Hiroshima and her hometown of Onomichi, she decided to set up shop midtown in hopes of spreading her passion for Mexican food with the locals. Apparently many local people find the homemade salsa she makes too spicy and the refried beans unsettling, but over time she has won over some true fans.
I for one am a huge fan and am so glad she hasn't changed her salsa or beans to try to cater to local tastes, there are too many shops in Japan that do that and lose the great smoky, acidic and spicy flavors in the process. The tacos and tostadas we had were the best tasting, most authentic I've ever had in Japan and that includes big brand places like Hard Rock Cafe. She makes the salsa, refried beans, sauces and meat marinade, as well as the corn tortillas for the tacos and tostadas from scratch.
You can easily eat here on a shoestring budget, we had 5 tacos and 5 tostadas, drinks and a Mexican beer and it was still just over 2,000 yen for the lot. The sizes are small, but for the price and taste is very reasonable. Take-out is also available if you want to take it out to the waterside nearby to enjoy on a nice weather day.
As Onomichi is the access point to the connection of bridges that make a great cycling adventure across the many islands dotted between Hiroshima and Shikoku, this taco hut could become a nice alternative protein power-up for riders as well as a great place to get a few congratulatory shots of some authentic Mexican tequila at the end of a day in the saddle.