El Tonayense's Tripitas Tacos

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John Birdsall
Cabeza taco (left) and tripitas taco ($1.75 each).
Monday, July 26, 2010

The good news for maw haters: tripitas are not tripe. The bad news: They're bits from a pig's lower intestine, boiled and fried, the chitlins of American soul food. In Bay Area taco trucks, along with buche, pork stomach, they're Jaliscense soul food. Order a tripitas taco in East Oakland and what you'll get are tiny, squidlike flesh rings, fried up on a flattop with enough oil to make them seem deep-fried. You either love the crisp-rubbery texture and deep-critter nuttiness, or you don't, desperately trying to obliterate the tripitas' all-out offal taste in a Jarritos flush.

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John Birdsall
​But get a tripitas taco from one of San Francisco's El Tonayense trucks ― we're partial to number three, which parks on Harrison at 19th Street, if only for the proximity to the John O'Connell edible garden through chainlink ― and you get something altogether gentler. Tonayense dilutes the full force of chitlin in a matrix of ground pork. The effect is vaguely chorizo-like, only milder, softer, the gravely burr of organ meat smoothed out, sweetened. Think of it as the threshold taco for future offal lovers, or one for existing whole-hog fans on days they're happy to semi-commit.

El Toyanense Taco Truck #3: Harrison at 19th Street.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie. Contact me at John.Birdsall@SFWeekly.com
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