Takeaway Truth: Mad Mex Pork Al Pastor Street Tacos

Takeaway Truth is a regular Lifehacker feature where we compare marketing images against what you actually get served. Today: Mad Mex’s “More Meat” Pork Al Pastor Street Tacos.

From the outset, Mad Mex has positioned itself as the “anti-Taco Bell” of Mexican takeaway. It’s the place that discerning foodies go to enjoy fresh, healthy and authentic Mesoamerican cuisine. Well, it turns out that some dishes are more authentic than others. The Más Carne/More Meat Pork Al Pastor Street Taco is being heavily billed as a “traditional” Mexican dish. Which presumably makes the rest of the menu chopped liver (we kid).

The dish comprises three Mexico City street-style tacos filled with your choice of meat, including the new Pork Al Pastor — pork shoulder caramelised in pineapple, chilli & achiote. The tacos are garnished with fresh coriander, onion, salsa and lime.

Here’s the official spiel from Mad Mex’s website:

Hot off the streets of the “District Federale”, Mad Mex – Fresh Mexican Grill introduces new Street Tacos “Pork Al Pastor”. Street Tacos, aka the “shots” of the Mexican food world, are an authentic street food staple with three soft corn tortillas piled with “más carne” (more meat) and topped simply with salsa, freshly chopped onion, coriander and a squeeze of lime – just how you’ll find them on the streets of Mexico City.
For a limited time only, Mad Mex will also serve a traditional Mexican favourite, Pork Al Pastor to customers across Australia. Named the most popular taco filling in Mexico City, “Al Pastor” means “from the shepherd” and dates back to the Shawarma brought to central Mexico by Lebanese immigrants; originally made of lamb, now with pork shoulder. The Pork Al Pastor recipe has pork shoulder sautéed in sweet pineapple, chilli & achiote (which gives it a distinctive red colour); the juices of the pineapple caramelise the tender pieces of pork on an open flame.

A trio of Mad Mex Pork Al Pastor Street Tacos packs in a reasonably light 1917kJ of energy. However, this doesn’t include sauce, cheese or other condiments. Adding all the available extras will see the total balloon to 4735kJ. Ay Dios mío!

To test the Mad Mex Pork Al Pastor Street Tacos, we visited a Circular Quay outlet and asked the staff to make it the same as the poster. Below is a side-by-side comparison of the marketing image and what we actually got served:

Well, at least the lime wedge was included. All up, we’re not terribly impressed with our tacos’ resemblance to the poster. There seems to be less meat on the real thing and the onion/coriander isn’t chopped as finely. With that said, it’s still a pretty tasty looking meal and the colours are reasonably faithful.

Our main complaint is that these things are tiny. The entire taco shell practically fits in the palm of your hand:

The photo on the poster doesn’t really make this clear — the bowl and wedge of lime fail to indicate how small each taco is. The throwaway mention of “taco shots” should really be in the product’s name instead of hidden in a blurb beneath the emblazoned promise of “More Meat”. Tch.

    Truth Rating: 6/10

Which fast food franchise or menu item would you like us to tackle next? Let us know in the comments section below.

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