(edited 3/2012 This location was closed in 2012, but they have a second location in TianMu)
Nearest MRT stop: Danshui
hours: Weekdays 11:30 AM-2:30 PM; 4:30PM-10PM (closed Tuesdays)
Weekends 11:30 AM- 10 PM
$ - $$ Cash only
Kid friendliness: High chair available. Restaurant above a stairway, so would need to fold up or lift strollers.
Visit reviewed: 12/5/2008
If you're visiting Taiwan, you're probably headed over to Din Tai Fung for some xiao long bao, to Yong Kang Jie for some beef noodle soup or niu rou mien and mango shaved ice, to the night market of your choice for some oyster omelette or stinky tofu or giant fried chicken ji pai, or to Ximen Ding for some Ah Chung mien shien or vermicelli that you can eat only standing up. That's what I always ate when I visited. These are the places I usually take my friends when they visit.
But what about when we're no longer visitors?
When Din Tai Fung is as exciting as McDonald's and we're drooling over non-Chinese food on food blogs in LA, theOC, San Diego or more from OC? When all we want is a half decent burrito?
In the past, I tried all the Mexican places in town and then eventually end up at Chili's for the fajitas and guacamole, or make my own guacamole from the Haas avocados from Costco.
For months, I drooled over the possibility that good authentic Mexican food could fill my tummy when I read about Eddy's Burrito in Danshui and the new El Gallo in Tienmu. Perhaps I didn't want to get my hopes up, even as I read good reviews, that nothing could compare to the carnitas or enchiladas in LA. Everytime I made plans to trek to Danshui, the weather would rain me out. But I finally made it after a friend also wanted to try it and volunteered to drive.
And the drive (or MRT ride) is worth it.
Eddy's Cantina is not only THE BEST Mexican food in Taipei (and believe me, I've tried them all), but also makes me feel like I could be sitting in some mom and pop Mexican hole-in-the-wall in LA (and that is a good thing). Eddy's Cantina is run by Eddy and his wife Jo, and the food is prepared with fresh ingredients from Eddy's family recipes. The menu has been expanded from their days as Eddy's Burrito, a stand at Lao Jie.
From the English and Chinese menu to the service with a smile to the great prices, Eddy's Cantina offers almost everything a Mexican food lover could want. Burritos, soft shell tacos, chimichangas, quesadillas, enchiladas, fajitas, nachos, horchata, margaritas, beers and even dessert. Their lunch menus offer up a variety of six different bowls- carnitas, taco salad, fajitas, mexi-breakfast, rice and beans (NT$99- NT$129).
The decor is bright and colorful and the space is not huge, but doesn't feel crowded. Mariachi music playing overhead adds to the festive setting.
With each dish, you can make it a set for additional NT$80 and choose a drink and three sides (from beans, rice, potatoes, salad or chips). It was a kick getting my Orange Fanta in a glass bottle, and my friend loved her horchata. You can also order the horchata with a shot of Kahlua.
The carnitas (pork) burrito (NT$160 ala carte/NT$240 set) came first and I had to hold in my excitement. The pork was roasted and had the slightly chunky and stringy browned carnitas look that I was familiar with, and the burrito was soft and warm, filled with pork, Mexican rice and refried beans- so if you get the additional sides, don't get the rice/beans unless you want extra!
The three complimentary sauces are served separately for you to add if you find your burrito not spicy or wet enough- white sour cream, spicy red chili rojo sauce and green guacasalsa sauce. I think next time I might ask for some diced tomatoes and onions or cheese too (which are available in their lunchtime only Carnitas bowl). Or even better, if there was chunky guacamole on the menu. You can also ask for jalepenos.
The carne asada (steak) tacos (NT$185 for 2) were topped with diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro and cheese. There's even a slice of lime to squeeze onto the taco. However, as reader Dan C. reminded me with his inquiry, the tortillas are flour, not corn. It would definitely be better with corn tortillas, but I guess I've been in Taiwan too long and acclimated to making my own soft tacos when eating fajitas at Chili's or Yuma with flour tortillas. I honestly can't believe I didn't react to it right away.
Last, but not least, were the chicken enchiladas (NT$200 for 2). My go-to dish at a Mexican restaurant is chicken enchiladas- the seasoned chicken wrapped in a corn tortilla and baked with melted cheese on top is just comfort food for me. But they have been impossible to find in Taipei- only at La Casita were they decent. The enchiladas weren't drowning in sauce, but they were still moist and flavorful. The tortilla was soft and each bite made me increasingly happy. My friend who hadn't eaten Mexican food since she had come back to Taiwan over three years ago liked this dish the best.
Even though we were both stuffed, we decided to try the dessert. Two tortillas with butter and sugar in between, the Tortilla Dulce (NT$100) is served warm with chocolate drizzled on top and ice cream- it reminded me of a dessert crepe. The chocolate chip ice cream was so good and it was a sweet ending to a delicious meal.
If you can't make the trek, Eddy's Cantina can also deliver burritos and more through a 7-11 freeze/deliver service for you to reheat the next day. I haven't tried it yet, but I'll probably make the call the next time the craving hits me. It's definitely going to be better than the frozen rice and bean burritos at Costco (UGH!) or the frozen enchiladas at Jason's.
It was kind of surreal, finding authentic Mexican food in Taiwan and at totally affordable prices. Sure it's almost an hour away from where I live in Taipei, but that's a lot closer than LA!
in the Reader's Choice poll!!!
I'm really hoping you all will help me give it a try-
it's your chance to share your faves,
especially if you've disagreed or agreed with me before
even if it's for a few of the categories!!! Thank you!