This tiny taco stand in Mexico has just earned a Michelin star

A tiny, no frills taco stand in Mexico with just four items on its menu has been awarded a star by the coveted Michelin Guide.

Taquería El Califa de León, located in the San Rafael neighborhood of Mexico City, was among the establishments to garner either one or two stars in the first ever Michelin Guide Mexico, published earlier this week, making it the first Mexican taco stand to receive the honor.

Chef Arturo Rivera Martínez, who has been serving customers at Taquería El Califa de León for at least two decades, was presented with the famous white chef’s jacket while dishing out his popular tacos on Wednesday.

this tiny taco stand in mexico has just earned a michelin star

Taquería El Califa de León is the first ever Mexican taco stand to receive a Michelin star. - Fernando Llano/AP

“The secret is the simplicity of our taco,” Rivera Martínez told the Associated Press. “It has only a tortilla, red or green sauce, and that’s it. That, and the quality of the meat.”

Taquería El Califa de León, which is only about 10 feet wide, has been around for more than 50 years and is known for its Gaonera taco, apparently named in honor of Mexican bullfighter Rodolfo Gaona.

“This taqueria may be bare bones with just enough room for a handful of diners to stand at the counter but its creation, the Gaonera taco, is exceptional,” reads a statement on the Michelin Guide website.

this tiny taco stand in mexico has just earned a michelin star

A diner tucks into one of popular tacos at the no frills eatery in Mexico City. - Silvana Flores/AFP/Getty Images

“Thinly sliced beef filet is expertly cooked to order, seasoned with only salt and a squeeze of lime.

“At the same time, a second cook prepares the excellent corn tortillas alongside. The resulting combination is elemental and pure.”

When asked which drink he’d recommend that diners match with the “exceptional” tacos, Rivera Martínez told reporters, “I like a Coke.”

Aside from the aforementioned Gaonera taco, customers can opt for three other meat-filled variations, including a bistec (beef steak) filling, served up on a plastic plate for around $5.

“With meat and tortillas of this caliber, the duo of house-made salsas is hardly even necessary,” says the Michelin Guide.

this tiny taco stand in mexico has just earned a michelin star

“The secret is the simplicity of our taco,” chef Rivera Martínez told reporters on Wednesday. - Silvana Flores/AFP/Getty Images

Fine dining restaurant Quintonil, run by chef Jorge Vallejo and Alejandra Flores, awarded two stars, and chef Elena Reygadas’s Rosetta, awarded one star, were among the other establishments included on Michelin’s first-ever rankings for Mexico.

Focusing on Mexico City, Oaxaca, Baja California, Los Cabos and Nuevo León, the Michelin Guide inspectors traveled up and down the country to seek out the best culinary experiences on offer.

“What a joy it is to honor the uniqueness of the Mexican gastronomic landscape in Mexico City,” Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of the Michelin Guides, said in a statement.

“The first and very promising selection is an an illustration of how the country is showcasing its regions, with their cultures and traditions that are as distinctive as they are distinguishable.”

Back in 2016, chef Chan Hon Meng’s Singapore stall became the first street-food establishment to be recognized by the distinguished guide.

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