I’ve road-tested each and every taco and can honestly say I’m obsessed with them all.
As a food writer based out of Greenville, South Carolina, I’m often eating within a two-hour radius of home. I keep an annual list of stellar tacos and get asked about it pretty much all the time. It’s a greatest hits of taco shops and though I’ve done it for years, the top spot seems to change each May.
When you draw a two-hour circle from #YeahThatGreenville it’s surprising the number of notable towns you can get to in three states. Some of these stops are well known, others not so much, but I’ve road-tested each and every taco and can honestly say I’m obsessed with them all.
My taco numero uno is a beef tongue street taco from a bodega in Aiken called 3 Caminos. Before you shirk a tongue taco, go try it. The meat is tender, deftly seasoned and similar in texture to brisket. The chorizo taco at 3 Caminos is resplendent too; both are simply dressed with chopped cilantro and onion and a wedge of lime, atop a foil covered paper plate. These are Mexico City style tacos so if you’re weary of the avalanche of fusion tacos happening these days, then drive immediately to 3 Caminos.You May Also Be Interested In:
Aiken is a darling town to idle away a weekend and this bodega is a quick four minute drive from the heart of downtown in a nondescript, but clean convenience store. The kitchen hums along breaking down whole vegetables and meats, the salsa bar alone is a dream to behold nestled on a fresh bed of ice (the avocado sauce reigns at an ideal spice level; you’ll seriously want to drink it from a cup).
Where else do I taco? Here’s my list.
Beef Tongue Taco at 3 Caminos (Aiken, SC)2460 Wagener Road This is no ordinary street taco. Perfectly braised beef is topped with chopped cilantro and onion on a nimble corn tortilla. Top it with slivered radish and spicy avo sauce and celebrate the fiesta in your mouth.
Support Group Taco at Taco Billy (Asheville, NC)201 Haywood RoadA truly satisfying vegan taco exists. Cumin roasted sweet potatoes, avo, spinach, pumpkin seeds and coconut crema sit atop pecan and black bean hummus on a perfectly pliable tortilla, made from plantain flour.
Southern Tide Taco at Willy Taco Feed & Seed (Greenville, SC)217 Laurens RoadThis zero waste restaurant turns out a deliciously twisted taco. Crispy shrimp and chopped applewood bacon gets all ooey gooey with housemade pimento cheese, shaved lettuce, chipotle ranch crema and fresh pico.
Pato Koreano Taco at Never Blue (Hendersonville, NC)119 South Main StreetDon’t be surprised by the globally influenced menu at Never Blue. Korean bbq duck is combined with pickled carrot, cucumber and a sweet/savory yuzu soy gastrique that’s mind-bending.
Puffy Loco Taco at Kicker's (Greenwood, SC)301 Edgefield StreetA flour tortilla is dropped into the fryer upon order until it puffs, then is filled with chopped grilled chicken, spiced chutney, pimento cheese, lettuce and ranchero sauce rendering it addictively good.