South L.A.'s African-American Taco Stands Are The Focus Of This New Documentary
First We Feast, a food blog under the Complex magazine umbrella, has spun its documentary Hometown Hero into a six-part food-travel series called Food Grails. And where do you start a food series "using hyperregional urban foods as a lens into the cities they represent"? In Los Angeles, of course—South Los Angeles, to be more specific.
Episode one, which debuted on Wednesday, shines a light on the African-American taco movement right here in the City of Angels. The short documentary highlights three taco purveyors in particular: All Flavor No Grease in Watts, Taco Mell in Leimert Park, and the mobile Trap Kitchen.
"Places that have traditionally, for generations, been African-American are now African-American/Latino," Los Angeles Time food critic Jonathan Gold explains in the video. "And, at some point, it makes that they're going to start to be curious about each other's foods."
Gold's commentary joins that of several other local food scene heavy-hitters, including Los Angeles magazine's Bill Esparza (noted in the video as a "taco scholar").
"The fact that there's a movement going on in South Los Angeles, and the fact that it doesn't necessarily have the piercing eye of the nation's media on it, may be a good thing," Gold later adds. "It can develop. It can develop its own tropes, it can develop its own story."
The video gives a good mix of historical context and emerging culture, and allows for each chef to tell their own story. Check out the video above for the full episode.