Of the countless regional corn masa snacks called antojitos hand-patted throughout Mexico, the tlacoyo is one of the dozen or so that has made its way to the North.
Tlacoyos are often confused with the huarache–a sandal-shaped street snack with a seam of beans inside. The former is simpler and more austere, served with just a splash of salsa, a sprinkle of raw onion, and chopped, grilled cactus nopales, as opposed to the pile of chopped and fried meats, cheeses, lettuce, and salsas that coats the huarache. There’s also the matter of shape: Huaraches are always shaped like shoes, but tlacoyos can be formed into ovals, triangles, rectangles, and crescents. Into that base goes whatever legumes are in season, be they mashed garbanzos, creamy favas, or, perhaps most commonly in NYC, a purple paste of ayocote beans.
So where do you find the tlacoyo in the city? Head to the Tacos Morelos cart on Avenue A at Second Street, which serves a satisfactory version ($2.50) despite being better known for offering meat-heavy fare to sturdy the late-night East Village revelers. While the cart won’t form your tlacoyo to order, it will reheat the snack on the plancha so the deck of masa crisps around the edges and the insides steam to a dense pudding. Drenched in both red and green salsas, with a broad swath of crema poured down the middle, it looks like an edible homage to the Mexican flag.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 3, 2013