The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Friday, 26 June 2009

Mexican @ Salsita, Tokyo

I must admit that I am not a big fan of Mexican food, or at least the ones I've tried before. Greasy flavours and overloaded with cheese, I consider them not much different than the junk fast food. The exception would be the Mexican food I had at New York's Pompano, but that was a fine dining kind of experience and you can't really compare it to the types of food that most would associate with Mexican cuisine - food that I consider as street food: enchiladas, tacos, and so on. Anyway, some time last year, Rob ate at Salsita with some of his colleagues, and he raved about it and reckoned I would like it. However, at that time, I was pregnant and the thought of having Mexican wasn't really that appealing - the greasy cheesy stuff would surely trigger morning sickness and indigestion. Last weekend, the opportunity came up to visit this Mexican restaurant because we happened to be in the area around lunch time. The reviews I read online seem to favour Salsita as the best place to have authentic Mexican food in Tokyo, so I was willing to quell my prejudices against this cuisine to give the restaurant a try.

After checking that the restaurant is okay with a baby, we were seated in the cool air-conditioned dining room, a wonderful respite from the warm mugginess outside. Staff were great and friendly, and the atmosphere was buzzing as the restaurant filled up with the Saturday lunch crowd. Zak was as chatty as an 8 month old baby can be but no one seemed bothered by his noises.

Rob ordered the Cochinita Pibil (1900yen), which is marinated pork slow-roasted in a banana leaf. It was served along with some flour tortillas, refried beans and corn chips, red onions and a spicy salsa. The salsa has quite a kick, and I think it was made with habanero chili. The pork was simply delicious, which we ate rolled up together with the accompaniments in the tortilla. The refried beans were so more-ish.

Conchinita Pibil, wrapped and unwrapped:

I considered getting the Mole Poblano Chicken, but decided against it because Rob already had this dish on his previous visit. I went instead for one of the 1000yen lunch specials, the Two sauces Enchiladas for which you could choose cheese or chicken filling, and included a salad and drink. My chicken enchiladas came with a green and red sauce, refried beans and corn chips, and rice. Both the sauces were made with chili but neither were particularly spicy - the green sauce was perhaps made with jalapeƱo, and the red one maybe with Guajillo (I do have a high tolerance for spicy food, so some may find them spicy). I preferred the green sauce whereas Rob liked the red one better, but I probably liked the green one better because there were more of it to eat with the rice.

The salad that came with the enchilada:

For dessert, we got the Tres Leches Cake ("three milk" cake, 500yen) which had slices of mango in it. It was delicious and light, a great way to finish the meal.

Tres Leches Cake with mangoes:

Rob was right - I do like the Mexican dishes at Salsita. I didn't find anything greasy or overly cheesy, and it's certainly a nice change from the Tex-Mex versions.


  1. Mexican Food
    Heheh, it's a little unfair to turn your nose up at Mexican food when most of your prior experience has been in Perth. In Perth all Mexican food is "the Good the Bad and the Ugly" inspired which is little more than a pub with a Mexican theme. Let's face it, every Mexican place we've been to outside Perth has been excellent. Remember Kanazawa as well?
    - Rob

  2. Re: Mexican Food
    Yeah, but in Japan, a lot of foreign food has been Japan-ised and I don't know if the one in KZ was a good measure of the Mexican cuisine. I'd been to a few different Mexican restaurants around in Perth - don't tell me they are all the same but with different names?

  3. Re: Mexican Food
    > I'd been to a few different Mexican restaurants around in Perth - don't tell me they are all the same but with different names?
    No, I just mean that before GBU there basically was no Mexican food in Perth, so GBU set the trend for what Perth people expect in Mexican food. It's like, you can't expect typical cheap Chinese food in Perth catering to non-Chinese people to be particularly authentic either.
    That said, I don't think either of us really know how Mexican food should taste even now; I just think that Perth Mexican food probably isn't a good thing to go by. So far I think every time we've eaten Mexican food outside Perth it's been delicious. I think that says more about Perth Mexican food than Mexican food in general.

  4. Re: Mexican Food
    Fair enough - you're the better authority on what's available in Perth (or the lack of) since you were born there.