Taco Trucks as Cross-Cultural Spaces

I was reading the L.A. Times editorial about new estrictions on Taco Trucks in the L.A. area and was thinking about why I prefer taco trucks over full service Mexican restaurants. Apart form the more intimate connection between the cook and customer, I enjoy the conversations around the taco truck. I meet all kinds of people that I would have never met before. I like the quote” the crowd around a taco truck is the closest thing we have to a unified Los Angeles soul.” In thinking about my new favorite taco truck in Pullman, WA it is the only place where I see so many Latino families in one location waiting for their orders and speaking Spanish. It is rare to find a public space in Pullmania where Spanish is flowing so freely. But if you look closer it is not just Latinos who visit the taco trucks, people from different nationalities love Mexican food but also enjoy the “taco truck experience.” I would argue that Taco trucks are important cross-cultural spaces where Latinos and non-Latinos meet, talk and build community ties. The reality is the “taco truck experience” is a contested space. Restaurant owners, neighbors, law enforcement and city officials view the taco trucks as an economic and community threat, but customers and supporters need to advocate on their behalf. Ironically it often Latino retaurant owners and politicians who are supporting these strict regulations and heavy fines. O.k. now I’m hungry and ready for another taco truck experience.

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