Guest post: ‘Taste Master’ Rich Keam on Mexican street food in Brighton

Rich Keam Taste Master

It seems the sun has finally got its hat on. About time too. And what better way to enjoy the warm rays than by eating some delicious street food in the sun? Well, you could go one better and enjoy it near the beach…

Glorious Brighton is just  an hour away from the city by train, so is well within handy reach for Londoners to pop down and grab a bite. Brighton resident and strEAT reader Rich Keam asked if he could do a guest post about his recent brush with street food in the seaside town as part of his campaign to land the ‘Best Job in the World’ (more info at the bottom of the post), and we were more than happy to oblige. The weather may not have been too kind to him on this occasion, but here’s what he had to say…

La Choza

La Choza is Brighton’s first authentic Mexican Street Food joint nestled in the heart of the North Lanes. I’d heard a lot of good things about these guys and their fresh calamari with lime and chipotle mayo, so decided that today was the day to go say Hola.

I visited on a chilly Friday lunchtime, and was pleased and disappointed in equal measure to see a large queue had formed, eagerly waiting in hungry anticipation. Whilst I waited I chatted with Mark, an office worker who regularly lunches out here. He told me he deliberately forgets the sandwiches his girlfriend makes him, so he has an excuse to eat the nachos with pit smoked pulled pork!

At La Choza you can have it ‘to go’ or take a seat indoors, with some great Mexican music playing which creates a real buzz about the place. Although it’s grey and starting to drizzle outside, I really feel like I’m on holiday.

The menu offers a range of tacos, burritos, tostadas and quesadillas, all with your choice of pulled pork, homemade chorizo, shredded chicken (which I was happy to see was free range), Mexican beef, freshly caught battered fish, chilli prawns or spiced seasonal squash. The ordering works in 3 stages, first your base, then filling, then your salsa. I went for the burrito with refried beans, green rice, cheese and sour cream, with the slow cooked beef filling. Although people generally think of Street Food as fast food, sometimes it’s hardly the case. Many of these dishes are in fact “slow cooked”. Meats are braised and stewed over time to create complex flavours.

Margarita while you wait…

I chose to top my burrito with the hot haberno salsa and ordered a frozen margarita whilst I waited. My lunch shortly arrived and I was not disappointed. A huge burrito staring up at me from the plate, oozing with a meaty/cheesy/beany filling, willing me, nay begging me, to pick it up with both hands and eat it like a wild animal.

Image courtesy of trip

Image courtesy of trip

I duly obliged. And it was delicious. The meat succulent and soft and moist, falling apart with every mouthful, and the salsa hot enough, but not too much to make you wish you hadn’t been so brave. I was enjoying the food and atmosphere so much that I ordered another margarita and gave up on my plans for the rest of the afternoon.

La Choza is a hidden gem, well worth a second visit. With it’s great food, fantastic ambience and big smiles, they’ve definitely recreated the feel and amazing tastes that you’d find in traditional taco shacks all over Mexico.

Just don’t plan anything for after your meal. Except a siesta.

Rich Keam is in the final 25 out of 600,000 entrants for a job as Taste Master of Western Australia in Tourism Australia’s “Best Jobs In The World” competition. To promote his campaign he’s released the amazing single “Adventures of a Taste Master” available on iTunes for 79p with all proceeds going to the Trussell Trust Food Charity.

Follow and read all about his campaign here:

Main image courtesy of Rich Keam