Did Bali need a taquería? No. It needed many taquería. This is the story of Taco Local, the heroic restaurant that saved Bali from a bleak, taco-free existence.
When the news began filtering in that Taco Local was closing its Petitenget temple of Tex-Mex goodness, the reaction was not unlike another most ominous of premonitions: “I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.”
Had we lost Taco Local? If so, how were we supposed to carry on? …And then they reopened in a new space within shouting distance of their old space a month later. As if waking from a bad dream, we put on the necessary amount of clothes and headed out to obtain metric tonnage of tacos, certain that this time we would never take Taco Local for granted again.
There was a time, not so long ago, when getting a taco in Indonesia was a hunt for something mythical, like happiness or a unicorn. While there have always been a few Mexican restaurants in Jakarta and Bali, Al Pastor-enthusiasts generally had the option of a limp and horrific imitation or fine-ish dining that would admirably fill stomachs and totally empty wallets.
Taco Local changed that.
Sebastian Subakti — Jakartan-born-and-bred, educated in the wilds of Houston, Texas, and apprenticed under the watchful eyes of authoritative Australians chefs — was determined to bring the spirit of street-level Mexican dining to his homeland. From a humble grill in an even humbler space began emerging The Real Thing: fresh made tortillas piled with carne and al pastor, pollo and — no kidding — lengua. If you were under the impression that being thousands of miles away from the sainted shores of Jalisco was going to keep you from enjoying the particular magic of fresh chopped cilantro, diced onions and marinated chicken, your every prayer had been answered.
The menu has since expanded, but in all the right directions: tortas (Mexico’s awe-inspiring answer to the sandwich) and burritos can be found and are suitably fantastic, and anyone who can turn down a large plate of ingredient-laden nachos and a cold Corona either hates joy or food or both.
Taco Local Bali
Jl. Petitenget, No.12A, Bali. Phone: (0361)7979900,
Jl. Uluwatu, No. 3, Bali.
With the Qraved App for iOS and Android, every Tuesday can be Taco Tuesday. Or every Wednesday. Really, you can have tacos whenever you want.