It seems redundant to say that Dublin has a large variety of restaurants and food choices to offer for such a small city. Whether it be Thai, Indian, Italian or Sushi, every niche and taste seems to be catered for, except for one...
While researching this article, I was surprised by the number of my friends who have never eaten a taco. Some of them did not even know what a taco is! One Dublin couple have noticed this gap in the market and have decided to do something about it. Stephen Plenderleith and Stephanie Sheppard started Tacoman in September 2020 and their business has gone from strength to strength, despite the challenges of the Covid lockdown and Ireland's unpredictable weather.
For those of you who don't know, a taco is a traditional Mexican dish consisting of a small hand-sized corn or wheat tortilla topped with a filling. The tortilla is then folded around the filling and eaten by hand. A taco can be made with a variety of fillings, including beef, pork, chicken, seafood, beans, vegetables, and cheese, allowing for great versatility and variety. They are often garnished with various condiments, such as salsa, guacamole, or sour cream, and vegetables, such as lettuce, onion, tomatoes, and chiles. Tacos are a common form of antojitos, or Mexican street food, which have spread around the world.
Stephen worked in recruitment for a number of years but his real passion has always been food. He studied culinary arts in DIT and got the idea for Tacos while following trends in America. Stephanie came up with the name Tacoman. "The two of us decided, we'd go out, buy a trailer and make it funky and cool-looking and then hit the dublin market doing lunches. So we set up in September last year and it's been going very strong since then," says Stephen. "They're beautiful, tasty, trendy and kids love them!"
Stephen and Stephanie set up intially for 1 day a week but due to demand they now provide tacos 4 days a week. Despite tacos not being widely sold in Dublin, Stephen tells me that those who like them, really like them, and Tacoman already has a loyal base of customers who drive out of their way to visit them at lunchtime. Stephen and Stephanie are also very strict on freshness and keep their tacos as a curbside food service so that cutomers can see and smell the delicious tacos being made right in front of them, rather than having it delivered in a box.
Tacomen is also available for weddings and corporate occasions depending on location and the size of the group. Stephen says his service is ideal for office parties because it's all outdoors with a fun and friendly atmosphere, and healthy food.
"We make Irish tacos with mexican ingredients, the standard mexican taco would use a corn tortilla, we do flour tortillas or corn tortillas because we find the Irish market prefer the flour. We do beef which is sirloin steak and completely irish, we do chicken, and we do mixed bean which is our vegan option," he says.
Stephen tells me he gets asked on a daily basis what a taco is!! But he takes no offence and is delighted that many Irish people taste their very first taco at Tacoman!! You can find Tacoman on Thursdays at Mespil Road 11 -2pm, Friday at Sandyford (Ravens Rock Rd) 11 -2pm and Sunday at Decathlon, Ballymun 12 - 4pm.