Keep on Trucking

The tacos at this Bellaire Boulevard taquería might remind you of the ones you get from a taco truck.

When my tedious task was complete and the soup was cool enough to eat, my tablemate stole the bowl and helped herself to a generous portion. "You know, this is really good soup," she smiled as she ate a big bite of shrimp, dunking one of the corn tortillas in the broth. Eventually I got the bowl back, and I had to agree. It was a lovely, if labor-intensive, meal.

The signature item at Tacos La Bala isn't a taco. It's the "original torta de la barda" of Tampico. Legend has it the sandwich was created for Tampico's dockworkers around 1950 by a man named José María Bracamontes. Bracomontes's sandwich stand was located by the fence that marked the legal barrier (barda) of the port authority dock area.

The original recipe for the hearty sandwich includes carne deshebrada (shredded beef), freshly fried chorizo, chicharrones in chile verde sauce, thin-sliced ham, headcheese, American cheese, Mexican cheese, refried black beans, lettuce, tomato, and avocado on a French bread roll.

The tacos are much cheaper here than across the street at Pico's Mex-Mex.
Robb Walsh
The tacos are much cheaper here than across the street at Pico's Mex-Mex.

Location Info


Taco's La Bala #2

5800 Bellaire Blvd.
Houston, TX 77081

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Outer Loop - SW


Hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Breakfast tacos: $1.35

Tongue taco: $1.75

Chicken burrito: $3.95

Torta de la barda: $4.50

Shrimp soup: $8

5800 Bellaire Blvd., 713-839-8226.

Several Houston taco trucks, including La Jaiba on Bellaire, specialize in Tampico's famous sandwich. But the version at Tacos La Bala is truly exceptional. It's an authentic Mexican dish with a long and colorful history, and at $4.50, it's one that we can all afford.

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