Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Al’s Tacos a SoCal favourite freshly made from scratch in Cambodia

Al’s Tacos a SoCal favourite freshly made from scratch in Cambodia

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
At Al’s Tacos, each taco is served with cheese, salsa, green onions, cilantro and chipotle sour cream, and topped with red cabbage, green onions and cilantro, and powered by either creamy sriracha or peanut sauce. Hong Menea

Al’s Tacos a SoCal favourite freshly made from scratch in Cambodia

Al's Tacos, the popular blue and yellow colour-schemed eatery on Boeung Keng Kang 1’s Street 278, serves as a beacon calling passersby to drop in for a taste of SoCal – Southern California.

Everything there is not only made from scratch, but the Mexican street food favourite served is a product of love – from the pico de gallo to the floury corn tortillas – by the joint’s Cambodian-American owner Allen Dodgson Tan.

Tan’s father left Cambodia for California in 1980, and it was in Southern California that Tan tasted his first taco. He eventually enrolled in culinary school before joining the US Army, serving tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“When I came to Cambodia, I worked in demining with the Cambodian Mine Action Centre. I then started the business.”

However, despite Tan’s history of serving others, he explains that the origins of Al’s Tacos were partly selfish – he desperately missed the familiar flavours he grew up with and they weren’t readily available in Phnom Penh.

“I started Al’s Taco because I missed eating tacos from Long Beach in Southern California . . . I thought the flavours would be popular among Cambodians too, so I opened the restaurant.

“I not only wanted to eat tacos myself, but I also wanted to share the experience with people here in Cambodia, who I knew were going to like it too,” Tan says.

Diners can expect Al’s Tacos to deliver local and chemical-free ingredients mostly sourced from Cambodian farmers.

“We make everything from scratch, so we fully control the process, and we’re setting the bar for original Cambodian brands to match our international standards in terms of service, quality and hygiene.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Around 75 per cent of patrons are locals at the popular blue and yellow colour-schemed eatery. Al’s Tacos sells more than 4,000 tacos a month. Hong Menea

“We’re incredibly proud that we make what we consider to be the best tortillas from raw corn in Southeast Asia, which is a really big deal – and the flavour is phenomenal. It’s very authentic, very delicious.

“We do use imported Mexican spices in our spice blend for the SoCal dishes because we want to offer a new experience to our Cambodian customers,” Tan explains.

The simple menu is understood with a cursory glance, with each taco costing $1.50 a pop.

Diners begin by deciding between soft shell or hard shell corn tortillas. Next they choose one of six flavour options.

Three of the flavours are designed to meet Asian taste buds – Korean beef, chicken satay and tofu satay.

The other three varieties are authentically SoCal – shredded beef, shredded chicken and shredded tofu.

Each taco is served with cheese, salsa, green onions, cilantro and chipotle sour cream, and topped with red cabbage, green onions and cilantro, and powered by either creamy sriracha or peanut sauce.

Besides the Mexican street food favourite, Al’s Tacos also serves nachos ($3) and corn chips ($1).

Tan came up with the concept of delicious street food with a combination of SoCal and Mexican flavours and Khmer-inspired tacos, with the idea proving a hit.

Al’s Tacos sells more than 4,000 tacos a month, and around 75 per cent of its patrons are locals.

Tan is planning to add new items to the menu very soon.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

“I think one of the best things about Al’s Tacos is the ability to bring both authentic and fusion flavours, which are created to cater to local tastes as well. So we’re able to share something new for the local market while still maintaining the flavour balance.

“We’re planning to add seasonal and holiday promotional items and new permanent menu items. Our food team is focusing on it right now,” Tan says.

The first Al’s Tacos in Tuol Kork made a name for itself by serving quick, affordable snacks before quickly opening a second eatery a year later in Boeung Keng Kang I.

A third should be delighting local diners soon.

“We’re in the process of preparing for franchising so other entrepreneurs can share in our success by opening up branches in locations across Cambodia, not just here in Phnom Penh.

“When you try our tacos for the first time, you will begin craving them afterwards. A lot of Cambodians tried tacos for the first time with us and they’ve discovered that they love them – and they keep coming back for more,” Tan says.

Al’s Tacos has two branches and opens every day from 9:30am to 9pm. The Tuol Kork branch is located at #97C Street 590. Tel: 081 822 262. The BKK1 branch is found at #22A Street 278. Tel: 081 822 652. More information can be found at www.alstacos.com. Reservations are not necessary.


  • First deportees of the year touch down in Cambodia

    Twenty-five Cambodian-Americans landed in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, marking the first such deportations of the year. “On Wednesday, US law enforcement authorities deported 25 Cambodian nationals that immigration judges determined had no legal basis to remain in the US,” said Arend Zwartjes, spokesperson for the US

  • Qatar Airways to connect Doha and Siem Reap town

    Qatar Airways Company QCSC has announced a new route connecting Qatar’s capital Doha with Siem Reap, a move hailed by local officials as a significant step to boost tourist numbers. A Qatar Airways representative, speaking at the Kuwait Aviation Show, announced on Thursday that

  • Sokha defence denies Tech’s claims

    ON DAY two of Kem Sokha’s treason trial, lawyers for the government said the defence had raised questions in an attempt to allow their client to make a public statement and a conclusion to the case, something his legal team denied. Ky Tech, a

  • Cambodian general visits Myanmar to enhance national defence cooperation

    Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) commander-in-chief Vong Pisen is now in Myanmar leading a delegation that aims to improve ties, particularly in national defence, with the fellow Asean member. The timing of Pisen’s four-day visit to the Southeast Asian neighbour is highly symbolic, with

  • Call for boycott of Angkor unacceptable

    Dear Editor, I wish to express my strong disagreement on the article published by Traveller for their website with the title Best places to go in 2020: 12 destinations you should avoid. Below is my opinion of the article. It is obviously free for the Traveller to

  • Probe underway after wreckage of drone with Chinese characters found

    Air Force Command spokesman Prak Sokha said on Sunday that investigations are underway regarding the wreckage of a drone that was recovered in Koh Kong province’s Koh Sdech commune in Kiri Sakor district. The wreckage has been taken to the capital for further examination,