In recent years, it has become easier and easier to locate authentic, inexpensive and delicious eats at taquerias, noodle shops and food trucks in Shreveport and Bossier City. Add one more fantastic taqueria to the growing list: El Bazar Mexicano #2, a small taqueria in Southwest Shreveport, deserves to be considered among the very best eateries of its kind in the city.
The menu at El Bazar Mexicano #2 is a big part of its appeal. There are lots of dishes here that don’t pop up often in Shreveport-Bossier: pancake-sized, cheese and pork-filled pupusas served with a pickled cabbage slaw called curtido; a Cali-Mex take on loaded fries called carne asada fries; a really interesting street food snack made of sweet corn, queso fresco, lime juice and spices called elotes; and crispy, piping hot corn cakes called sopes that are topped with crisp lettuce, refried beans, queso fresco and marinated pork.
Just as much as the food, El Bazar Mexicano #2 is a must-visit because of the owner and sometime cook, Julian Gutierrez, who is also known locally as DJ Gordo. If you’re looking at the menu board, Julian will probably offer to walk you through it. He’s also a graphic designer, he’ll tell you, and he designed the animated menu screens. Those screens look more like something from a multimillion dollar chain than a 6-table taqueria in West Shreveport.
If you wonder aloud about the carne asada fries, he’ll explain why they’re on the menu (“Californians have a huge influence on Shreveport, since back in the 80’s when the GM plant brought them here.”) and if you ask about the pupusas, you may get a lesson on local demographics (“After Mexicans, our second-largest population of Hispanics in Shreveport is Guatemalans and Hondurans, and they love pupusas con curtido.”). As you eat, Gutierrez will likely check in on you, willing to talk shop about their house salsas, pan dulces or why Mexican Coca-Cola tastes better.
But back to the food. It’s hard not to love pupusas – little grilled corn flour cakes stuffed with ingredients like cheese and pork – but the pupusas from El Bazar Mexicano #2 are the best I’ve ever eaten. Only about a quarter-inch thick, they come off of the griddle piping hot with crispy edges. The pickled cabbage slaw that they’re served with has a cooling effect on the hot cheese or pork.
If you enjoy taqueria fare and don’t mind dining in the middle of a small convenience store, El Bazar Mexicano #2 is a must-visit.
Author’s Note: All photos in this post and the associated image gallery are used courtesy of Shannon Palmer Art.