Gorditas Universal

Gorditas Universal

Gorditas Universal serves vegetarian Mexican fare five nights a week.

Food trucks have developed over the past couple of years into a way for entrepreneurs to bring specialty foods to a wide audience on a modest budget. In the south bay we have regular visits from food trucks that provide premium ice cream with karaoke, upscale cupcakes, fresh-from-the docks seafood, and bul-go-gi burritos (see our earlier article). Gorditas Universal has been providing a unique cuisine option for years, but managed to miss out on the spotlight that’s been put on the trucks you see at events like Zer01 and Left Coast Live.

Partly, their low profile may be because they don’t travel to trendy events. Instead, Wednesday through Sunday evenings, from late afternoon until the wee hours of the morning (or when the food runs out), you’ll find Gorditas Universal set up at the corner of East Julian and North 26th Streets, in the parking lot of the Shan corner market.

Gorditas cooking in the fryer

The truck serves simple Mexican taqueria or snack food including tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and enchiladas. As the name suggests, the specialty is gorditas, or little fatties. These are small masa cakes, deep-fried to a golden color, then cut open and stuffed with various tasty choices, cabbage, and cheese. Fillings include carne asada, barbacoa, and three different preparations of chicken.

The twist is that all of these choices are completely vegetarian, although many of the customers don’t seem to notice the difference from the usual taqueria fare. Flavorful sauces and fresh roasted chiles mixed in with the “meat” make the food delicious even for people who normally wouldn’t touch a piece of tofu, seitan, or wheat gluten with a long stick. Potato, refried bean, and mushroom fillings are also an option for those who want their vegetarian food to actually look vegetarian.

The atmosphere is very friendly: with just a few tables set out under the tarpaulins, you’ll usually find yourself sharing a table and making new friends. Chips, salsa, and roasted peppers are set out on the table for snacking while you wait for your food. Prices are very affordable, with gorditas at $1 each, or $10 for a dozen (which you’ll need a couple of friends to help you finish).

If you’re looking for a quick late-night snack, or trying to find a dining choice where vegetarians and non-vegetarians will find something flavorful and delicious, or just want some inexpensive but tasty Mexican food, check out Gorditas Universal.

2 Comments so far

  1. Cynthia Corral (pischina) on December 4th, 2010 @ 11:49 am

    This post is making me SO HUNGRY. I’m going to have to make a special trip just to pick up a dozen to eat at home!

  2. Matt Bruensteiner (thephoton) on December 4th, 2010 @ 4:48 pm

    Don’t let their bite-sized looks fool you. You will need friends on hand to be able to eat a dozen of those gorditas.

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