SoCal vegan taquero wants his food to be 'culturally relevant, sensitive'

BOYLE HEIGHTS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Raul Medina's taco pop-up, Taqueria La Venganza, looks and smells like the taco stand around the corner late at night.

"Barbacoa-type that I've never eaten before," said Rogelio Barron with a thumbs-up as he bit his taco. "Tastes like barbacoa."

Medina, a Santa Ana native, was selling his version of barbacoa tacos Friday night at Mariachi Plaza during 'Veganos en East Los', a vegan food festival.

"It's a taco, it's a real taco de cabeza (beef head)," said Mayra Aceves.

Many of Medina's customers, some who waited about an hour for his tacos, claim his food is authentic as it should be.

"I grew up eating tripe tacos, suadero (beef), buche (hog maw), birria, head," said Medina. "You name it, I enjoyed it."

Now he's offering those nostalgic tacos using traditional ingredients, but vegan.

"It's about staying as culturally relevant as you can, being as culturally sensitive as you can," said Medina. "And not really offering something on the plate that wouldn't of been there on the first place."

Medina's vegan tacos won Taco Madness 2018 for having the best taco in Los Angeles.

"We went up against actually established meat tacos and we won."

This taquero's cooking skills were passed on to him by his grandmother when he was living with her in Mexico.

The taco stands name, Taqueria La Venganza (Vengeance), which is in honor of his father.

"My father had diabetes. I said 'had' because he passed away two years ago," said Medina. "Ever since then I basically just call it a vengeance on diabetes on heart disease."

Follow Medina on Instagram to find out when and where he's popping up: @thevegantaqueria
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