3 Authentic Mexican Restaurants in Southeast Asia

Mexican food

My love for Mexican food cannot be understated. I grew up on the stuff–tacos, burritos and enchiladas are a staple of life in California, and besides my family, it is what I miss the most about being far from home. Living in Asia does not often afford me the taste of authentic Mexican food that I constantly crave, and most of the time I have to make do with simply dousing rice, eggs and pizza in Tapatio, the Mexican hot sauce that I brought from home.

But occasionally the stars align and my path crosses that of a Mexican restaurant where the guacamole is made from fresh avocados, the sour cream isn’t just runny yogurt and the salsa is spicy enough to bring back childhood memories. I have been fortunate in the past three months in Southeast Asia to have visited three of these treasured establishments.

Sala Mexicali

1. Sala Mexicali, Rawai Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Steve and I searched high and low and even suffered a traffic ticket in our (my) manic desperation to find Sala Mexicali. I had read great reviews about this little Phuket gem, and they were truly well-deserved. The ambiance here is colorful and fun, but let’s face it, I would eat a burrito in a cardboard box if it was fresh and authentic!

We ordered the chips and guacamole to start. The overflowing bowl of fresh tortilla chips came out piping hot. They were a mix of corn and flour tortilla chips which added a fun twist, as the flour chips were slightly chewy, but still made an excellent utensil with which to scoop the guacamole. Chunks of avocado and tomato mixed with a dash of garlic, salt and salsa easily made this guacamole the best I’ve had since I’ve left California.

For the main course, I ordered vegetable chimichangas and Steve had chicken and beef enchiladas (he couldn’t decide, so ordered one of each). The chimichangas were fried to perfection giving them a crispy/chewy texture. Filled with a mixture of spicy black beans, yellow bell peppers, corn and cheese, and topped with thick sour cream, I immediately voted Sala Mexicali the best Mexican food in Thailand. The enchiladas were just as amazing and were accompanied by a scoop of perfect Mexican rice. Needless to say, we gorged.

Directional tip: Sala Mexicali is tucked away behind a grove of trees, but the sign on the road is fairly visible. From the Chalong Circle roundabout, head towards Rawai Beach. Drive less than a quarter mile and Sala Mexicali will be on your right.

Coyote Mexican Restaurant

2. Coyote Mexican Restaurant, Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Located on the raucous Patong Beach, Coyote Mexican Restaurant feels like a mainstream Mexican chain, decorated with sombreros and Mexican inspired art. The food, though not spectacular, is more than adequate for a California girl craving an enchilada. Everything we ordered was scrumptious, particularly the nachos topped with black beans, gobs of cheese, jalepenos, tomatoes, sour cream, guacamole and salsa. A bit pricey at nearly $10 (more if you want meat), but that didn’t stop us from ordering them two days in a row.

Viva

3. Viva Mexican Restaurant, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Viva claims to be the “Best Mexican Food in Asia,” and I for one don’t think it’s too lofty a statement. This place was our staple restaurant in Siem Reap, and I’m only slightly embarrassed to say that we ate there every day for a week. Not really though, because it was so good we were loath to try anything else! Even Steve is now a Mexican food addict. His favorite item at Viva? The steak enchiladas. Mine? The veggie Mexican pizza topped with cheese, rice, pinto beans, lettuce, salsa and sour cream. Divinity on a plate. We had our fair share of the nachos as well, salty, cheesy and topped with pinto beans and jalepenos. Paired with the $.50 beer, we couldn’t lose.

Located downtown, near Pub Street–you can’t miss the bright orange building.

Check out my latest favorite Mexican restaurant, Taco Casa, in Ubud, Bali! 

Where is your favorite Mexican restaurant? I’d love to know so I can be sure to taste it on my travels! 

Photos courtesy of tripadvisor.com and Leslie Patrick

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One response to “3 Authentic Mexican Restaurants in Southeast Asia

  1. Pingback: Taco Heaven Found in Ubud, Bali | Chic Adventurer·

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