Aug 29, 2012

Re-Review: El Pollo Loco's Crunchy Chicken Taco

I decided to re-review El Pollo Loco's Crunchy Chicken Taco since they've made it bigger, but also a little more expensive. They've re-tuned it a little bit as it no longer contains a blend of cheddar and jack cheese, but just plain jack to go with shredded lettuce and pieces of flame-grilled chicken.
They're now $1.99, up from $1.69 when they first came out in 2007, which is not bad if you consider inflation and rising food costs.

I last wrote about these in 2009 when they when they were a bit smaller and cheaper and I realized I didn't write much about it at all so I'll remedy that now.

My local El Pollo Loco garners a good amount of business, so the turnover on chicken is pretty quick. As a result, the chicken is always juicy and usually hot off the grill. The chicken has a light, citrus flavor and is quite tasty off the bone, but finds itself a bit lessened in the confines of the taco shell against the lettuce and jack cheese. I could have used a bit more in the taco though.
The shell is thick, crunchy and a bit greasy. It can break at inopportune moments leaving you shoveling filling back into the taco.

The lettuce is fresh and the cheese has a nice moisture and creaminess.

Still, the overall effect is underwhelming without a bit of salsa from the salsa bar to liven it up. I've noticed this with quite a few El Pollo Loco dishes: they need the salsa. I tend to go with the spicy avocado salsa for a blend of spicy and creamy.

In sum, El Pollo Loco's Crunchy Chicken Taco is a decent buy that provides a very distinct profile of crunchiness, crispness, and tender chicken. There aren't any other fast food chains offering a crunchy chicken taco, except maybe Chipotle, but even Chipotle's version is a great deal different in flavors and textures.

Nutritional Info - El Pollo Loco Crunchy Chicken Taco (4.2 oz)
Calories - 300 (from Fat - 160)
Fat - 17g (Saturated Fat - 5g)
Sodium - 440mg
Carbs - 21g (Sugar - 1g)
Protein - 14g


  1. I don't know if it's just me, but I can barely see any chicken in there. For $2 a pop I'd expect way more than that (especially after looking at the picture of it on there website).

    I've always wanted to try out El Pollo Loco, but I've never seen anything that looked appealing enough to make me go. Every location in town is probably at least 30 minutes away, so it'd have to be something that looked really good to justify going out to one of them.

  2. I love these tacos (although I have yet to try the upgraded one) but the local El Pollo Loco is always so packed which means a long wait o_O

  3. Depending upon the amount and type of flavorings, sauces, etc. used meat is often merely present for texture.

    Strongly flavored sauces can make it pert-near' impossible to actually taste the meat within a concoction.

    Meat prices are destined to rise for various reasons.

    And as world-wide demand for meat increases USA firms will assuredly send their vittles to wherever they get the highest price.

    Search for high-quality tuns and Japan to see but one example of products following the money.

    California almonds; the highest quality say bye-bye and jump into the container destined for foreign shores.

    Expect the not-distant future to offer vittles sellers in the USA to find meat substitutes where possible and increasing use of stronger flavored sauces, etc.

    Tacos, burritos etc. made with extra-flavorful sauces are prime candidate for meat substitutes.

    Assuredly the larger more capitalized firms are even now searching for and/or testing meat substitutes.

    Another prognostication by a pundit with uncanny accuracy in future predictions.


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