We first published this story a few years ago, in honour of Tacofino’s third Vancouver location opening in Yaletown. Back then, we asked chef de cuisine Trevor Backus to break down the five most important elements of a good burrito. While some of Tacofino’s locations remain closed due to COVID, others, including the Yaletown burrito bar, are open for takeout and Ocho in Mount Pleasant is now open for dine-in service as well.
Burritos are meant to be an enjoyable and easy (and some would say messy) food, so don’t be afraid to have fun and experiment with flavours when building your own. When you’ve got your burrito loaded with these five essentials, fold the sides of your tortilla into the very centre, then roll tight!
Rice and beans—the base of a traditional burrito. Plain rice and beans seasoned with salt will do, but up the flavour of your starch components by cooking with onions, garlic, and your favourite herbs.
Whether it’s pulled pork, chicken, steak, beef barbacoa (pulled beef), or fried fish, you want the meat of your burrito to be seasoned well. I recommend marinating your meat the day before and then cooking it low and slow to let the flavours soak in. If you’re looking for a vegetarian alternative, you can use sautéed vegetables like bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, or cauliflower.
When choosing your sauce, you want to use flavours that will complement with your protein. While sour cream and guacamole play well with most burritos, don’t be afraid to get adventurous with flavours such as chipotle, tamarind, or even fish sauce. Remember, lots of sauce is a good thing! If you’re not eating your burrito with three to four napkins, you’re doing it wrong.
Chopped lettuce, cabbage, or green onions will add freshness and texture to your burrito. When you’ve got all your ingredients piled high, top everything off with a few fresh sprigs of cilantro—lengthwise so that you get a bit with each bite.
Sliced, fresh jalapeño peppers are a great finishing touch to add heat to your burrito. If jalapeños pack too much spice for your liking, substitute them for your favourite hot sauce.
Pair with warm tortilla chips, a cold beer, or a salty margarita. Repeat again and again.
This story from our archives was originally published on August 5, 2016. Read more Vancouver culinary tips in Food and Drink.