Crunchy tacos are one of fast food’s greatest snacks. They’re packed with flavor, small enough to add to any order, and cheap enough to stack if you want to make tacos your whole meal. Have you ever hit up a Jack in the Box or Taco Bell at the end of the night when you’ve got a few drinks under your belt or taken a few hits to the dome?
The experience is culinary perfection! But I’ve got a complaint: fast food crunchy tacos aren’t fun enough.
The typical build on these things is pretty standard: cheese, lettuce, meat, and sometimes a sauce. We have burgers with bacon and fried jalapeños, chicken sandwiches with honey and pimento, milkshakes with Oreos, and yet… the fast food taco is pretty standard stuff. Have some, fun fast food brands! Mix it up for the people! Luckily, fast food brands are starting to catch on, which is why we’ve been getting some weird alterations that move things in the right direction.
Right now, those tacos are Taco Bell’s Doritos Locos taco — which combines the mild spice and intense flavor of Doritos with the zesty flavors of a Taco Bell classic — and Jack in the Box’s new Angry Monster Taco — a spicy remix of its OG crispy taco. But which one deserves your time and money? We found out by putting both to the blind taste test to see which is better tasting. I would’ve loved to blind taste test Taco Bell’s Flamin’ Hot Doritos Locos taco to see which is the spiciest, but alas, like everything good on the Taco Bell menu, this was only available for a limited time.
Let’s hope the Doritos Locos has what it takes to compete with a spicy taco!
Given that this was a taste test that only involved two tacos, it was probably the simplest fast food blind taste test we’ve ever conducted. Jack in the Box and Taco Bell are both relatively close to one another in my neighborhood, so I was able to pick up both tacos and get back home in a matter of minutes. Next, I photographed each taco and had my girlfriend serve me one of each at random while I wore a blindfold.
Unlike most blind taste tests, where I only take a few bites, I decided to eat the entirety of both tacos — which really gave me an opportunity to sit with the flavors of each. Here are the results:
The Spicy Taco Taste Test:
Zesty and beefy with nutty cheese notes that help elevate the flavor with an umami finish that makes this simple taco come across as incredibly savory. There is a satisfying combination of flavors here, every element seems to complement one another. I’m not getting a lot of heat though, which has me thinking this is the Doritos Locos. But after a few bites, I did start to experience a mild warming on the palate.
My hunch says Taco Bell but we’ll see.
I’m not… getting a whole lot of flavor here. The meat is soft, almost more of a mush than something you can bite into, the lettuce provides some texture, the cheese tastes one dimensional (salty), and overall I’m getting more shell than anything else. At first bite, I was once again not getting any spice but a burn started to develop on the aftertaste and grew throughout the taco. My guess is that this is Jack in the Box because the spice is more at the forefront and from what I can tell that’s what’s “angry” about the Angry Monster Taco. Though, to be fair, someone also being angry about the fact that their meal isn’t very good is also conceivable.
The Spicy Taco Ranking
2. Jack in the Box — Angry Monster Taco (Taste 2)
Although I wasn’t 100% sure, I was right, Taste 2 is the Angry Monster Taco. The only thing this taco has going for it is the size (it’s incredibly long) and that spicy shell, everything else inside the taco is downright inedible. Again, these tacos are best enjoyed when you’re under the influence of something, so I wouldn’t write this taco off completely — there might be a situation where it hits the spot — but a sober mind and a palate will not be impressed.
I applaud Jack in the Box for mixing it up a bit, but until the ingredients of this taco are better, it’ll always be inessential.
The Bottom Line:
Get it if you’re drunk/high and curious, but there is absolutely no reason to get Jack in the Box’s Angry Monster Taco otherwise.
1. Taco Bell — Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos (Taste 1)
As far as I’m concerned, this taco has earned its permanent menu status. The Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos taco started as a gimmick and I’m totally convinced this taco was made by some stoner at the Taco Bell test kitchen who smoked a joint in the parking lot and thought “What if our taco was… a Dorito?” and then they made it happen. And unlike most gimmick foods, this totally f*cking works.
I don’t like it as much as the original Taco Bell taco, but I appreciate that Taco Bell is at least doing something out of the box. Now, please, Taco Bell, step it up and go really crazy — Why not a Dorito Locos taco fried in birria consommé, or bring back the Double Decker taco and smear some beans on the outside of the shell and wrap it inside a flour tortilla, or just, you know, bring back the Flamin’ Hot Doritos Locos taco.
Taco Bell is on the right path, they just need to get more experimental.
The Bottom Line:
Taco Bell wins this round no contest. Though it’s not exactly what we want it to be, at least the Doritos Locos taco is doing something to the average fast food crunchy taco build. We only hope they’ll do more.