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The news site of UNC Wilmington

The Seahawk

The news site of UNC Wilmington

The Seahawk

The news site of UNC Wilmington

The Seahawk

REVIEW: Chingon Taqueria opens in Wilmington

Inside Chingon Taqueria. (Samantha Hill/The Seahawk)

After a long day of classes, I laid in bed mindlessly scrolling through my Instagram until I stumbled upon a reel that caught my eye. The video gave a peek into a new restaurant, which showed bold and colorful graffiti style decorations. The atmosphere drew me into trying this new place.

Chingon Taqueria opened in Dec. 2023 and is located at 4712 New Centre Drive in Wilmington, N.C. This is the second location for Chingon Taqueria as the first one is located in Leland, N.C.

Walking up to the restaurant, I could hear the mariachi style music playing through the speakers. As I entered the restaurant, it was filled with natural light and bright decorations that created a happy, uplifting mood. Stickers were placed on every single inch of the walls along with bright yellow accent paint. There was plenty of seating available and it was not busy during lunchtime rush hours.

As I walked to the menu, I was surprised by the variety of options that customers can choose from. Chingon Taqueria offers classic dishes, tacos, quesadilla, tortas, nachos, burritos and more. Taken away by the many options I settled on the classics— a taco and nachos.

The service at the restaurant was friendly and fast. By the time I sat down, a plate of complimentary chips and salsa had arrived on a metal tray lined with parchment paper. The chips were coated in a red powder seasoning that had a salty, smokey and spicy taste to it which paired well with the light, crispy chips. The salsa was fresh with hints of cilantro and onion. With the light flavors from the salsa, there was a small creep of heat that appeared after a bite or two.

After just trying a few bites of the chips and salsa, a server brought out my two dishes that I ordered. The fiesta nachos screamed ‘fiesta’ on the plate. A large, round green plate was filled to the edge with chips and toppings. Not a single plain tortilla chip was in sight. I was shocked at how large the nachos were. The pile of shredded lettuce, sour cream, cheese, tomatoes, onion, ground beef, queso and chips were inviting me in to devour this dish.

The Fiesta Nachos and Carne Asada Taco at Chingon Taqueria. (Samantha Hill/The Seahawk)

Be sure to have plenty of napkins and a fork because it is about to get messy with these nachos. Each chip on the pile was covered in creamy, liquid gold – queso. The queso was smooth but full of flavor, like chipotle spice. I was surprised to taste the queso on the nachos as it had a unique flavor of its own. The queso paired the ground beef perfectly with the fresh light toppings of the nachos. Each chip had its own toppings on it making it the perfect nachos. It was hard to not keep devouring the dish as I had to leave room for my taco.

The second item that I ordered was the carne asada taco. I was shocked when I first saw the taco, it was naked. It was a corn tortilla with steak laying on top of it. One unique feature about Chingo Taqueria is the salsa and topping bar that is available to customers. I found this interesting as this created a more dynamic way to eat the dishes. I topped my taco with lettuce, onions, tomatoes, cilantro and cheese.

A closeup of the Carne Asada Taco. (Samantha Hill/The Seahawk)

After wrapping up my taco to get ready to eat, I took the first bite. I was underwhelmed by the lack of flavor to my tastebuds. The steak was dry and lacked flavor. The corn tortilla was chewy, making it hard to eat the dry steak and corn tortilla together. I had to rely on salsa to add flavor and moisture back into the taco.

While the taco was underwhelming for the taste and price, it does not discredit the nachos and other items that are on the menu. Chingon Taqueria restaurant is a place to check out if you are craving a large plate of nachos.

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