‘Narco-tacos’: US Manifestation of Spreading Narcoculture

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A Los Angeles restaurant has launched a line of drug lord themed Mexican food in the latest example of how narcoculture, like Latin American organized crime, is taking root north of the border.

Customers at Los Desvelados restaurant can now select “El Chapito Guzmán” and “Fuga” (Escape) tacos, named for the world’s most infamous drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, who escaped from prison in July 2015 and was recaptured in January this year, reported EFE.

Also on offer are Pablo Escobar burritos and Reina del Pacífico (Queen of the Pacific) quesadillas, inspired by storied Mexican drug trafficker Sandra Ávila Beltrán.

The restaurant’s décor is also drug trade themed, with tables covered in images of El Chapo, his Sinaloa Cartel partner Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada and Pablo Escobar as well as fictional drug traffickers from movies such as Scarface.

“We wanted to do something new, something different and as you have narcocorridos [folk music inspired by drug traffickers] so now we are going to have ‘narco-tacos,'” restaurant owner Fabricio Ramírez told EFE.

Customers who admire the drug lords have flocked to the restaurant and its organized crime theme has been a raging success, according to the owner, who said in the space of just three months he has increased the number of staff from 6 to 22.

InSight Crime Analysis

“Narco-tacos” are just the latest example of businesses cashing in on the spread of narcoculture into the United States. In Mexico and other parts of Latin America, narcoculture is strongly associated with music, such as narcocorridos, TV shows about crime lords and even its own saint. However, over the border, narcoculture has received a typically American commercial twist by sharp entrepreneurs who realize that the infamy of drug lords can be a highly marketable asset.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of narcoculture

Other recent examples include El Chapo Guzman Halloween costumes and sales of blue shirts imitating the shirt worn by El Chapo when he was interviewed by Hollywood movie star Sean Penn.

In its migration north, narcoculture is following the same route as the organized crime it glorifies. The influence of Latin American organized crime, especially among the US Hispanic population, can be seen not only through the cultural popularity of Latin drug lords but also in more serious manifestations such as the strong presence of Latin street gangs, a fact recently reinforced by the capture of over 50 members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) in Boston.

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