Searching for hard-to-find ingredients like cactus or tamarind? Trying to feed a family of four on a $20 bill? No worries! Although still undiscovered by most, Bend does have a handful of true-to-Mexico taco joints and three Latino markets. So whether you need pasilla peppers for posole, or a quick and delicious bite on the run, look no further than these friendly and authentic family-run establishments. No habla espanol? No problem.
Originally from Michoacon, Mexico, the Reyes family opened their doors to give Latin-born Bendites a true taste of home. Famous now for their handmade flour and corn tortillas, this easy-to-miss market has been right under our noses for nearly a decade. Tucked into the small strip mall on SW Division Street near Reed Market Rd., Tortilleria Reyes has evolved over the years into a bakery and restaurant as well.
Handmade breads and sweets are in a glass case at the back. And although they sell a small amount of meat and cheese, the main offerings are staples like beans and dried chilis, corn husks and masa. They also sell dried herbs, spices and seasonings, all priced at a fraction of what you’d pay for smaller amounts at a regular grocery store. Pick up freshly made tortillas for dinner, and order a taco while you shop to tide you over.
Homemade tortillas are the base for the $1.65 tacos made by the Reyes family. Known best for their carnitas—tender pork in a savory red sauce—they also offer shrimp, chicken, barbacoa and asada (marinated beef and steak), buche (pork belly), lengua and cabesa (beef tongue and head), and birria (goat meat). My favorites are the carnitas, asada, and chicken—which is lightly spiced, slow-cooked, and juicy but still fall-apart tender.
1155 SW Division Street, Suite B12
9 a.m. to 8 p.m., 7 days a week
From piñatas, DVDs, blankets and boots, to beans and dried chilis, Rico’s Market has a wide variety of foods and goods to choose from. Owned and operated by the Rico family from Guanajuato, in Central Mexico, since 2002, this friendly market also serves as home base for the catering operations of their taco truck, Rico’s Tacos.
A few items like cheese and sour cream can be found in the fridge, but the bulk of the offerings here are dried goods. Four kinds of chilis, tamarindo and dried hibiscus flowers are sold in bulk. And they have a large variety of candies, snacks, dried seasonings and spices.
226 SE 3rd Street
9 a.m. to 9 p.m., 7 days a week
Rico's Tacos traveling taco truck currently calls Greenwood Avenue home when the staff aren’t catering events or having fun at festivals. Rico’s Tacos are simple, garnished with cilantro and diced onions, but each of the meats exceed all expectations. And at just $1.50 a taco, you can’t go wrong. Choices include carne asada, spiced shredded beef, chicken, pork carnitas and al pastor, cabeza, and lengua.
706 NE Greenwood Avenue
Open Monday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.,
unless catering elsewhere
“Super B” has been a downtown staple for more than 10 years. Originally on Minnesota Avenue and now next to Alpenglow Café on Greenwood and Wall, they do more than make a mean burrito. Their tasty tacos have a hard-shell or taquito option, which the other spots don’t offer—but I prefer the warm corn tortillas. Meat choices include chicken, shredded beef and carne asada, carnitas and al pastor, grilled tilapia and lengua. Tacos are $2, just one reason Super Burrito has been so long-lived.
1133 NW Wall St.
10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday
10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday
On Greenwood Avenue in Bend, the Colima Market (“su tienda latina,” your Latino store) has been open since 1992. Run by three generations of the Galvan family from Colima Mexico, this small market has the largest variety of fresh produce and dried chili peppers I found.
Mexican cheeses, yogurts and soft drinks are located in the coolers next to an array of exotic fruits and roots, jalapenos, tomatillos and other produce. You’ll find everything from plantains and cactus to the spiky little gourd called chayote limpio and the roundish, prickly tuna verde, more commonly called the prickly pear.
Bulk beans and twelve different kinds of chilis are sold by the pound and dry goods include instant flan, horchata, churro mix and chicharrones, which is fried pig skin.
They also sell music and movies, shoes and clothing, and kitchenware like tortilla presses, pots and pans.
228 NW Greenwood Avenue Suite C
8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Friday
8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays
Open less than a year, Pihuamo’s Tacos is one of Bend’s newest food carts. In the St. Vincent de Paul parking lot on Third Street, this food truck owned by the Lara Mendoza family from Jalisco, Mexico is fast, friendly and straight up authentic. Choices include chicken, shredded beef or carne asada, fried pork carnitas, lengua, and pork sautéed in red sauce. In the summer, they serve grilled fish tacos with a slice of avocado, garnished with sweet sautéed onions, radishes, and a wedge of lime. I have sampled fish tacos nearly everywhere in town—these are the best Bend offers.
950 SE 3rd Street
10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday
Photos taken by Laura Kessinger