Menu Innovations | December 2015 | By Sam Oches

Inspirations: Oscars Mexican Seafood’s Spicy Shrimp Taco

Oscars owner Juan Bernardo Montes de Oca weighs in on where he came up with the idea for his signature Spicy Shrimp Taco.
San Diego fast casual Mexican chain offers spicy shrimp taco with big bold flavors.
Spicy Shrimp Taco Oscars Mexican Seafood’s

“I owned a semi truck company. It was in an industrial area in Otay Mesa, California. It’s just across the Mexican border from a city that has the exact same name but in Spanish, and it’s an industrial zone. I would go there to get lunch where Oscar Valenzuela worked, and I asked Oscar if he could show me how to cook. Then I bought him a lunch truck for $20,000. This was the first taco I had there.

“We have a 50/50 mix of canola and olive oil, which we put the shrimps in on the grill. We just recently started adding minced garlic—just a little bit, the tip of a teaspoon per taco. Then we make a mixture of granulated garlic, pepper, and salt, and we add that, the garlic, and then crushed red peppers. Then we have a bottle in which we put about 50 percent Worcestershire sauce, 25 percent low-sodium soy sauce, and 20 percent lime juice, and we just give it a dash of that. It gives it a nice color and a really good taste. Everything emulsifies right there on the grill.

The Players:

• Shrimp

• Crushed red peppers

• Monterrey Jack cheese

• Corn tortilla

• Avocado

• Cabbage

• Tomato

• Onion

• Olive oil

• Cilantro

“I work a lot, and I’m buying produce every day. Just for today and tomorrow, I bought nine cases of avocados. We don’t charge extra for avocado. That’s one of our main things. We put avocado on everything; people love it, especially here in California. They like healthy, nutritious things.

“We put the shrimp in a corn tortilla and we put cheese on it. Once it’s placed in a tortilla, we put that in a paper boat, then we add cabbage, tomato, onion, cilantro, and heavy avocado.

“We buy 5,000 pounds of shrimp per month; that’s how many shrimp tacos we sell.”

—Juan Bernardo Montes de Oca

Owner, Oscars Mexican Seafood

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