San Diego Food Critic Proclaims Los Angeles "King Of Mexican Food"

March 20, 2019

My mouth was left agape incapable of believing what I just heard. Did he really say that Los Angeles has better Mexican food than San Diego?!? Roll back the tape. He did. He really did. San Diego Magazine's resident food critic spoke what many San Diegans deem to be blasphemy on the most recent edition of the magazine's food-focused podcast.

"As much as I'd like to say that San Diego is the king of Mexican food, it's not, LA is definitely the king of Mexican food," proclaimed San Diego Magazine restaurant critic Troy Johnson at around the 4 minute mark on the most recent edition of the media outlet's Happy Half Hour podcast. "I love my city, I do, but I do admit its faults and I think that you know, LA, in terms of overall breadth, has a lot more taco shops and taco scene."

We brought the statement up on popular local Facebook Group Eating & Drinking in San Diego and many members were stunned by the bold proclamation. Although some agreed with Johnson, the majority of the posts relayed some degree of shock and awe.

"Not true at all," said one commenter. "I lived in LA and was never happy with Mexican food selection up there."

"I’ve lived in both areas," commented another member of the group. "San Diego is the king of Mexican food. Not even close"

Troy Johnson began his journalistic career as a music writer and personality before transitioning his attention to the culinary scene in 2007 as a food writer and editor of Modern Luxury's Rivera Magazine. Johnson went on to be the host of the Food Network program Crave for a short time before it was ultimately canceled and is now the longtime food critic and editor for San Diego Magazine with frequent appearances as a judge on Guy Fieri's Guy's Grocery Games. Early last year, we reported that Troy had revealed plans to open a "non-traditional taco shop eatery" in his hometown of Ocean Beach, which has yet to come to fruition.

"As a native San Diegan, I love my city," wrote Johnson in an email response to SanDiegoVille. "We have amazing Mexican food. I’ve spent 12 years covering the restaurants here, and eaten through a good portion of Mexican restaurants in both cities. But to really love a city is to be honest about it - not claim that we are the best at everything in the world. Los Angeles has 4.9 million Hispanic citizens - 9 percent of the entire Hispanic population in the country. San Diego’s entire population is 3.3 million people - of all nationalities. To claim that my city is the heart of Mexican food in California, with those numbers, would be more irrational pride than it is logic. Go, San Diego.”

What do you think? Email comments to TacoWar@SanDiegoVille.com.