Whether you’re a lifelong Fresnan or new to the area one obvious benefit to our great city is the amazing array of diverse cuisines made accessible through local restaurants and businesses. A friend recently alerted me to an awesome place to get Mexican ice cream, frozen treats and antojitos (snacks, typically street food, literally translates to “little cravings”) called Tagin’s Snacks.
Tagins Snacks is located on on the northwest corner of Jensen and Maple. It’s one of those places that you may not notice if you don’t know to look for it, as it’s nestled in a small retail strip next to a laundromat and barber shop and behind a gas station – but it is so worth seeking out!
Tagins menu offers Mexican ice cream, traditional ice cream and well-known treats like banana splits and sundaes and a variety of savory and spicy snacks, too. One of the most awesome things about Mexican food, is how flavorful it is. Mexican snacks definitely do not disappoint when it comes to packing a flavor punch. If you’re not familiar with Mexican snacks (trust me, you’ll want to change that!), let me introduce you to some key menu items!
Raspados – Raspados are similar to shaved ice or sno-cones however, they can be made with a variety of sweeteners like fruit juice or soda syrups and they are sometimes served with ice cream.
Bionicos – Bionicos are refreshing fruit bowls, drizzled with cream that is made from a combination of yogurt, sweetened condensed milk, and Mexican crema. They originated on food carts in Guadalajara, Mexico, and are often topped with coconut and granola.
Mangonados – Mangonados are a refreshing smoothie made with sweet, ripe mangos, lime juice, ice, chamoy sauce and Tajin. They are usually served with salted chile-tamarind candy and a chile tamarind wrapped straw.
Need a little help with a few of the ingredients? I got you.
- Tamarind is a sweet, chewy tangy candy.
- Chamoy can come in candy, liquid (most common) or paste forms, but it is essentially a pickled fruit with chile and salt added to it, and it is really flavorful as it combines salty, sweet and spicy in one ingredient.
- Tajin is a spice mixture made with dried red chile, lime and salt.)
Elotes and Esquites – Elotes are grilled or roasted corn served on the cobb, typically coated in crema, cheese and chile or Tajin spice. Esquites are the same ingredients, but served in a bowl with the kernels removed from the corn cobb (for those who prefer a less messy way to enjoy their corn).
If you’re not familiar with Mexican ice cream or antojitos, don’t be intimidated. Tagins has a huge pictorial menu on the wall as you enter their shop, so you can see exactly what each item looks like. Everyone who works there is very kind, bilingual and will happily explain what’s in any item for you. And since each item is made to order, it’s easy to leave off or add ingredients to customize your selection.
At Tagins you’ll see “loco” on the menu a lot. It refers to adding spicy toppings like crushed Hot Cheetos, chile or chamoy (or a combination of all three) to menu items. I personally love spice, so I get all of my items loco-style, but for those who are more sensitive and prefer non-spicy food you can totally skip it.
Every item at Tagins is carefully handmade and super over the top in terms of presentation and ingredients – they’re virtually art pieces as well as food! It would be a fun place to take out of town guests and really impress them with something like a Jarrito Loco (Jarrito soda topped with skewered fruit, rainbow sour belt candy, slices of orange and spicy candies).
If you’re craving more than a snack (though fair warning – the servings are LARGE) Tagins also offers sopes (similar to tostadas but with a fried corn dough base), nachos and tortas (grilled sandwiches).
Tagins is currently open for take out, and has social distancing measures in place. They are located at 2590 S. Maple #104 and they are open daily from 10am to 9pm. Enjoy!