I was recently visiting some friends in Grand Rapids and we found ourselves hungry after a night on the town. Yes, it was that kind of night. Since we were feeling adventurous we decided to try something new and it did not disappoint. In fact, I think this might be my latest food obsession!

I'm not sure if TikTok is to blame (or thank) for this recent rise in popularity of birria tacos, but I'm here for it. What's taken social media by storm has actually been around for a very long time, but apparently I'm not the only one that didn't get the memo.

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What is Birria?

Birria is a style of Mexican street food that originated in the state of Jalisco. It starts with a traditional dish typically made with goat meat, but birria can also be made with beef, pork, and lamb. The meat is slow cooked as a stew and can be eaten alone or it's often combined with tacos. It's the juices that give birria its signature style. Think of birria tacos or quesabirrias (tacos with cheese) as traditional tacos but with a side of a Mexican au jus, referred to as "consome".

Lauren G for TSM
Lauren G for TSM

Los Mariscos de Pancho

Located on the west side of town, Los Mariscos de Pancho is one of Grand Rapids' best kept secrets-- but not for long. It's a tiny little shop with an even tinier dining space, but the food is delicious and you won't have to wait long. Pancho specializes in seafood dishes, but what we came for was the birria pizza: a 12-inch flour tortilla stuffed with beef and cheese in what looks like a combination between a pizza and a giant quesadilla. Call it whatever you want, it was magnificent. Another featured item on Pancho's menu is the birria ramen, which is exactly what you think it is. The birria ramen takes the best part of birria, the consome, and mixes it with the best parts of ramen. It was the perfect dish to warm us up after a cold night on the town!

If you can't make it up to Grand Rapids anytime soon or if you've never experienced birria for yourself, here are some local places in the Kalamazoo area town to get your taco fix.

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