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Taco trucks guide 

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Looking to make you first visit to a taco truck? Don't be intimidated when you step up to the window. Start with a couple of tacos. Two tacos make a good snack, three a light meal. First, decide which meat you want—beef, pork or chicken. Or if you're feeling more adventurous, tongue, tripe, pig skin or stomach. Place your order in your best Spanish (English will always work too) and take a seat on one of the wooden stools to watch the cook and visit with the other customers.

At most trucks, a taco will run you $1.50 and will come with onions and cilantro, a wedge of lime and, if you're lucky, a roasted pepper. And of course, salsa. Most trucks offer two kinds of homemade salsa — roja o verde, red or green. Always good, always hot. You'll have to pay a little more for the extras, like cheese, sour cream and avocado.

The fare is pretty standard across the boards. If you don't know what a word means, someone always speaks enough English to help you out (or check out our handy-dandy taco truck glossary below). In addition to tacos, most trucks offer tortas, quesadillas and burritos, and a cooler full of cold water, juices and soft drinks, including "Coca Mexicana," Cokes made in Mexico using real cane sugar instead of corn syrup. Taco trucks don't sell alcohol, but there is often a service station nearby.

There are about 15 taco trucks currently operating in Little Rock, most in the southwest part of the city, between I-430 to the west, Geyer Springs to the east, Baseline Road to the south and 65th Street to the north. (There are others outside this area, including several real winners on Colonel Glenn west of University Avenue) Taco trucks usually set up shop in front of another business — a carpet wholesaler, a tire shop, a money transferrer. It's a symbiotic relationship; each business helps the other by drawing in more customers.

The trucks set up in the mornings, usually in time for the lunch crowd, and then pull up stakes each night. Most return to the same spot everyday, but it is increasingly common for the taco trucks to cater. So if you have enough people and enough money, some taco trucks will come to you. Be prepared, though, because taco trucks are cash-only businesses.

For help with ordering, see our Taco Truck Glossary

Note that the hours listed are subject to change day to day.

Taqueria Samantha and Taqueria Samantha II

It's just a trailer pulled behind a white GMC truck, but Taqueria Samantha II has some of the best tacos in Little Rock. Taqueria Samantha II parks in front of Discount Carpet on Geyer Springs, between 65th and Baseline. There's a menu in English with standard taco-truck fare — tacos, tortas, burritos, quesadillas. You can eat at one of the three wooden stools or get your order para llevar. The meat, whether you order the pork, beef or chicken, is moist and well seasoned. 7521 Geyer Springs Rd. 501-744-0680 or 501-442-9703. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tue.-Sun.

Taqueria Samantha was last spotted in the 5200 block of Asher Avenue, just east of Fair Park. But on Friday and Saturday nights, from 8 p.m.–2 a.m., it can be found in downtown Little Rock, parked on the 300 block of Broadway Ave., next to Jose's Club Latino.

Emma's Taqueria

Emma's is parked in front of a tire and rims shop on Baseline Road. In addition to the standard beef and pork choices, it also offer lengua, chicharron and buche—tongue, pork skin, and stomach. There is a fresh pineapple on the counter inside the truck, which makes the torta hawaiiana — a pork sandwich with avocado, pineapple and onions—even more enticing. The chicken comes pre-sauced, which means you can't enjoy the green salsa, but the beef is perfectly seasoned. The homemade pickled cucumbers that come on the side of every order are reason enough to visit. There's a picnic table under the pine trees. 4318 Baseline Rd. 501-541-7650. 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. daily.

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