El Campeon Carniceria Market is a must try Mexican take-out spot

El Campeon lies off the intersection of Linden Street and Iowa Avenue and is run and owned by Ivan Roman. This Mexican supermarket also has a hot bar, ready to serve up foods including burritos, tacos, tortas and more. Less than a mile from campus, this spot is accessible to all students, via scooter, skateboard or even walking. Parking is also accessible for commuters, as El Campeon occupies a spot in a plaza that includes Iowa Smoke Shop, Poke Bistro, Boba Fiend Tea House and more. 

Inside the market, you’ll be greeted with friendly staff and amazing aromas coming hot off the grill. While there is seating available both inside and outside, take-out is a common alternative. El Campeon is also offering 10% off to students of University of California, Riverside for a limited time only. Students must show proof of their R’Card for the discount. 

Asada Burrito

Their asada burrito comes with rice, refried beans, vegetables and a generous serving of meat (approaching a double serving of meat at Chipotle). The tortilla is warm and pillowy  complimenting the burrito beautifully. The first bites will have you in a frenzy, as you’ll be hit with loads of flavor, coming from all the high quality ingredients. The meat is fall-apart tender, and gorgeously seasoned to perfection. The rice and refried beans give a great contrast of textures within the burrito, and adds to the delicious flavor profile. The onions, cilantro, and salsas bring the entire dish together, and make for an unforgettable meal. 

Al Pastor Torta 

El Campeon’s al pastor torta sent former Highlander Video Editor Alex Lopez, into food heaven. The torta comes with another generous serving of meat, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cheese and well toasted bread. “They know what they’re doing back there,” Lopez described after his first few bites. The bread’s texture is incredible, and keeps the filling intact very nicely. The vegetables compliment the al pastor very well, and make every bite worth it. “This is hands down, one of the best tortas I’ve had in my life,” Lopez exclaimed after nearly completing the first half of it. It’s worth mentioning that after being cut in half, the torta displayed a beautiful cross section, which had our mouths watering and teeth cheesing. 

Asada and Pollo Tacos

The tacos come wrapped in two tortillas, filled with yet another generous serving of meat, onions and cilantro. El Campeon also offers green and red salsas on the side. Eddy Basurto, the new Highlander Video Editor, was super excited to try the tacos. So excited in fact, he ate half his meal before even giving his take on the food. “You gotta come down here, this isn’t like the dining hall food,” Basurto quipped regarding his tacos. The chicken is well-seasoned and has a delicious flavor. The asada is also well seasoned and El Campeon knows how to make simple tacos stand out above the rest. 

Conchas (Pan Dulce)

El Campeon’s conchas are the perfect pairing of sweet and fluffy. The airy concha makes it easy to bite into the bread sweetened by the sugar on top. These conchas are the perfect dessert to devour after a warm burrito. This warm pillow of a dessert satisfied my sweet tooth craving, and I’ll be coming back for more.

El Campeon Carniceria Market is a local gem that needs to be on student’s list of things to try in Riverside. In August of 2023, USA Today released a list of the best taco cities in the country. Riverside ranked eighth on the list, and El Campeon is a living testament to why Riverside ranks in the top 10 taco cities in the United States. (If you’re curious, here are the cities ranked above Riverside: 1. Austin, TX, 2. San Jose, CA, 3. Las Vegas, NV, 4. San Antonio, TX, 5. San Diego, CA, 6. Los Angeles, CA, 7. Phoenix, AZ)

El Campeon is a great place to get quick, delicious food made to order. It’s very affordable to the student population on campus, and it’s super accessible for anyone. 

If you want to stay up to date on all of the delicious meals they’re making, keep up with El Campeon on their Instagram @elcampeoncarniceriamarket!

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