Back in 2007, when Hangzhou didn’t have so many international restaurants, there was Panchos bringing us authentic Mexican. The owner, Alex, came to China to study Chinese then decided to stay on by opening a Mexican restaurant. Wanting to present a true taste of home, he brought over a chef from Mexico to get things started and today many ingredients, such as chilies, are still sourced from Mexico.
Panchos’ first location was on Xixi Road near Yuquan Campus where it quickly became a favourite amongst the foreign student population. Then they relocated to Gudun Road near Wen’er Road for a period, went through a 1.5 year hiatus and is now back with its new location on Huaxing Road. Walking down this side street lined with Chinese shops and eateries, you definitely notice Panchos by the delicious and exotic aromas wafting out.
Each reincarnation of Panchos has kept a similar look – a Mexican cantina with sunny yellow walls and bright red seat covers. The menu includes favourites such as burritos, nachos, tacos, fajitas, plus other less common dishes like flautas, chilaquiles and enfrijoladas. For most items you can choose chicken, beef, pork, shrimp or vegetable fillings and your level of spiciness. There are also soups, grilled meat, desserts and the prices are still student friendly.
We tried Princess Soup (15RMB) a creamy bean soup that had a hint of citrus and spice. The Burrito (35-50RMB) was a hefty square log filled with meat, rice, vegetables, beans and cheese. Gringa (35-50RMB), a folded tortilla filled with meat, cheese and vegetables, is what we normally think of as quesadilla. Whereas a Quesadilla (25RMB), is simply a cheese sandwiched tortilla. The juicy Grilled Chicken leg had been marinated in lemon and mustard, costs only 35RMB and came with a special chipotle sauce.
Panchos is working on a new menu and we got a preview of some items. There was Choriqueso, an appetizer of zesty house made chorizo sausage and stringy cheese and Carnitas, a big mound of shredded slow-cooked pork with a fresh cut salsa and a spicy cooked salsa.
There’s a selection of Mexican drinks to help cool your tongue, like the sweet milky rice drink Horchata (10RMB) or sweet fruity tasting Jaimaica flower tea (10RMB), cocktails (30-40RMB) and tequila (12-15RMB/shot). Sundays are Taco Night where tacos costs 10RMB and toppings will be laid out for you to add as you like.