We came from Brazil, and that’s where the black beans came from. We don’t use pinto beans, we don’t add any fat to our dishes.”— Wing Lam
Some 30 years ago, three brothers surfed their way down the Baja California coast and stumbled across a cheap street food: fish tacos.
But they thought they could do better — and Wahoo’s Fish Tacos was the result. Today, the brothers own more than 30 Wahoo’s Fish Taco restaurants, with another 30 or so franchises spread out across the United States, as well as Japan
And last week, Ed Lee and Lam came to town to show off their latest restaurant, 4201 McGowen St., in the Long Beach Exchange center on Lakewood Boulevard. The interior has more than one nod to the heritage of McDonnell Douglas airplane manufacturing, a trait common throughout the center, but there’s still plenty of Southern California surfer influence.
“We’re refreshing the look at the Marketplace store, too,” Ed Lee said. “People were saying it was held together with stickers. We’re going to spruce it up some.”
While the laid-back ambiance is part of what has made Wahoo’s a place to experience, Ed Lee said, it’s the food that brings people back. It has been described as a Mexican-Brazilian-Chinese fusion. The menu has everything, from not-so traditional fish tacos (the fish is grilled, to start) to a teriyaki beef bowl with black beans and white rice.