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Find ray chowder and molcajetes at this Mexican seafood truck

Sonoran cuisine has been in the spotlight in recent years thanks to the success of local Mexican-style carne asada stars like Sonoratown, Tacos El Ruso and Prime Tacos de la Sonorita. And while Sonoran’s carne asada traditions are certainly noteworthy, there’s much more to regional cuisine than mesquite-braised steak tacos, burritos wrapped in sobaquera tortillas, chile colorado stews, and hot dogs wrapped in bacon buried under a pile of spices. With its entire western border along the biodiversity of the Gulf of California, Sonora is also a destination for outstanding Mexican seafood; one of Sonora’s most popular weekend breakfasts is caguamanta, a stew of stingray fillets, tomatoes, vegetables, shrimp, and tuna fins in a seafood stock flavored with spices and dried chilies.

Mariscos Odaly, a three-year-old food truck in Fontana, draws huge crowds serving this little-known delicacy outside of Sonora, Sinaloa and Baja California. Launched in 2019 by Gabriel Morales, the truck is run by the Hermosillo-born chef and his sons Osmar and Edgar. Mariscos Odaly, named after Morales’ daughter, can be found parked along a gravel strip on a stretch of Valley Boulevard lined with big rig dealers and fleet services. The rich smell of buttery seafood, ripe tomatoes and hot peppers leads to a small blue trailer hitched across from Odaly’s truck.

Caguamanta—a stew of stingray fillets, tomatoes, vegetables, shrimp, and tuna fins in a seafood stock flavored with spices and dried chilies—is a popular breakfast in Sonora, Mexico.

Caguamanta, a stingray stew, is served in red bowls of soup near the covered seating area. Originally from Ciudad Obregón, native recipes for caguamanta called for turtles, but the dish is now often served with stingrays to protect the endangered species. At Mariscos Odaly, Morales serves his family recipe, creamy with little fat and packed with plump Mexican shrimp, chunks of stingray, surimi (imitation crab) and gelatinous tuna fin. It’s topped with a chile chiltepín crumble and dollops of scratch-made salsa brava made with charred chilies and vegetable oil. The soulful seafood soup has drawn a steady crowd since Marsicos first opened.

However, Morales recently launched a TikTok account and quickly amassed 30,000 followers in just three months. As a result, the truck attracted more local customers and attracted an influx of ceviche seekers from San Diego, San Jose and the San Fernando Valley. Seafood-based content attracting hungry eyes on the TikTok account are the molcajetas – extravagant ceviches prepared in Mexican volcanic stone mortars and named after infamous Mexican cartel members, including Chapo Guzmán, Caro Quintero and El Mayo Zambada; there is even a molcajete named after current Mexican president Lopez Obrador. “I came up with these dishes and decided to use the name [of narcos] because they are famous, not because I endorse or approve of what they do,” says Morales. (Morales had a brief run-in with the cartel years ago, when members of organized crime approached his Mexicali cheese business, Quesos Odalys, for transporting drugs inside shipments. He moved to the Inland Empire in 2019 and launched Mariscos Odalys as a result of the Event.)

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The Molcajete El Chapo ($60) is loaded with high-end seafood, including a whole lobster, callo de hacha (shellfish), large cocktail shrimp, cooked octopus, raw Mexican white shrimp, and stone crab claws in a pool of lime. and Mexican cocktail sauces, and dusted with crushed chile chiltepín and spices. Molcajete Lopez Obrador is $50 and does not include lobster. “I named it after a politician because todos los politicos se la pelan,” says Morales, which translates to “all politicians deceive the public.”

Charolas (seafood trays) delivered on jumbo aluminum trays are also a hit. The $150 culiacanazo feeds 12 to 15 people and includes a giant lobster, dozens of shrimp, rows of crab legs and several pounds of high-quality shellfish, garnished with halved lime, sliced ​​cucumber, red onion and avocado . In addition to the upscale seafood dishes that bring views on TikTok, Morales also serves more low-key and traditional dishes such as smoked marlin tostadas, seafood cocktails and an amazing selection of scallops and oysters flown in from Mexico. such as callo de hacha, white clams. , pata de mula, and chocolatas. Seafood dishes are prepared in the trailer, which doubles as a cold bar for the food truck operation.

Mariscos Odaly, a three-year-old food truck in Fontana, draws a huge crowd serving specialties little known outside of Sonora, Sinaloa and Baja California.

Mariscos Odaly draws a huge crowd serving specialties little known outside of Sonora, Sinaloa and Baja California.

Whether diners come for the stingray soup or the larger-than-life molcajetes, all the recipes are inspired by Morales’ Mexican upbringing. “It’s part of my childhood, growing up and buying seafood from carts by the beach [in nearby Bahia de Kino]and I used to make ceviches, seafood snacks and seafood cocktails for my family in Mexico,” Morales says.

There’s no other seafood truck or Mexican cevichería in the Los Angeles area that goes all-in on upscale seafood like Mariscos Odaly, with dishes that use everything from real crab to clams and Mexican lobster. Add in the ritual Sonoran seafood breakfast of caguamanta, and Fontana has an ultimate seafood destination—banda and chiles included.

odaly seafood is located at 14166 Valley Boulevard in Fontana and is open Wednesday through Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Odaly Seafood Truck.

The menu at the Mariscos Odaly truck.

A close-up of the menu.