Taco History: An Epic Journey Across Cultures
Yummy, what's that smell? OH! Guess what? It's taco time!
Want to know the history of tacos?
Wan to to know the type of tacos all over Mexico?
Where to eat the best tacos in Mexico?
What is the importance of tacos in Mexican gastronomy?
Welcome to our tasty adventure into taco history! Join us as we travel across cultures, discovering the roots and growth of tacos, and more!
Taco History 🌮
Let’s take a delicious trip through taco history! Tacos are delicious treats made of a folded tortilla filled with tasty ingredients. But where did they come from? Well, tacos have been around for ages, starting with the ancient Aztec and Maya people in Mexico. Back then, they used corn tortillas as plates to hold their food, and that’s how the taco was born!
As time went on, tacos evolved, picking up new flavors and fillings along the way. Spanish settlers brought new ingredients like beef, pork, and cheese, adding variety to the taco scene. Eventually, tacos spread beyond Mexico, becoming popular street food in many countries. Each place puts its twist on tacos, creating a world of delicious possibilities!
Today, tacos are enjoyed all over the globe and loved for their simplicity and versatility. Whether it’s a classic beef taco in Mexico or a trendy fish taco in California, one thing’s for sure: taco history is a journey worth savoring! So next time you bite into a taco, remember the centuries of delicious history that brought it to your plate.
Type of Tacos All over Mexico 🌮
What are tacos? Well, in Mexico, tacos come in a delightful array of flavors and styles, reflecting the diverse culinary traditions of each region. Let’s take a tasty tour!
Tacos al Pastor
These famous tacos are super popular in Mexico! Lebanese immigrants in 1920 brought the adaptation of a traditional Arab food, shawarma.
To prepare them, people use thin slices of pork that have been soaked in flavor and cooked on a special upright grill called a trompo. The pork gets its yummy taste from spices like achiote, cumin, garlic, and chili peppers!
One special thing about pastor tacos is…how they’re cooked. The pork spins around on the grill slowly, so the outside gets crispy and caramelized while the inside stays juicy and tender. This way of cooking gives the meat lots of flavor and makes it crunchy on the outside but soft inside.
When taqueros serve it,
they put the thin pork slices on small corn tortillas. Then, they add diced onions, fresh cilantro, and a squeeze of lime on top. Sometimes they also put pineapple, which adds a sweet and tangy taste to balance out the savory pork flavors.
People like eating pastor tacos on the street. Vendors are good at cutting the pork just right and making each taco just how you want it. You can also find them in restaurants all over Mexico and other places.
People love them because they taste really good and are easy to enjoy. Tacos de pastor hold a special place in Mexican culinary culture, representing a delicious fusion of flavors and traditions.
Places to try pastor tacos (We will only be mentioning places in Mexico City):
Gobernador Tacos and Seafood Tacos 🌮
Smells fishy? Oh, it’s because we are in the seafood tacos section! Gobernador and other seafood tacos give you a perfect taste of Mexico’s coastal treats.
They use the freshest seafood turned into tasty dishes. Gobernador tacos come from Sonora, a coastal state, and they’re super popular there.
These tacos usually have tasty shrimp cooked with onions, peppers, and tomatoes, all wrapped up in a soft tortilla. They often add a creamy cheese like Oaxaca or Monterey Jack for extra flavor. It makes an excellent mix of tastes and textures, with the shrimp’s sweetness balancing the savory veggies and cheese.
Besides gobernador tacos,
Mexico has lots of different seafood tacos. It’s because Mexico has a big coast and lots of fishing. You can find crispy fish tacos with cabbage and salsa or soft octopus tacos with garlic and lime. There’s a seafood taco for everyone!
In places like Baja California and Veracruz by the coast, fish tacos are super popular. They fry up fresh fish until it’s crispy and golden, then wrap it in a warm tortilla. They add crunchy cabbage, creamy sauce, and a squeeze of lime, making them taste just right for a meal by the sea.
Some other favorite seafood tacos are shrimp tacos, octopus tacos, and smoked marlin tacos. Each one gives you a special taste of the sea, with its yummy flavors.
It doesn’t matter if you eat these tacos at the beachside or in the heart of the city. Seafood tacos will transport diners to coastal shores with every bite. This will offer you a taste of Mexico’s rich maritime heritage and culinary creativity.
Places to try seafood tacos:
Tacos de Guisado 🌮
The delicious tacos de guisado are like a cozy hug in taco form. They’re all about tasty fillings that remind you of home-cooked meals. These tacos are special because they’re filled with tasty stews or braised meats that we call “guisados.”
Tacos de guisado are great because you can have them in lots of different ways. You can have tender beef in a tasty sauce, or if you’re vegetarian, there are options like potatoes and cactus. Some other favorites are shredded chicken in a spicy tomato sauce, slow-cooked pork with citrus and spices, and pork cracklings in a tangy green sauce. The beauty of these tacos is that there’s something for everyone!
Tacos de guisado are a popular and more budget-friendly choice for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Also, enjoy them at street stalls, markets, and taquerias across Mexico. They give you a tasty and satisfying meal that celebrates the food traditions of the country. These tacos are a very eat-like local experience. Each bite reminds you of recipes that have been loved for a long time.
Places to try guisado (stew) tacos:
Tacos de Canasta 🌮
Tacos de canasta, also known as “basket tacos” or “steamed tacos,” are a beloved street food delicacy in Mexico. They offer a convenient and flavorful option for on-the-go snacking. These tacos got their name from how they’re made. They’re stacked in a basket to stay warm and exquisite.
The filling for canasta tacos usually has lots of stuff like potatoes, beans, chorizo, or shredded meats. They cook it up and then put it in small corn tortillas. After filling them up, they stack the tacos in a basket cover them to keep them warm, and let the flavors mix.
Canasta tacos are often sold by street vendors all over Mexico, especially in the morning or at lunchtime. They usually come with different toppings like onions, cilantro, and spicy green or red salsa, so you can make them just how you like.
These simple but exquisite tacos are loved by everyone, whether you’re from here or just visiting. They’re an easy and tasty way to get real Mexican flavors, especially when you’re out and about. If you’re wandering around Mexico City or checking out a market, you’ll probably catch a whiff of these delicious tacos and want to try them for yourself!
Places to try canasta tacos:
- Tacos de Canasta Los Especiales
- Tacos Joven
- Tacos de Canasta “Los Exquisitos”
- Tacos de Canasta El Flaco
- Tacos de Canasta Claveria
Tacos de carnitas 🌮
The must-try experience for foodies! Carnitas tacos are a nice Mexican street food treat known for their tasty flavor and tender meat. “Carnitas” means “little meats” in Spanish, and it’s pork that’s cooked slowly until it’s soft and delicious.
To make carnitas tacos, they cook pork cuts like shoulder or butt in a tasty broth. They add stuff like orange, garlic, bay leaves, and Mexican spices to give it flavor. The pork cooks slowly until it’s soft and juicy, with crispy bits on the edges. The most famous place for try carnitas is Quiroga, Michoacan.
Carnitas tacos have a special mix of textures and flavors. The meat inside is soft and juicy, but the outside gets crispy, giving it a nice crunch when you bite into it. People like this mix of textures, along with the delicious flavor of cooking the meat slowly. It’s why carnitas tacos are such a popular choice for taco lovers.
You can find these tasty tacos at lots of places in Mexico, like taco shops, street stands, and markets. People like to eat them whenever they want a tasty and filling meal, no matter the time of day. Long live carnitas!
Places to try carnitas tacos:
- Los Cochinitos
- Carnitas Chanchito
- La Casa de Los Lechoncitos al Horno
- Tacos de Carnitas La Esquina del Sabor
- El Tarasco
Tacos Dorados 🌮
These tacos, also known as “flautas” or “rolled tacos,” are a crispy and flavorful Mexican dish loved for its crunchy exterior and tasty filling. “Tacos dorados” means “golden tacos” because they turn a nice golden-brown color after frying.
To make crispy tacos, they fill corn tortillas with things like shredded chicken, beef, or seasoned potatoes. Then, they roll them up tight or fold them in half to keep the filling inside.
After that, they carefully fry the filled tortillas until they’re crispy and golden on the outside but still warm and tasty inside. Frying them like this makes them crunchy and locks in all the great flavors.
When they’re done cooking, they serve the crispy tacos hot with toppings like lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream, and salsa. Each bite has a nice mix of textures, with the crispy shell and the soft, flavorful filling inside.
Tacos dorados are a popular street food snack enjoyed throughout Mexico and beyond. They’re perfect for sharing with friends and family or enjoying a satisfying meal on their own.
Places to try tacos dorados:
Barbacoa and Birria Tacos 🌮
Barbacoa tacos usually have beef, goat, or lamb that’s seasoned with spices and cooked slowly until it’s really tender. People used to cook it in a hole in the ground, but nowadays they might use a slow cooker or oven. The meat ends up super juicy and soft, almost like it melts in your mouth.
To make barbacoa tacos, people shred or chop the cooked meat and put it on warm corn tortillas. People usually add fresh cilantro, onions, lime, and salsa so you can make your tacos just how you like them. With the juicy meat and tasty toppings, these tacos are always a hit for any meal.
is a stew usually made with goat or lamb, but sometimes they use beef too. They marinate the meat in a mix of spices like garlic, bay leaves, cumin, and chili peppers, then cook it slowly until it’s tender and full of flavor. The stew ends up being rich, smells great, and tastes good too.
Birria tacos are made by putting tender meat in corn tortillas, and then dipping the whole taco in the tasty broth used to cook the meat. This makes the tacos juicy and adds lots of flavor, giving them a tasty sauce. Taqueros usually serve the tacos with onions, cilantro, lime, and salsa, so you get lots of tasty flavors in each bite.
Both tacos de barbacoa and birria are classics in Mexican cuisine, Mexicans love them for their flavor, tender texture, and appeal.
Places to try barbacoa tacos:
- La Oveja Negra Santa Maria
- El Taco Ranchero
- El Mesón de Santiago
- Barbacoa El Mexiquense Narvarte
- La Barbacoa
- Los Caramelos
- Barbacoa Ana María
- La Enbirria
Mixiote Tacos 🌮
Mixiote tacos get their name from how they’re cooked, and they’re all about juicy meat and spices.
What makes these tacos unique is the mixiote itself, which is like a thin, paper-like covering from the maguey plant. Back in the day, they’d wrap meat in this covering to steam it, keeping it flavorful and juicy.
To make mixiote tacos, they marinate meat like lamb, beef, or chicken in a sauce with chili peppers, garlic, herbs, and spices. Then, they wrap the marinated meat in the mixiote covering, which seals in all the tasty flavors while it cooks.
They cook the wrapped meat slowly over low heat or in an oven until it’s super tender and juicy. Once it’s done, they unwrap the mixiote to reveal the delicious, flavorful meat. Mixiote tacos give you a real taste of traditional Mexican food, with juicy meat and delicious spices cooked just right.
Places to try mixiote tacos:
Tacos Mineros 🌮
Miner’s tacos, or tacos mineros, are a delicious and filling dish that first came from Mexico’s mining areas. Miners used to eat these tacos to keep them fueled up during their long shifts underground.
These tacos are known for their big fillings, usually made with tasty meats like beef or pork, along with veggies and spices such as potatoes, carrots, onions, and bell peppers. They cook everything together until it’s soft and packed with flavor.
To make miner’s tacos, they scoop the filling onto warm corn tortillas, making a big and satisfying taco. They often serve them with salsa or hot sauce on the side for more flavor and a little bit of a kick.
One neat thing about miner’s tacos is you can mix up the filling depending on what you like or what’s available. Some folks add things like beans, cheese, or avocado for extra yum.
These tacos aren’t just tasty; they’re also a part of Mexico’s history in mining. Miners relied on hearty meals like miner’s tacos to keep them strong during their hard work. Nowadays, miner’s tacos are still loved all over Mexico and even in other places. People enjoy them for their incredible taste and how satisfying they are.
Places to try tacos mineros:
These tacos are like cansta tacos. Nevertheless, the original tacos are only in Zacatecas, Guanajuato, and Hidalgo. States in Mexico with a mining history.
Cochinita Tacos 🌮
Cochinita tacos are a popular dish from Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. People enjoy them for their tasty flavors and spices. These tacos have juicy pork soaked in citrus juices, achiote paste, garlic, and other spices. Then, they cook it slowly until it’s tender and packed with flavor.
The main part of cochinita tacos is the pork, usually from a whole pig called “cochinita pibil.” The marinade, called “recado rojo,” gives the pork its reddish-orange color and a tangy, savory taste that’s a bit spicy and a bit sweet.
To make cochinita tacos, they shred the tender, marinated pork and put it on warm corn tortillas. Then, they add pickled red onions, fresh cilantro, and a squeeze of lime to give it some zing and balance out the rich flavors of the pork.
One neat thing about cochinita tacos is how they cook the pork. They wrap it in banana leaves and cook it slowly in an underground pit called a “pib” for hours. This lets all the flavors mix and makes the meat super tender.
Cochinita tacos are a big part of Yucatecan food and people love them all over Mexico and in other places too. You can find them at special events, celebrations, or at taco stands and restaurants. They’re loved for their delicious taste and because they’re an important part of Yucatecan culture.
Places to try cochinita tacos:
Street Food Tacos Especiallities: Suadero, Guts, Campechano, Head, Eyes, Tongue… 🌮
The very famous street tacos come in lots of different flavors and textures, giving you a taste of the many incredible foods in Mexican cuisine. Some specialties include suadero, tripa, campechano, cabeza (head), ojo (eye), lengua (tongue), and more. Each one has its special taste that people love.
Suadero tacos have thinly sliced beef that’s cooked slowly until it’s tender and tasty. They usually add onions, cilantro, and salsa on top to make them even better.
Tripa tacos are made from beef intestines, giving them a crunchy texture and a rich flavor. They season them up and cook them until they’re crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, making a satisfying taco. Campechano tacos mix two or more kinds of meat in one taco. They might have beef and chorizo, or steak and pork, giving you a mix of flavors and textures.
If you’re feeling adventurous, cabeza (head) tacos have meat from the cow’s head that’s tender and tasty. They might use cheek, lips, or ears, each one giving the taco a different texture and taste.
Ojo (eye) tacos and lengua (tongue) tacos are for people who like to try new things. Ojo tacos have tender beef from the eye, while lengua tacos have thinly sliced beef tongue that’s cooked slowly until it’s soft and ready.
Places to try these tacos:
In Mexico City, this type of street food is everywhere. Options are endless! So, when you visit Mexico City Downtown, check out the thousands of street taquerias that are in the place. Those are great tacos and the most local experience for foodies. Not everything is the taqueria Orinoco.
Cecina, Bistec, and More Asada Tacos 🌮
Cecina, bistec, and all asada tacos are super popular in Mexican street food. They each have their yummy flavors and textures that people enjoy.
Cecina tacos have thinly sliced beef or pork that’s seasoned, marinated, and air-dried or salted. Then they grill or sear it until it’s crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, making a really tasty taco.
Bistec tacos have thinly sliced beef steak that’s marinated in spices, citrus juices, and herbs. They grill or sear it just right so it’s tender and juicy with a nice charred outside. They usually add onions, cilantro, and salsa on top for extra flavor.
All asada tacos have grilled meat, like beef, pork, or chicken, that’s marinated and cooked over an open flame. This gives the meat a smoky and charred outside with a juicy inside. They serve these tacos with onions, cilantro, and salsa so you can make them just how you like.
Enjoy the smoky flavor of all asada tacos, each bite gives you a nice taste of Mexican street food. People of all ages love these tacos because they’re so delicious and satisfying, making them a favorite in Mexican cuisine.
Places to try these tacos:
- Tacos Los Papis
- Los de Asada
- Los Parados
- Los Picudos
- Taquería Los Pericos
- Las Costillas de la Condesa
Vegan Tacos 🌮
Not really into meat? Mexico has options for every foodie! Vegan tacos are a tasty and fun twist on traditional Mexican food, showing off the flavors of plant-based ingredients in every bite. They’re great for vegans, vegetarians, or anyone who wants to try something new and healthy for dinner.
One way to make vegan tacos is by using grilled veggies as the main filling. Bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, zucchini, and eggplant are some veggies that taste awesome when grilled and put in tacos. You can spice them up with things like cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and paprika to make them tasty.
Another tasty option for vegan tacos is using plant-based proteins like tofu, tempeh, or seitan. You can season and cook these proteins to taste like meat, giving you a delicious alternative if you’re craving a meaty taco. Tofu can be crumbled up to look like ground meat, while tempeh and seitan can be sliced and grilled to give you that chewy, meaty texture.
And don’t forget about the toppings! You can add things like fresh salsa, guacamole, pico de gallo, diced onions, cilantro, shredded lettuce, and lime wedges to your vegan tacos to make them even more delicious. There are lots of ways to make vegan tacos super tasty and satisfying!
With their endless possibilities for creativity and customization, vegan tacos are sure to become a favorite among vegans and non-vegans alike.
Places to try vegan tacos:
Importance of Tacos in Mexican Gastronomy 🌮
Taco history is a big part of Mexican food. They’re like a symbol of our culture and tradition. Just think about it: a tortilla wrapped around tasty fillings like meat, beans, veggies, and salsa – it’s simple but so delicious!
Tacos bring people together. Families and friends gather to enjoy them at parties, street corners, or taco stands. They’re versatile too. You can have them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and they come in all kinds of flavors and styles depending on where you are in Mexico.
And tacos help us celebrate our heritage. They show off the mix of ingredients and cooking styles from our indigenous roots and the influence of Spanish, African, and other cultures.
So, when you take a bite of a taco, you’re tasting a bit of Mexico’s history and diversity. That’s why tacos are so special in Mexican cooking – they’re more than just food; they’re a symbol of who we are and a tasty way to connect with our past and each other.
In wrapping up, looking back at taco history isn’t just about how tacos have changed over time. It’s a story that’s woven with culture, tradition, and new ideas. From its start with ancient civilizations to becoming a big deal all over the world today, tacos have crossed borders and pleased taste buds everywhere.
Across the years, tacos have grown to be more than just a food. They’re a symbol of togetherness, different flavors, and shared moments.
As we think about taco history, we see how this dish has left its mark and how it keeps on going strong. With every bite, we’re thanking the folks who’ve put in years of work, love, and creativity to make tacos what they are today. So, let’s raise our tacos and cheer on the timeless story of taco history – a journey filled with flavor, tradition, and endless possibilities!