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TACO: The art of eating with tortilla



The taco is the best known and the most popular of Mexican street foods, and the first to be embraced north of the border into the United States. A taco simply is a folded tortilla with some kind of filling. Mexican street taco fillings vary from one region to another. Most tacos are made with corn tortillas, except in the very north of the country where wheat flour tortillas dominate. The tortillas used in Mexican tacos are soft, although the entire taco can be fried, which is called “dorado” (lit. golden). The taco has its origins in the pre Hispanic period, when other foods were eaten with tortillas, used as a scoop. The modern taco developed in Mexico’s rural areas when wives would bring their husband’s meals to the fields wrapped in tortillas.

Tacos arrived to the city when stands began to sell foods known to the many rural people who migrated to them in the 20th century. This is especially true for Mexico City, which offers taco specialties from just about every region of the country. The taco bridges social and economic barriers in that everyone in the country eats them, leading it to be called “the most democratic of Mexican foods.

Street tacos are almost universally open faced, showing off their various contents, and are folded and consumed in a handful of bites. Many street tacos come with an extra soft taco stacked under the first, allowing some of the contents to be shifted to more manageable and cleaner bites.

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