Traditional tacos in Mexico are a staple of the country’s cuisine and have become increasingly popular worldwide. These mouth-watering delights are known for their simple yet delicious ingredients and flavors that are deeply rooted in Mexican culture. From street vendors to high-end restaurants, tacos have become a beloved dish that represents the heart and soul of Mexico. In this article, we will explore the origins, ingredients, and preparation of traditional tacos, and how they have evolved over time.

A Brief History of Tacos

Tacos have been a staple of Mexican cuisine for centuries, with the word “taco” likely originating from the Nahuatl language. The first tacos were simple, with tortillas used as a vessel for filling with meat, beans, and other ingredients. As time passed, tacos became more sophisticated, with different regions of Mexico developing their unique variations.

Tacos al Pastor: A Mexico City Specialty

One of the most popular types of tacos in Mexico City is the al pastor taco, which originated from the Lebanese dish shawarma. The dish was brought to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants in the early 1900s and was adapted to local ingredients and flavors. Tacos al pastor are made by marinating pork in a blend of spices and pineapple before cooking it on a spit.

Tacos de Canasta: A Street Food Favorite

Another popular type of taco is the tacos de canasta, which translates to “basket tacos.” These tacos are typically sold by street vendors who carry them in large baskets, hence the name. They are made by filling steamed tortillas with beans, potatoes, or chicharron, and then placing them in a basket to keep them warm and moist.

Traditional Tacos: What Makes Them Special?

Traditional tacos in Mexico are different from their Americanized counterparts. For starters, they are made with soft corn tortillas, which have a more authentic flavor and texture than the hard shells used in the US. Additionally, traditional tacos are simple, with a few high-quality ingredients that are allowed to shine.

Key takeaway: Traditional tacos in Mexico are simple and made with high-quality ingredients, soft corn tortillas, and a variety of flavorful salsas. The type of meat used is important, and it’s essential to not overfill the tacos to avoid falling apart. Making traditional tacos at home is easy, but using high-quality ingredients and toasting the tortillas can make all the difference.

The Importance of Salsa

Salsa is an essential ingredient in traditional tacos, and there are countless varieties to choose from. Some of the most popular salsas include salsa roja, which is made with tomatoes and chiles, and salsa verde, which is made with tomatillos and chiles. Salsa is typically served on the side, allowing diners to adjust the spiciness to their liking.

Meat Matters

The type of meat used in a taco can make or break the dish. Traditional tacos in Mexico are typically made with pork, beef, or chicken, although there are vegetarian options available as well. The meat is usually seasoned with a blend of spices and cooked to perfection before being served in a tortilla.

Making Traditional Tacos at Home

Making traditional tacos at home is easier than you might think. Start by making or buying soft corn tortillas, then choose your filling and toppings. Whether you prefer beef, pork, or chicken, be sure to season the meat well before cooking it. Once the meat is cooked, assemble your tacos by placing a few pieces of meat in a tortilla and topping it with salsa, cilantro, and onion.

Tips for Success

  • Use high-quality ingredients: The better the ingredients, the better the tacos will taste.
  • Don’t overfill the tacos: Overfilling tacos can cause them to fall apart, so be sure to use a light hand when adding your fillings.
  • Toast the tortillas: Toasting the tortillas in a dry pan or on a griddle will give them a delicious smoky flavor.

FAQs for Traditional Tacos in Mexico

What are traditional tacos in Mexico?

Traditional tacos in Mexico are a staple of Mexican cuisine, consisting of a small tortilla made from corn or wheat, filled with various types of meat, vegetables, and herbs. The most common fillings are beef, pork, chicken, and fish, but some tacos are also filled with cactus, cheese, and other vegetables. The tortilla is then topped with different sauces, such as salsa, guacamole, or lime juice, depending on the region.

What are the differences between traditional tacos and Americanized tacos?

Traditional tacos in Mexico are quite different to Americanized tacos. The main difference lies in the tortilla, which is small, made from corn or wheat, and doubled up to hold the filling in place. In contrast, Americanized tacos feature larger, softer tortillas and different fillings such as ground beef, lettuce, and cheese. Additionally, Mexican tacos tend to be less processed and fresher with locally grown ingredients and less added salt and sugar.

How are traditional tacos served in Mexico?

Mexico has a variety of street vendors, stands, and taquerias selling traditional tacos. Customers usually order tacos by the piece or by the pound, the tortilla is heated on an open flame grill then filled with options, including meat, cheese, and vegetables available on spread out tables to choose from. Tacos are typically served on a small plate or in a paper wrapper, ready for immediate consumption.

Are traditional tacos spicy?

Traditionally, traditional tacos in Mexico are not necessarily spicy, but many tacos are served with spicy salsas or toppings, such as chili peppers, which can be added by preference for the customer. Mexicans themselves differentiate between spicy and mild tastes so restaurants or street vendors offer a selection of salsas to customers.

What time of the day are traditional tacos typically eaten?

Traditional tacos in Mexico can be eaten at any time of the day or night, as it is a popular food choice for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even as a late-night snack. It is common for street vendors to sell from early morning until late at night, which contributes to the popularity of tacos among Mexicans and tourists who want a quick, satisfying meal at any hour of the day.


By Juan

¡Hola amigos! Welcome to "Taco Rocoslo," your ultimate destination for everything taco-related! My name is Juan Carlos, and I'm the loco behind this mouth-watering blog. So, buckle up, because we're going on a wild ride through the delicious world of tacos, exploring everything from traditional Mexican flavors to funky fusion creations. As a proud Mexican with a passion for our rich culinary heritage, I'm here to celebrate the humble taco in all its glory.