In search of the essence of the favorite food of Mexicans


Taco is one of the most popular foods in the country. There is a great variety of them and cover all the regions of Mexico. There are tacos for lunch and tacos for dinner, some others are for dinner. Please do not confuse them because there is a firm belief that if you eat a carnitas taco at night, it can make you heavy. And the suadero tacos in the morning don’t taste the same. what’s more, hardly any taqueria that prepares tacos de pastor and suadero will find you open in the mornings. Of course, if you come from the party and it’s still early in the morning, you’re forgiven if you want to have some tacos for lower the alcohol or wakefulness.

The ideals for breakfast they are barbecue. With its broth, chickpeas and very warm tortillas. Also the birria tacos are the favorites of many in the mornings. Almost any taco that is accompanied by a consommé is well received for lunch.

But if what you want is to enjoy a tasty taco at mealtime, stew tacos are the option. There is egg with rice, stuffed chilies, potatoes with slices, squash blossoms and an infinite variety. Moreover, almost any stew can be made into a taco. There are also those of cochinita pibil or those of mixiote. Although the latter are more versatile. The ideal ones for those of us who are in a hurry are the basket ones.

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If we could make a cartography of the taco and how it moves in our daily lives, we would be surprised. There are almost as many taquerias as there are schools.

The geographer Baruch Sanginés He made a map where we can see almost all the taquerias in the country. In Mexico, there is one taqueria for every 1,000 inhabitants.

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But all this ode to the taco leads me to ask. What is it that makes a taco THAT?

Is it the place where you eat it? Many would think that certain tacos are only eaten on the street. What they have no place in a restaurant because they come from the neighborhood, from the town. It is unthinkable to eat tacos de pastor that do not come from a top spinning over low heat.

Is it the way you prepare? Because some say that “if it’s not greasy, it’s not tasty.” There is no room for the neatness of a chef in a traditional taqueria. This does not mean that it is not clean. Of course not. But the stains of the sauce, the grease that splashes or the lemon juices that fly out in the eyes of the other diners would be an aberration in haute cuisine.

Is it the ingredients that compose it? Even though the tortilla is the base of the tacoit doesn’t always come from corn. In the north of the country, for example, asada tacos with wheat flour tortillas are very common. Or a barbecue that does not come from the flavor of having baked it in a stone oven covered with maguey leaves may be a scam in flavor.

Tacos have the wonder of being whatever they want to be. They are eaten by all social classes. Foreigners love them. They are the maximum representation of the benefits that corn brings to our lives. We could list the wonders of eating tacos, classify them and put them to compete. But the beauty of this dish is that there are as many combinations as there are tastes. Preserve this food and our gastronomic identity doesn’t mean keep it static. The taco is reinvented, recreated and shared again.

Long live the tacos!


Also in Surf Pajamas: “Las Crónicas del Taco”, the visual encyclopedia of the most popular Mexican dish in the world

Cover image: Getty Images