Today while I was enjoying a taco at a street stall not far from my home, I decided it was high time that the truth came out about the taco and what really makes up this staple Mexican meal.
Firstly, do not be fooled by the hard taco. It is an impostor in disguise. Tacos are not actually hard, unless you get a taco dorado which is really just a deep fried taco. Real Mexican tacos are actually made with soft tortillas and they are much more than just a bit of meat slopped onto a tortilla. There are good ones, bad ones and so many to choose from it’s hard to know where to start to just to help you out, here is the low down on the art of the taco:
Since there seems to be no limit as to what parts of an animal is edible here you can find shocking combinations such as brain (sesos), tongue (lengua) and intestines (tripas) among others. On the other hand tenderloin (lomo), tenderloin with skin (maciza) and ribs (costilla) are the safe and more delicious bets while trompa, buche and surtida should only be tried by those who have no fear of eating pigs nose, pigs stomach or a lucky dip combination of everything on the menu. hmm.
Also tasting good and not too risky are milanesa (breaded fried steak), chile relleno (a jalapeno chilli stuffed and fried), papa con chorizo (potato and chorizo), barbacoa (meat stew) and all time favourite pastor (marinated, spit roasted pork). And just think I probably haven’t even listed half of the kinds of tacos you can find in Mexico.
So once you’re done worrying about what kind of taco you want, you can move onto the topping with a choice of cilantro, lime, salt, fresh onion, nopales (cactus), pico de gallo (a chunky salsa) frijoles refritos (refried beans) and many different salsas, each varying in colour and spiciness.
The variety offered also depends on where you are eating your tacos, which in itself opens a the door to another whole set of options. You can find tacos in street stalls, restaurants, market stalls, supermarkets, parks, outside butchers, you name it. You’ll probably find a taco or two there.
This may all seem overwhelming at first but here you have it; the art of the taco, much more intricate than meets the eye but so delicious you won’t be complaining about having to try them all out. Well I guess that depends on your level of adventure – just make sure you ask before you order to avoid any unwanted, um, delicacies making their way onto your plate.