No quiero Taco Bell!

17 Aug

What’s a taco?

Tacos compete with burritos and enchiladas for being the most well known Mexican dish outside of Mexico. There is a very good chance that you have tasted one, or at least seen one, even if you have never left Australia.

Tacos are small, round, soft and flat savoury maize cakes served folded in half and filled with a whole lot of different meats and or cheese and salsas. They are abundant in Mexico and make for a great breakfast, lunch, dinner or beer snack. Maybe not all in the one day.

Where can I find the best tacos in Mexico

Mexican charcoal chicken joints known as roticeros sell the best chicken tacos in the country. At these places the chicken is usually freshly cooked and juicy and the portions are generous. Often roticeros will also serve complimentary barbequed onions and chilies, which make a good addition to your tacos. Rosticeros are everywhere in Mexico city so you shouldn’t have trouble finding one.

The best place in Mexico to find all other types of tacos are local taquerias, small local restaurants or take-away only set-ups that specialise in the preparation of this favourite national snack.

The most commonly available taco flavours include;

  • Bifsteak; Large chunks of or finely chopped carved beef, or sometimes Sharwama-style beef
  • Chorizo: rich and fatty spanish sausages chopped up into tiny pieces
  • Queso; with melted cheese as the key ingredient makes a good option for vegetarians

Those who aren’t fans of spicy food will be pleased to know that tacos aren’t generally served spicy.

Taquerias will always provide a range of condiments to customers who are free to mix and match salsas and other extras on offer to make their tacos as spicy as they desire.

In addition to the omnipresent salsa roja and salsa verde, taquerias usually have a fresh spicy, vinegar-based salsa made from chopped up tomatoes, onions, capsicum and coriander, extra coriander, and sometimes spicy pickled chilies and carrots. I am a big fan of the latter, but I have made the unfortunate mistake of adding too many jalepenos to my tacos for my gringa tastebuds and have had to surrender my too-hot tacos to Alex, who has a much greater chili tolerance then I do.

A word of warning for the taco consumer; use common sense when shopping for these snacks. Like any food tacos can make you sick if they have been unhygienically prepared or left to sit uncovered in the open or in a lukewarm baymarie for long enough.

No matter how sorry you feel for the lonely old man unsuccessfully hawking tacos across the road from his busy competition, always buy your tacos from popular vendor or restaurant where there is a good chance that the food is freshly prepared. It is always better if you can see your tacos being made to order.

How much do tacos in Mexico cost?

When I first arrived in Mexico City I asked my hostal manager how much tacos cost. They guy refused to give me even a ball park figure. Tacos, he explained, are made and sold by everyone from the most modest street vendor to the most upmarket restaurants and cafes in the Country, and so the prices vary accordingly.

The cheapest tacos I have seen in Mexico were being flogged at 4 pesos are piece by a street vendor, though I would say the average price is 8 pesos per taco at the budget end. Often cheap taquerias discount plates of tacos selling 5 for between for 25 – 35 pesos. This would definitely be a big enough meal for one hungry person, and enough for two if you aren’t famished.

One Response to “No quiero Taco Bell!”

  1. kim flannery August 17, 2010 at 5:37 am #

    Hi Kristie
    Sounds good! Glad you are being careful. I wouldn’t want you eating anything ‘Tacky” excuse the pun!
    Love Mummy

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