We know, Mexican food is much more than tacos, but they’re undeniably the countries staple food. The thing is, tacos come in all shapes and sizes; almost anything, from stewed beef to zucchini flowers, from pulled pork to wild mushrooms, everything goes, and it’s all good.
Hundreds of taco versions exist, both in Mexico and in the US, so we thought we should go deep into our top five, in reality just the peak of the iceberg.
Al Pastor Tacos
Shepherd tacos or tacos al pastor are Mexico City’s most popular taco style. Specialized eateries or taquerías serve this delicacy all day long; some are open 24 hours.
Thinly sliced pork meat is marinated in a spicy, red mixture of chilis, garlic, onion, orange juice and vinegar. Then the meat is slowly piled up, impaled and cooked on a Kebab-like vertical rotisserie. The spinning lump of meat cooks evenly and chars beautifully.
Sliced to order, and placed on a corn tortilla, pastor tacos are always garnished with a chunk of roasted pineapple and topped with finely diced onion and cilantro.
Al Pastor tacos are incredibly flavorful, and satisfying, often served in small tortillas, expect to eat more than five.
Tacos de canasta
These are the popular breakfast tacos that sell from bicycle carts in every other corner of Mexico’s cities.
Prepared beforehand, corn tortillas are filled with various fillings; the most popular are mashed beans, potatoes, and pressed pork skin. Tacos are then tightly piled inside a hand-woven basket and covered with a tablecloth. The heat and humidity inside the basket give the tacos a compressed texture that is simply impossible to replicate.
Simple as they may sound, the two-bite sized tacos are delicious, especially with a spoonful of chunky, green, homemade salsa.
Carnita tacos are a popular Sunday lunch that need long hours of preparation. A whole pig is pit roasted and then deboned before service. The whole animal is used as technically skilled butchers finely dice the meat to serve it in freshly made corn tortillas.
You can order lean meat, or can try bolder cuts; pigskin, and tripes are unique and make tacos of intense flavor. A drizzle of fresh lime juice and diced onion and cilantro are a must. Salsas, both red and green, make the tacos perfection.
Suadero tacos have a reputation for being messy, cheap, and sometimes dubious. The thing is, Mexican people, always creative, use the most unusual parts of an animal to create amazing preparations.
Suadero is thin flank steak, an often-discarded cut of meat that can be a hard chew. The meat is deep fried and cut into thin slices before ending up on a tortilla, often dipped in the fat.
These are hearty tacos and for many the perfect hangover cure. Often found at late hours, suadero vendors become legends, and their tacos often live up to the hype.
Go ahead and try a new taco. A universe of flavor awaits. Every day can be taco Tuesday if you know where to look.