Tasty Mexican-Style Tacos

When I tasted this taco al pastor, I felt that I needed to share my happiness with someone else. The intense mixture of flavours just ran through my mouth. I could feel the sweet pork meat with pineapple and the coriander hanging around in harmony. This perfect combination made me realize that I must inform people about the best Mexican street food, most often called “Tacos”.

 

Tacos al Pastor
Tacos al Pastor Photo credit: José Carvalho

 

First of all: what is a taco? A taco is basically a tortilla filled with ingredients like meat, chicken, spicy sausage, etc.

A tortilla is a flat bread made with corn or wheat flour. After choosing which type of tortilla you want, mix the flour with water and salt. This will create a masa dough that you later transform into little balls with your hands. Then, you put it in a press so it becomes a round, flat shape of about 4.5 inches in diameter.

I know this sounds very simple. It’s not. I have tried it several times and the final result looked like a flat tire. Watching Mexican women prepare them can be considered an art form of traditional Mexican food preparation. Also, if you want a laugh, I recommend trying to make them at home. At least, that was the case with me. And I know that even flat-tire homemade tortillas taste better than those you buy at the shop.

After being flattened, the masa dough is cooked in a hot “comal”  and it’s then filled with the main ingredients. When all this is complete the taco is served to you so you can top it off with whatever toppings you wish.

Cast Iron Comal
Cast Iron Comal Photo Credit: Geoff Lane

 

Normally, the main ingredients are cooked slowly in a type of a sauté pan. An exception is the Taco al Pastor mentioned above. “Al Pastor” is a way to slowly cook a pork leg on a metal spit with a pineapple on top to add a bit of sweetness. After all this is cooked, you just put everything in a tortilla and transform it into a taco.

 

Street Tacos in Punta de Mita
Street Tacos in Punta de Mita; Photo credit: José Carvalho

 

The process of cooking slowly makes the juices of the meat – or whatever main ingredient you choose – tastier. After all this, if you feel that your taco needs to have more juice, you can choose between a spicy chile tomato sauce, an avocado sauce, a really spicy chili sauce, or the “Mexican salt”, commonly known as lime.

According to history, tacos have been around since the “Conquistador”, Hernan Cortes, was born in 1485. As soon as he found out about this marvelous food, he immediately threw a taco rave.

Mexicans only used to make simple fish tacos, but as time went by the art of making tacos evolved – like phones have over the past decade. Now there are numerous types of this incredible food with different mixtures and flavours.

Normally, taco stands can be found on the streets everywhere in México. These spots are not very sophisticated, but they sure have a lot of good food!

Despite what I just said, restaurants do sell tacos. In fact, there are restaurants that sell great exotic types of tacos, but they do not entirely follow the street food tradition.

However, to really have the full taco experience, I recommend going to the street places and not the restaurants. And, of course, the money you spend in these places helps the families who run them make them better for the future.

 

Taco Toppings
So many delicious toppings. What’s not to love? Photo credit: José Carvalho

 

The best thing about street tacos – and probably the thing that will make you the most happy – is that tacos cost about 10 to 18 pesos. This means you can get a taco for less than a dollar.

Having said all this who does not want to try a taco?

Next week, from head to toe and all points in between, more about the fillings you can expect to find in an authentic Mexican Street Taco.

 

Ciao!
Bibas

Jose Carvalho

Jose Carvalho, known to his friends as Bibas, is an 18-year-old student living both Portugal and in Punta Mita, Mexico. His life is pretty simple: he studies five days a week, has fun with his friends over the weekend and satisfies his passion for surf whenever there are waves! He would like to share all the cool stuff in both places with other people his age.