el taco

Updated: Oct 3, 2021

Welcome back to the blog! Today we’re learning about the humble taco. The word ‘taco’ comes from the Nahuatl word tlahco meaning ‘half’ or ‘in the middle’, which tells us exactly how to fold and eat a taco!

Where do they come from?

The taco dates all the way back to Pre-Hispanic Mexico, where the tortilla was used to hold the filling, almost like a spoon. Wives would wrap a tortilla around their chosen filling and send it out to their husbands working in the fields. Later on, in the 18th century, tacos were a simple food for those working down in the mines: easy to transport and easy to eat. Today, they are still one of the most popular and integral parts of Mexican cuisine and remain readily available on every street corner in Mexico. Easy to find, cheap to buy and easy to eat. Not to mention delicious!

How do you make them and what goes inside?

There are many, many different ways to prepare tacos, but the key ingredients remain the same: tortilla, filling and salsa. There are many accompaniments too, such as onion, coriander and of course, lime. When we sat down to eat at Las Ranas, a very famous traditional restaurant in Puebla, Mexico, salsas and limes were already on the table before we had even ordered our food! The condiments of Mexican cuisine, if you will.

Here are just a few different ways to prepare tacos:

Tacos de canasta or ‘basket tacos’ - the tacos are packed tightly into a bicycle basket and hot oil poured on top to add flavour and enable steaming. The vendor cycles round the neighbourhood and sells tacos directly from his bicycle. (This was a very early idea for Casa Coco's pop-up restaurant!)