Latin American gastronomy is becoming more and more popular in all countries. The techniques and seasonings from the other side of the pond appeal to the majority of the public. In fact, it is not unusual to find at least two restaurants in your city that offer this type of food. In particular, Mexican food has gone around the world in recent years, so that cheap taco stands can be found all over the streets of Madrid, and in Mexico it is impossible not to find a taqueria in every corner you go. But… What is the true origin of Mexican tacos? We tell you in mentta.
History of tacos
The origin of Mexican tacos is not known for sure, but there are several factors that prove the existence of this delicious recipe since ancient times. It all started with the traditional corn tortillas in pre-Hispanic Mexico. It is said that in Montezuma’s time, the corn tortilla was heated on a stone until it became the taco dough we know today. In this way, the tortita was used either as a plate to hold the chili and beans, or as a wrapper to send the food to the men who worked in the fields.
It is also said that, at the time of the conquest, Hernán Cortés had already begun to establish the tradition of tacos. In the book Historia Verdadera de la Conquista de la Nueva España (True History of the Conquest of New Spain) it is said that the first to organise a taquiza was Hernán Cortés. The tacos were accompanied by pork on top of the typical tortilla of the area. Taquizas are traditional Mexican banquets, where the taco is the protagonist. Many historians attribute the invention to Hernán Cortés, for being in charge of organising these banquets where both cultures coincided and merged.
Since then, over the years, different varieties of tacos have been created to complete the wide range we enjoy today. For example, in 1950 in Tlaxcala, the canasta taco was born. These were times of scarcity and this recipe is known for being quite economical, which is why from that year onwards, canasta tacos have become renowned to this day. Already in the sixties, in Mexico City and during the impact of the strong Lebanese migration, tacos al pastor were born. In this new recipe, the secret was to marinate the meat to change the flavour according to the ingredients available at the time. And so to this day, we have a wide variety of tacos, but… Which are the most famous?
Buy corn pancake flour at mentta
The most famous tacos
Tacos al pastor: the best known recipe in the world for its tastiness. The preparation of the meat in some places is very similar to that of the Kebab, as this recipe was born with the arrival of the Lebanese in Mexico City.
Tacos canasta: another of the most renowned dishes. Its recipe stands out for the presence of chicharrón or beans, and is based on a stew (which can vary) inside a corn tortilla.
Tacos cochinita pibil: from the Yucatan, the main characters of this dish are achiote and pork. It was formerly prepared by wrapping it in the peels of the macho banana tree.
Tacos nopal: the attraction of this taco lies in its main ingredient: the nopal cactus. It is a cactus native to Mexico, which is used in the kitchen for its flavour and versatility.
Tacos de carnitas: The name of this recipe honours the pork meat fried in lard (in Mexico they call it carnitas) and seasoned with cumin, black pepper and oregano. The remaining ingredients are white onion and cilantro.
We hope you have learned something about the origins of Mexican tacos, now it’s time to put what you have learned into practice and get in the kitchen!
- Anónimo (2018, 20 Marzo). Tradiciones: ¿Dónde nacen los tacos canasta?. La Voz de Querétalo. <https://lavozdequeretaro.com/sociedad/tradiciones-donde-nacen-los-tacos-de-canasta/>
- Lema, C (2018). Un recorrido por la historia del taco. Loscabosblog.com. <https://loscabosmexicoblog.com/es/historia-del-taco/>
- Leo (2019, 25 Marzo). Historia de los tacos, conoce el origen del platillo más popular de México. Topgastronómico.es. <https://www.topgastronomico.es/historia-de-los-tacos-conoce-el-origen-del-platillo-mas-popular-de-mexico/>
- Anónimo (2016,2 Julio). La historia del taco (dónde y cómo nació este icono mexicano). Masdemx.com. <https://masdemx.com/2016/07/la-historia-del-taco-donde-y-como-nacio-este-icono-mexicano/>
- Gotor, A. (2020, 4 Agosto). 9 tipos de tacos mexicanos. Cehipar.com. <https://www.cehipar.es/tipos-de-tacos-mexicanos/>
- Melara, J. (2020, 20 Julio). Tacos al pastor, receta tradicional. CocinaFácil.com. <https://www.cocinafacil.com.mx/recetas-de-comida/receta/tacos-al-pastor/>
- Castellanos, A. (2021, 29 Abril). Cuál es el origen de los tacos. ElUniversal.com.mx. <https://www.eluniversal.com.mx/menu/conoce-cual-es-el-origen-de-los-tacos-y-su-paso-por-la-historia>