The taco: Mexican cuisine’s Swiss Army Knife.
Simple, portable, and delicious, it’s no surprise that tacos have become a mainstay of Mexican cuisine and even spread across the world. But if you’re tired of the same old tacos, then it’s time to appreciate the incredible variety of this dish.
Here are some traditional types of tacos you need to know.
Tacos al Pastor
Tacos al pastor prove that great-tasting food doesn’t have to be complicated and flashy. The concept is simple: take one giant hunk of marinated pork, grill it on a vertical spit, then shave with a knife.
The result is combined with taco staples like onions and cilantro and often paired with pineapple, all of it served on a tortilla. Simple? Yes. Delicious enough to stand the test of time? Absolutely.
Who doesn’t love a sweaty taco? Okay, the name may not sound appealing, but it simply refers to the post-cook steaming of the taco, which ensures a soft, delectable finish.
Tacos sudados (also known as tacos de canasta or tacos al vapor) are defined by the style of cooking, so the filling is up to you, from the many types of taco meat to vegetarian options.
Tacos de cabeza
This one’s all in the name: cabeza means “head” and there’s nothing metaphorical about the term. Tacos de cabeza are made from the cooked head of an animal and use just about every part of it.
Types of tacos de cabeza include those made with the tongue, eyes, ears, cheeks, tongue and even the brain—that last one often being a surprise to diners more familiar with anglosphere cuisine.
Tacos de cazo
If in doubt, cook it in a bucket. That’s the tacos de cazo way.
Often used to make even leftovers delicious, this style of taco involves deep-frying meat in buckets of fat and then, of course, piling it on a tortilla.
Tinga de Pollo Tacos
Tinga de Pollo is a popular and versatile shredded chicken dish that you can serve in all sorts of ways, and which has earned its place in any recipe workbook. No surprise, then, that it also goes great as a taco dish with all the usual taco garnishes.
Tacos de pescado
You might associate tacos with the likes of beef, pork, and chicken, but you can be sure that where there are fish, there are fish tacos.
Understandably popular in the coastal areas of Mexico, fish tacos have also spread to the likes of California in the US. While fresh fish usually provides the best results, the convenience of modern supply chains also means you can enjoy tacos de pescado even when you’re a long way from the coast.
Tackling Types of Tacos
These different types of tacos are only a glimpse of the versatility offered by the humble taco. There’s a good reason this tasty dish has survived so long and taken so many forms. The sky’s the limit, so try out these traditional dishes and then go one better by experimenting to create your own.
Looking to devour more food culture? Check our Foods section often for more delicious treats.