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A Guide to Different Types of Tacos

taco is a traditional dish from Mexico that consists of a wheat or corn tortilla topped with some ingredients that make up a filling. After that, the tortilla is folded and then eaten by hand. Due to their versatility, tacos can include different types of meat, vegetables, sauces, and other toppings, bringing a wide variety of colors and flavors.

5-Minute Crafts will show you some of the most popular types of tacos and their main characteristics.

1. Al Pastor

This is considered one of the most popular types of tacos in Mexico. It was originally introduced by Lebanese immigrants, who brought the shawarma meat cooking style to the country and used it as the foundation of this variety.

The main ingredients found in Al Pastor tacos are marinated pork or beef, onion, cilantro, and pineapple. At the same time, these tacos are known by different names depending on the region. For instance, they’re called “Tacos Arabes” in Puebla, while they’re known as “Tacos de Trompo” in the north, where they’re also seasoned with smoky paprika.

2. Barbacoa

Barbacoa tacos are prepared with beef cuts, which have been seasoned with a combination of chilis and other spices, and then slow-cooked barbecue style. After that, the piece of meat is chopped and put into corn tortillas. This type of taco can be accompanied by lime and other ingredients.

In most parts of Mexico, this variety is usually made with sheep or goat meat. However, in certain areas of Northern Mexico and the United States, it can be filled with head meat or beef cheeks.

3. Bistec

Bistec tacos are often prepared with thin pieces of steak cooked on a flat surface, which makes them take only a few seconds to be ready. After that, the grilled meat is served along with serrano peppers and onions, either with flour or corn tortillas. In some places, they may also add some cheese.

4. Canasta

Tacos de Canasta, or basket tacos, are considered the authentic street taco as they were sold from baskets on the streets of Mexico City at a cheap price.

They’re usually steamed and can be filled with different ingredients, such as potatoes, beans, chicken, grilled mutton, and mole verde. Tacos de Canasta are traditionally eaten as a morning snack and are often sold by street vendors who ride a bicycle.

5. Carnitas

This type of taco is thought to originally come from Michoacan, a state in Central Mexico. Carnitas, which translates literally as “little meats,” is a taco ingredient made from shredded pork, which is cooked in its own fat and seasoned with several different spices and herbs, including garlic, cumin, chili, thyme, oregano, and bay leaves.

You can enjoy Carnitas tacos with spicy salsa, cilantro, lime, onion, and other pork cuts like oxtail, and ribs.

6. Chicharron

Besides being a popular snack in Mexico and other parts of Latin America, Chicharron also serves as a common taco filling. Chicharron is mainly fried pork skin or pork rinds, which usually have a crispy and crunchy texture. However, when added to tacos, chicharron is simmered in different spices, giving it a softer flavor.

This ingredient can be used as the main meat filling in a taco, or as a crunchy topping. Moreover, Chicharron tacos can be enjoyed with salsa verde, and lime or zesty lemon garnishes.

7. Cochinita Pibil

You can find these in most parts of Mexico, but especially in Merida and Chichen Itza. These are one of the most popular types of tacos in the country.

They are mainly prepared with slow-roasted pork and a spicy sauce made with orange juice, achiote chili paste, and other spices, including cinnamon and cloves. Then, the tortillas are topped with habanero sauce and pickled red onions.

8. Dorados

Tacos dorados or golden tacos are also called taquitos or flautas. These tacos are rolled-up and usually deep-fried in order to get a crispy texture. They’re first stuffed with ingredients like seasoned meat, cheese, potatoes, or beans. After that, this fried taco is served on a dish along with cheese or sauce.

While you can easily eat traditional tacos with your hands, you may need a fork and a knife to enjoy this variety.

9. Gobernador

Tacos Gobernador, which translates as “governor’s tacos,” consist of warm tortillas filled with a mixture of grated cheese, shrimp, onions, coriander, and tomatoes. Afterward, the tortillas are folded, brushed with a layer of butter, and cooked over a griddle at medium heat.

These tacos are usually served with hot chili sauce and lime wedges. Besides Sinaloa, Tacos Gobernador are also very popular in Baja California.

10. Lengua

Lengua translates to tongue in English, which is the main ingredient used for this type of taco. Here, beef tongue is often slow-cooked for a long period of time, which leads to a very smooth texture, the total opposite of what many people may think about this ingredient.

Tacos de Lengua can be enjoyed with different fillings, which may depend on personal choices. However, due to its texture, beef tongue is perfect to be paired with salsas, lime juice, and coriander.

11. De Pescado

Tacos de Pescado, or fish tacos, were originally prepared with cheap shark meat. However, they are now made with different types of fish, such as fried cod, salmon, and smoked marlin. At the same time, they may be served along with lettuce or cabbage and topped with mayonnaise or sour cream.

12. Suadero

Suadero tacos are usually linked to Mexico City. This variety is prepared with beef that has been cooked for a long period of time. Afterward, it’s seared and cut into small pieces. It’s often marinated in a mixture of lemon and orange juice overnight, which gives it a soft texture.

💡 Suadero typically refers to the meat found between the belly and the leg of the cow.

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