As I'm gearing up for some travel through the Yucatán Peninsula, where cochinita pibil tacos for breakfast await, here's a look at some of the most delicious tacos I've had the pleasure of indulging during my previous travels to Mexico:
Taco al pastor
The mighty taco al pastor, local to Mexico City and Puebla: Thin layers of marinated pork are roasted on a vertical revolving spit; for serving, the meat is sliced off into a warm corn tortilla, along with a hunk of pineapple (which often sits at the top of the spit), chopped onion, and cilantro. (The meat's telltale orange-red coloring comes from the achiote, or annatto seeds, in the marinade.) The world is forever in debt to east-central Mexico's Lebanese immigrants for this one.
Taco de carnitas
Another pork favorite, this time from Michoacán, in which meat and organs are slow-cooked together until soft, then seasoned and fried up in its own juices and lard—and then chopped into taco meat. The result? Taco de carnitas – a heavenly mix of tender meat, fat, and fried bits that simultaneously melts and crunches in your mouth!
The cousin to the taco al pastor, this one a little more boastful of its Lebanese heritage. It’s essential that delicious al pastor pork in a slightly different marinade (no achiote, for one thing), shaved off the spit, and nestled into toasted pan árabe, a soft pita-like bread, rather than a corn tortilla—kind of like a Mexican shwarma.
The aforementioned chicharrón-topped specimen, taco campechano is an ultimate Mexican cuisine delicacy that combines several meats—beef and pork in various encarnations—within the warm embrace of a corn tortilla. This one, from Mexico City, includes cecina de res (thinly sliced, salted beef), chicharrón, and longaniza (spicy pork sausage), along with various salsas, onions, and lime on the side. A full-blown party of flavors and textures.
Taco de canasta
Translated to “tacos of the basket,” literally, are steamed tacos, a popular mobile treat often served by people on the street out of cloth-covered baskets. They’re soft and moist, with fillings like chicharrón, mole verde, potato, and refried beans, which is what this one was. These are also known as tacos sudados—“ sweated tacos”—but despite that rather unappealing name, they're absolutely delicious!
Taco de birria
Birria, spicy, stew-like marinated lamb or goat, hails from the east-central state of Jalisco, but is popular in Mexico City too, where it’s often served as a taco and offered with a side of consomé, a broth. Slow-braised, super moist, and well-sauced, this meat falls apart on your tongue.
Taco de suadero
Another delectable taco in the slow-cooked meat category, taco de suadero is tender beef brisket, somewhat similar to pork carnitas in texture but softer and meltier. Here it's topped with onions and cilantro in D.F., where suadero is everywhere.
*This article was originally published on Laura’s website, EatYourWorld.com. All photos are by Laura and may not be used without permission.
Looking to sample these scrumptious tacos all across Mexico and learn how you can prepare them from scratch in your own kitchen? Why not go on an exciting food tour in Mexico? At BookCulinaryVacations.com, we have a vast selection for you to choose from!