What Is a Real Street Taco?

This entry was posted in Food History and tagged , , on by .

What is a real street taco… inquiring minds want to know. So, we thought we’d lay it all out there in an attempt to inform, educate and call out the street taco posers. And they’re out there. But how did this happen?

Like any other hip, people pleasing product or service, once something catches on in popularity, everyone wants to take a piece and call it their own. And so it goes with the street taco.

To help you distinguish between a real street taco and, well, the so-not-street-taco, here are the basics.

Elements of a Real Street Taco

It’s smaller than what you’d find at that fast food chain with a bell on top (hint, hint). Street tacos were designed to eat on the go and found in street vendor carts or trucks. For the traditionally authentic street taco, you won’t see a flour tortilla this side of the Arizona border (or for that matter the other side of Mazatlan). It’s all about the maiz/corn.

Real street tacos start with soft, warm, corn tortillas, approximately 6 inches in size (give or take a few if they’re homemade) and double-stacked to hold the toppings in place. Is your mouth watering yet?

Where’s the beef? This is where the flavor gets interesting. Real street tacos won’t hold ground beef. It’s sacrilegious. Instead, these handfuls of wonder will adorn anything from chicken, carne asada (beef) or carnitas (pork), al pastor (pork) and birria (beef or chicken). But there’s more to it.

Real street tacos wouldn’t dare touch a frying pan either. The meat filling gets its succulent taste from specialty herbs and spices, marinating in its own juices until it gently lay atop a mesquite grill.

Now not all street tacos find their way through mesquite, but it’s how Backyard Taco delights the mouths of its patrons. Delicately chopped into small pieces and highlighted with fresh cilantro, a sprinkling of finely diced onions, and a lil’ wedge of lime, real street tacos don’t hide behind other condiments or rabbit food (lettuce and such). They are meant to allow the irresistible seasoning to come through.

The combination of all these elements equates to a real street taco.

Real Street Taco Side Fare

For those who want the full on Mazatlan Tacos al Carbon experience, you can get it all at Backyard Taco, including the extras on the side. The authentic south-of-the-border experience wouldn’t be the same without pickled carrots, onions, peppers and jalapenos. Sure, there are salsas to choose from too but there’s no need to dress up the real thing.

Street Taco Etiquette

Just like its namesake, these types of tacos serve to satiate the palate and today’s schedules. Many people spend their days busy with work, kids, and the onslaught of too many obligations. Real street tacos provide the perfect culinary answer. Packed with protein, they give hunger a powerful punch in a short amount of time.

And for millennials looking for a quick meal, real street tacos don’t require a plate or silverware. Just a napkin or two, a steady hand and defining just the right moment to open wide, lean in, take a bite, and enjoy!

Get Real, Have a Real Street Taco.