I never knew there were so many types of tacos. Check this out: Tacos come in all shapes and sizes, in corn or flour tortillas, and filled with ingredients that run the gamut from grilled veggies to fried fish. What’s a taco neophyte to do? Look no further than this handy taco guide, including where to eat them in Greater Phoenix.
Soft tacos are the original, oldest and most common, with soft white corn tortillas, then filled with regional toppings. The best soft taco I have ever eaten was in Mexico City, while on a foodie tour.
Hard tacos began in Mexican restaurants in the US in the 1940s, though Taco Bell founder, Glen Bell makes the claim. Mexican cookbooks instruct us as to frying the corn tortilla, and shape it into its iconic U shape. The typical Mexican American taco contains ground beef with cheese, tomato, lettuce, onion, salsa, and sour cream. I like a little avocado or chopped jalapenos in mine.
Street tacos might be the most iconic taco form on the street or anywhere else. Often served open face, and two or three to a plate, these soft tacos fit comfortably in your hand. But if they are good, the tacos make a big mess on your hands! But street tacos can be made from lamb, duck, shrimp, and my favorite, lingua!!
Breakfast tacos are really any tacos that can be served before lunch time. Though scrambled eggs and chorizo are the most common ingredients, they can be served all the way to noon and beyond. Most likely, some avocado and pico de gallo are added, along with some beans. I prefer it as a scramble on a platter. The First Watch in Scottsdale makes the best, though they call it huevos rancheros.
Fry bread tacos originated in America’s Native American tribes. The dough is rolled flat, and fried until crispy on the outside, while soft and chewy on the inside. Classic toppings are ground beef, beans, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese. A sweeter version contains sugar and honey. The Fry Bread House here has won a James Beard Award. I think it might be worth a try!
Tacos de Canasta is not a card game, but a “basket” that holds the tacos after they are made. These are fried tacos, filled with potatoes or refried beans. These are often sold by bicycle vendors on the streets of Mexico.
Baja Fish Tacos might be the most popular these days, often embellished with cabbage, pico de gallo, and crema sauce. The plentiful waters of Baja include shark, sand bass, and other white fish. I like mine with a big squeeze of lime, pickled onion, and chile crema.
Al Pastor tacos have their origins in Lebanon. Some Lebanese became lost in central Mexico, bringing their grilled meats, similar to their kabobs and gyros. In Mexico, pork is the preferred grilled meat, marinated in chiles and spices, cooked very slowly. It is often served with onions, cilantro and pineapple.
Vegan tacos muscled their way into the mainstream of tacos, using faux meat, or grilled veggies. I heard the crispy artichoke tacos get rave reviews, along with the masa-battered cauliflower. Sounds rather exotic, but I would definitely try the artichoke tacos.
You have probably had your favorite version of the taco somewhere. Please feel free to tell me, and I might want to try it. In my view, anything is better with a taco in your hands. But this area, needless to say, has a complete variety of tacos.
Anyway, I love a good taco. Don’t you?