Whether you like them mild or extra spicy, hard shell or soft, veggie only or covered in meat, tacos have always been and continue to be one of the staples not only in Mexican cuisine, but American as well. There are so many different types of tacos out there, and in the past few years “street tacos” have become the go-to option for diners of all types.
What Makes a Taco a “Street Taco”?
When you walk down the streets of most Mexican cities, chances are you will see dozens of little stands dotted across the roads. These are some of the best places in the world to buy what are known as street tacos.
On a basic level, these tacos are no different than the traditional items you would buy in a restaurant. However, street tacos are smaller in size than “traditional” tacos and most orders feature three small options on a single plate.
Most street tacos are made with soft tortillas instead of hard, crispy shells as this is how they were traditionally served on the streets of Mexico. For many Mexican food fanatics, authenticity is important when it comes to these tacos, as Mexico has one of the most extensive street food cultures in the world; meaning for many, it is important that those replicating it get it right.
Another differentiating factor? These street tacos also have a second tortilla wrapped around them.
What this does is it makes the street tacos easier to walk around and carry so you can eat them on-the-go. In fact, this is why these tacos earned their names, merchants would sell them on the street so that busy professionals and tourists alike could take their tacos with them while on-the-go for a cleaner, easier eating process.
Some vendors in Mexico may also ask patrons first if they would rather have one sell instead of two when selling traditional street tacos. This is something that has recently become popular among taco-fanatics who want to skip the extra carbohydrates.
If you’re still trying to figure out what makes a taco, a street taco, it all comes down to size and packaging.
What Are the Most Common Types of Street Tacos?
In today’s market, everyone from gourmet restaurants to modern food trucks are selling street tacos in virtually any style, flavor and with any filling imaginable. However, traditionally pastor tacos and fish tacos were the most common types of street tacos in Mexico.
A traditional taco, on the other hand, as most people know, are much more versatile in terms of shell and filling. The major difference of course being the size and the single shell. In general, hard or crispy shell tacos are much more common in the United States and served as “traditional” tacos.
Today as street tacos have become more and more Americanized in the United States, chances are diners will see street tacos in a variety of options including beef, chicken, pork, chorizo and everything in between.
Why Are Street Tacos Having a Resurgence?
While some diners may think that their handheld street tacos are a new, fancy, foodie-only delicacy, these tacos have actually been around for decades. Street tacos are nothing new, but their place in popular American establishments are. While there is no real “reason” for street tacos to be popular all-of-a-sudden a great deal of their resurgence likely has to do with the popularity of food trucks.
These conveniently-sized, handheld versions of traditional tacos are perfect for street trucks who sell meals to people who need to eat on-the-go without the mess. As these tacos continue to boom in popularity, chances are diners are going to see more and more takes on the traditional street tacos with new flavors, meats and styles hitting the market.
Whether they come in slow-cooked pork, spicy shrimp or anything in between, there is one thing for certain; when street tacos are on the menu diners are getting a treat they know they can easily grab and enjoy all in the palm of their hand.