Jun 072014

A taco is a corn or wheat tortilla folded or rolled around other edible ingredients, and designed to be eaten by hand – the indigenous Mexican equivalent of a sandwich. Tacos are extremely versatile and often accompanied by garnishes such as tomatoes, onions, lettuce, radishes, and avocado or guacamole, topped with salsa and cilantro.

Who would have thought that the humble taco was worth its own encyclopaedia? This particular encyclopaedia includes a fascinating graphic – a map (see graphic) summarizing the different regional varieties of taco commonly found in different parts of the country.

The accompanying terminology used to describe all these tacos is mind-blowing, but a small sampling will give you the idea:

Regional varieties of Mexican tacos

Regional varieties of Mexican tacos. Credit: La tacopedia. Enciclopedia del taco (Spanish Edition) . Click to enlarge.

The map is by no means an exhaustive list, but does include examples of taco specialties for every state.

The two states occupying the Baja California Peninsula both have seafood-based tacos:

  • Baja California – tacos de langosta con frijoles (lobster and beans tacos)
  • Baja California Sur – tacos de marlin ahumado (smoked marlin tacos)

The tacos popular in some states reveal less about their ingredients:

  • Aguascalientes – tacos mineros (miner’s tacos)
  • Coahuila – tacos laguneros (Laguna region tacos)
  • Morelos – tacos acorazados (battleship tacos)
  • Puebla – taquitos miniatura (miniature tacos)

For some unusual ingredients, try:

  • Chiapas – tacos de hormiga chicatana (flying ant tacos)
  • Colima – tacos de sesos (brain tacos)
  • Hidalgo – tacos de gusanos de maguey (maguey worm tacos)
  • Yucatán – tacos de tzic de venado (shredded venison tacos)

Feeling daring? Try the tacos envenenados in Zacatecas. The literal meaning is “poisoned tacos”, but they are apparently named so as not to reveal all their ingredients!

Tacos have become incredibly popular. While they predate the Spanish conquest, they are now well on their way to conquering large swathes of North America and Europe.

The regional patterns is analyzed further by Frank Jacobs in 604 – A Tacography of Mexico

For more about tacos, we recommend reading La tacopedia. Enciclopedia del taco by Deborah Holtz and Juan Carlos Mena (Trilce Ediciones, 2012).

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