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Mar 14, 2005 11:57 PM

A Guide to Mexican Street Tacos and much more !!!

  • k

I had never heard the term tacos dorados before and while looking it up on the web, I found this great article on the regional differences in tacos in Mexico and even the Origins of the taco (Axtecs).

It is an easy and informative read. I worked a year in Mexico City and I learned a lot. I never thought about it before, but it is true there are morning tacos and night tacos.


It discusses ingrediants, preparation, which regions serve these and the regional differences for each type.

The site itself is a wealth of information about Mexican food. It has more information about each Region of Mexico, comprehensively described than I have ever seen. There are many, many recipes. The article about the Panadrias is wonderful. There is a list of Food festivals thru the year. Wonderful, wonderful wonderful site.


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  1. Krys,

    This is a great site. Thanks for passing it along.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Seattle Rose

      Fantastic site, thanks for posting this site! Dawn

    2. Generally an interesting and informative site. Comparing his information with what I've found here in Yuma AZ (which is on the border and is primarily influenced by Jaliscan, Sonoran, and Baja traditions), there are some interesting differences. The site calls a taco anything with stuff rolled inside a tortilla. Here most tacos have a soft corn tortilla which is just folded. The only tacos here that are rolled are then fried to give them a hard shell. In local parlance, a rolled taco has a corn shell; a Sonoran taco is beef rolled in a flour shell which is then fried. Except for the Sonoran taco, locals use corn tortillas for tacos and would call fillings rolled in a flour tortilla a burro or (more commonly) burrito. Burros or burritos are usually stuffed with more fillings and when fried are called chimichangas. Here a taco dorado is a folded taco with a hard corn shell, not too dissimilar from the tacos made famous by such fast food places as Taco Bell - but infinitely better tasting. Except at one very bad gringo place, I have never seen a taco pescado (here or in Ensenada which claims to have invented them) in anything but a soft corn tortilla. And in a flour tortilla, the deep fried fish seemed really greasy. And the site does help me understand where the term "barbacoa" came from because here it mostly resembles really good pot roast cooked in a thin chili flavored broth and I've always wondered why it had that name.

      As you can tell Krys, I found the site very interesting and informative about the foods in real Mexico.


      10 Replies
      1. re: e.d.

        Here in Playas de Rosarito, Baja Califonie Norte,

        you can find wonderful fish and shrimp tacos, your choice of fried in batter or sauteed in butter, and you are asked what kind of tortillas you want, "de masa o de harina" (corn or flour)? If you are really lucky, the tortillas are made from scratch on your order. This kind of freshness is a true bit of heaven on earth.

        In addition to the salsas (made from dried chiles blended with water to make a thin sauce and the "salsa cruda", made from chopped and mixed tomatoes, onions, jalapeno chiles and cilantro, there is "crema"; a thinned out, pourable version of sour cream.

        Also, there are "Tacos de Gobernador", made with smoked marlin, green olives and capers all chopped together with cheese and placed inside a small (3-4")folded flour tortilla and grilled. Heaven again, through a different gate.

        One of my favorite taco stands puts all the regular condiments on your table, but, on a side counter all by itself there is a bowl filled with a watery red substance with a sign (in Spanish, no less) warning that this is a very hot salsa, so be careful.

        I am no stranger to hot salsas and have enjoyed Habenero chile seasoning in food, but this salsa was so hot that a teeny, tiny quarter teaspoonful addition to my taco numbed my tongue for quite some time afterward.

        As yet, I haven't worked up the courage (or, perhaps overcome my shame at being overcome) to chat up the owners as to just what chile is used. In subsequent visits I just slink, like a whipped dog, around that bowl and meekly use the other condiments brought to the table.

        1. re: Gypsy Jan

          Wow ... smoked marlin tacos. Is this something common in Rosarita or does only a certain restaurant sell those.

          I've never heard of that before but it sounds delicious. Your whole post sounded delicious.

          1. re: Krys

            Pay a visit to the International board and go trolling for some of the Baja posts. All of Gypsy Jan's posts sound great, she's found some really terrific places off the beaten tourist track serving something other than Gringo-Mex food. If it didn't take so darned long to get back across the boarder going North, I'd like to try all the places she's recommended.

            1. re: Krys

              Smoked marlin tacos are a Sinaloan thing, especially around Los Mochis. Often served with cheese, which is odd, but very tasty.

          2. re: e.d.

            There is a place near San Diego that makes those fried shell tacos that are just wonderful, not at all like Taco Bell. I've just never seen the term Taco Durado. I guess the Spanish word makes sense with the hard shell.

            I guess I'm not going to have to check out the place with the tacos dorados. They also have taquitos and flautas listed separately although the author of the article says they are the same thing as tacos dorados.

            1. re: Krys

              The term *taco dorado* literally means 'golden taco'. It's how we describe many things that in the States would be called 'fried': *pescado dorado* (fried fish), for example.

              A *taco dorado* is usually one that is folded in half and then fried, whereas a *taquito* is a tortilla that is rolled around a few shreds of beef or chicken, stuck through with a toothpick, and then fried.

              A *flauta* is generally stuffed a bit fuller with the meat of choice and then fried.

              The website information about kinds of tacos is excellent. The site also has several forums about living in Mexico, including a Mexican Kitchen forum. The website is by subscription only.

              1. re: Cristina

                It's actually second-hand information. This taxonomy of Mexican streetfood forms really belongs to Iturriaga ("De tacos, tortas y tamales") but his categories and descriptions have been copied and recopied on the web without proper attribution. I have written many times about Iturriaga's books on the Chicago Board. The book is now a bit dated: subsequent research has brought to light many obscure regional treasures that were not included in Iturriaga's survey (for instance, Diane Kennedy has a baroque and wondrous recipe for tamales de espiga in her My Mexico that I once called "one of the greatest recipes ever recorded in the English language."//it's on a post on the Chicago Board where I recounted my attempt to find tamales de espiga at the Zitacuaro market.) Still, it cannot be denied that Iturriaga's is the most successful modern attempt at a comprehensive catalogue and at putting some conceptual order to this embarassment of riches.


                1. re: RST

                  Here's an excellent article on Iturriaga by Corby Kummer.


                  1. re: RST

                    I copied the link from an email I sent a friend a year ago. I just reread the article. Corby doesn't seem to have read "De tacos..." at all or he would not have described tortas as "flute-shaped baguettes" when Iturriaga took immense pains in his book to explain why tortas should not be made with bolillos but are made with the trilobite-formed teleras. Harrumph!

            2. re: e.d.

              Amazing! Almost everything you mentioned, my mother used to talk about. She was a Texan but they lived in Kerrville and San Antonio.

            3. Very informative. I'm going to pass on the uterus tacos, though. I've never seen the testicle ones in L.A., but they sound interesting!