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Dec 20, 2008 09:18 AM

Street Taco Cazo Pan...What is it Called?

I am searching for a pan that is used by some of the street taco vendors in Mexico. The first time I saw this was on an episode of Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" that went to Piedras Negras and a picture of this pan can be found on the website below. I live in Washington state and have been surfing the internet, trying to find the true name or a place were I can purchase this really cool pan. My friend in Texas has also been trying to do the same and although we have got close by finding the pictures on websites, we have not been able to find the true name of this pan and where we can purchase them in different sizes. Anyone that has this pan, knows the name on the item, or can tell me where I can locate one for purchase, please write back!

Thanks in advance for any help provided!!!!!


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  1. Any central mercado should have them in Mexico and they're available in the states as well.

    10 Replies
    1. re: streetgourmetla

      Thanks, but any idea what the proper name of this pan might be? Like I said in the original search request, we have searched the internet and my friend has stopped at several Mercados in Texas, but nothing has surface yet...only pictures with no definative name for the pan -OR- website/store that they can be purchased.

        1. re: kare_raisu

          Thank You! I looked at your article and as you said...."I have not found any online sources to purchase one. so your best bet would be any cooking supply store in Baja or you might luck out and find one in a Latin market north of the border. If you happen to be fortunate enough to come across one of these little treasures grab it. " If anyone knows of another name or website I can find this cool cooking tool please let me know! I will continue to check the local mercados in Washington state and my friend will hit his local mercados in Texas. I attached a photo of the original website I listed above. Thanks for everyone's help!!! Victor

          1. re: yerblor

            Hey waitaminute!!!! What kind of a Spanish word is that: "disca". There's no such word, unless it's a Baja neologism or anglicism. At any rate, those are two very different kinds of frying pans. The first one (the one in pic of orig post) is the type that is used in Mexico City for the type of tacos that Iturriaga classified as tacos de fritangas. This is a very specific type of street food with its very typical chilango fillings, the most celebrated of which is the suadero. This type of taco is very hard to find outside the D.F. although there is a superb example of a purveyor of it here in Chicago. Iturriaga's text has been copied and recopied on the net (virtually never without the proper attribution) such as in this website:
            There is also a Mexconnect piece (in English) on types of tacos that basically cribs material from Iturriaga. You will find in both of these a basic (and incomplete) discussion of the so-called DF style tacos de fritangas.

            Note that the charola (this is the proper word for the orig poster's pan) for the tacos de fritangas has the well for frying oil on the periphery. In the center of the charola is a round raised form. This "nipple" or better still, this "ombligo" is where the fried suadero, higado etc comes to rest, and for oil to drain off while waiting to fill a taco. This is a very unique form of charola and is diff from the type in kare's pic where the well for the frying oil is in the center. The charola for frying chapulas de San Francisco in Puebla is like the latter (except that in Puebla, you can often still see terracotta charolas).

            Anyway, more on this tomorrow. Gotta head home. It's minus 30 here in Chicago.

            1. re: RST

              I think it is a Baja word. I have heard it used in Tijuas on occasion. Interesting info!

              1. re: kare_raisu

                The correct word is probably disco, meaning a round form, discus, disc (also cf tocadiscos for long-playing (LP) records). The blogger you linked to probably heard wrong. The original conversation probably went something like this:
                The blogger: que es esto?
                Fish-fry man: (confused at the question and thinks: what the *&%$ is this gringo asking about?) es un disco, un disco hecho de acero ("well, it's a round thing, in stainless steel")
                The blogger: Aha! Disca de acero!

                1. re: kare_raisu

                  Was just lookin' at a menu we grabbed from this weekend and there it was, "cabrilla a la disca".Ensenada,BCN.

                2. re: RST

                  I think that it might have been Iturriaga ('De tacos, tamales y tortas" Editorial Diana, 1987) who first coined the term "tacos de 'fritangas' " (he used quotation marks on the word 'fritangas'). I've certainly never heard a chilango say "let's go have some tacos de fritangas". Rather one would say "let go look for the tacos de suadero guy", although one might not necessarily end up having tacos de suadero, but this is the most characteristic of the tacos to be found and sorta carries the banner for this type of business.

                  Here's a bit from Iturriaga, talking about tacos de "fritangas":
                  (p. 54-55) Su desarrollo y tipificacion, concebidos como una rama taquera aparte, se ha dado en la ciudad de Mexico. Estos tacos son inconfundibles: hay un gran recipiente redondo y metalico, siempre lleno de manteca hirviendo, en donde nadan revuletos el suadero de res-carne que esta encima del costillar-y la longaniza de cerdo, no sin colgar el puestero y tener a la mano los tipicos machitos de carnero o intestino delgado...

                  There is a reason of course for the well going around instead of being located in the center: this way, the different meats fry in the same oil but can be organized and distributed all around the central "nipple' in an efficient way. Nowadays, it is more common to see another type of charola specially in the case where the street vendor has made the transition to a fixed location and has a bigger, more stable space to work in. It is the type I call a "wading pool", a flat rectangular cooking surface with a low inch-and-a-half or so rim all around, filled with with say 1/2 to 3/4 inch of oil, in which the diff meats (and even stacks of tortillas) cook away. But the round pan is still the truly iconic cooking medium for this type of taco. (Needless to say, suadero griddled on a flat-top grill, in California, or wherever, is hardly the same thing!)

                  To review what Iturriaga says above: the classic fillings are suadero, longaniza, machitos (coiled lengths of intestines of lamb-or goat). He also says that ubre and cuajar (rennet stomach of cow) could also be found. But one could also add to this list: chorizo and moronga. In recent years you will find a number of these vendors branching out from the classical format by practicing "product diversification" and offering other types of fillings (fillings that are oftentimes not even fried, but prepared on other heat sources)-even yikes things like carne asada. (The flattop could in this way be seen as an equalizer/or agent of dumbing-down if you wish: it separates carne asada from its true essence which comes through contact with carbon, and open fire, and suadero from its true history of contact with hot oil within a charola). In Chicago, La Chaparrita (25th and Whipple) has the classic suadero/tripa/chorizo, but also offers sesos/cabeza/lengua which are prepared separately, al vapor.

                  The idea of slow-cooking various types of offal in oil is of course not unique. In Ixmiquilpan, at the Monday market, there is a stall by the back entrance of the market, near where the Otomi Indians sell their home-made pulque and other goodies, where you will find a huge vat of fat bubbling away with all kinds of offal. I requested, in turn, cuajo (rennet stomach), ubre (udder//this is one of the most prized part in the carnitas culture of Michoacan//in Puebla, it is beloved as the local tacos de nana/or nenepil), lung etc, which were fished out and chopped for me. But the specific permutation of fillings, the charola etc came together in this particular way in the DF to become this unique street food form/street food institution.

                  Anyway, to go back to the OP's request:
                  what you want is "charolas de acero for tacos de suadero estilo D.F., las redondas, las que tienen un tipo de ombligo en el medio". I am sure that I have seen them here in Chicago's Maxwell Street Market, but am not sure that they could be found online.


                  P.S. BTW the charolas for the Pueblan chalupas de San Francisco have very shallow wells. I might have given the wrong impression above by comparing them with the charolas for frying fish.

                  1. re: RST

                    Great info RST.There is actually a place in LA that does suadero in the charola de acero mingled with other meats exactly as you've described.The dueno is from Colima though.

                    In Ensenada, we see these used for frying pescado estilo de Ensenada.These are everywhere in Mexico and also here in Alta California.

                    1. re: streetgourmetla

                      Thanks to everyone that has jumped into my quest and provided great information on the history of the pan, the different foods cooked in the different regions, and different names associated with this type or types of pan! I have taken all this information and surfed the internet to locate one and still come up empty if there are any other helpful suggestions or other names to locate one online -OR- if anyone knows of a specific place I can contact to purchase one (name of mercado, city, street, phone number, etc), PLEASE LET ME KNOW!!!!!!!! Victor

        2. Well I found one and I'm sure that there are several more sites out there that offer these little jewels for sale. The MiFiesta site ( ) has two sizes of this pan and the larger one is what I am seeking. THANKS TO EVERYONE THAT PROVIDED INFORMATION WHICH ASSSTED AND INFORMED ME IN THE DIRECTION NEEDED TO LOCATE THIS "Comal de acero inoxidable de bola redondo grande, pozo para arriba" OR "Large Stainless Steel Round Cooking Disk".....MUCHAS GRACIAS!!!!!!

          2 Replies
          1. re: yerblor

            Good luck. And let us know if you start a business. We'll all line up for free tacos de suadero! ;0)

            1. re: yerblor

              Good luck! And let us know if you start a business. We'll all line up for free tacos de suadero!!!! ;0)

            2. I have a pan just like this that I bought at the local swap meet. I live just south of Santa Barbara. I was actually looking to sell it on Craigslist. It came with a large propane burner on a "turkey fryer" stand.

              1. Is there anything wrong with the word "comal"? Because that´s how i call this type of pans...In Sonora they make the biggest flour tortillas, the señoras wake up at 5am to place the loggs, because making them with a gas or electric stove would be like cheating. It is a real art because they make them using only their arms and hands, no roller pin, and much difficult than making pizza because these tortillas are super thin. The huge comales neeeded to make these tortillas were not sold, at least not then, so this comal was made by the man of the house using the bottom of a "tambo"....i don´t know the term in English but those are the metalic big containers used to transport oil, cylinder shaped. These comales are also used for "discadas". The cookie sheets, used to bake coyotas, etc... are made also using a smaller metalic container, those are rectangular, some 50 cm high.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Xacinta

                  These are first and foremost comales of course (comal being the basic word for a pan of any sort, but more usually a flat surface, i.e. a griddle, that is put over a fire/heat source for the purpose of cooking). These are high-rimmed comales not for griddling, but for frying and are designed with an "inverted well" ("pozo para arriba") or an "outie belly button" if you wish in the middle to serve as a dry perch to hold food after these have been fried (it's possible that this dry perch also sears and finishes the meat that has been simmering slowly in fat//I have to watch the process more carefully next time to ascertain this). They are called charolas metaphorically because of their shape which is like that of a charola (rimmed serving tray) and possibly also to distinguish them from the regular comales/griddles which are used from time immemorial to make tortillas, to prepare tlacoyos, quesadillas etc etc etc


                2. Reverse hump comal is where you can find it. Good luck and have fun making great tacos.