Ever since my friend moved down to Mexico City I have been visiting him every year and it is a trip which I always look forward to. One thing which I cannot wait to indulge in when I get there are tacos, the Mexican snack which has a lot of confusion around it from many. Contrary to Tex-Mex cuisine, tacos in Mexico are not the hard shelled varieties which are served underneath a blanket of Monterey Jack; they are in fact very different indeed.
My buddy Javier Burillo has shown me some of the best tacos available and here are just some of my favorites.
Some taco stands will sell many different types of filling and others will specialize in one. Generally speaking when it comes to mixiotes that is what you’ll find. Mixiotes are usually made with heavily marinated mutton which has been slow cooked in cloth bag, the bag is cut open and you fill up the juicy contents into your taco. Unlike many tacos, these are usually adorned with fresh cucumber, red onion, habanero chili, lime juice and some spicy salsa.
Generally served on a weekend, and a great idea if you’ve had one two many the night before, is barbacoa. This dish features slow cooked lamb, beef or goat, which would traditionally have been cooked in Earth ovens. The meat is soft and supple and you can choose between different cuts of the meat. Barbacoa is best enjoyed with the stock which has come from the meat, which is served with chick peas, onions and dressed with lime juice and salsa.
Tacos al Pastor
Tacos al Pastor are probably my go-to favorite taco when I get down to Mexico, and you will see this one in particular on offer just about everywhere. The key difference between these tacos is that they are cooked on a spit, owing to the Arabic influence which brought this particular dish to Mexican shores. The meat is heavily marinated pork which is layered on the spit and the cooked. These are some of the cheapest tacos you’ll find in the city, some costing as little as 20 cents per taco. The taco is served with pineapple, cilantro and fresh onion, dressed with a squeeze of lime and a lathering of hot sauce.
Whilst it may not be for everyone I have to say that beef tongue tacos are among my favorites. There is just about every part of the animal that is cooked and sold at the street stalls in Mexico so always make sure you know what you are asking for. Tongue tacos are soft and rich in flavor, but if you do ask for them then I’d advise you to eat it straight away, if you allow it to cool then it can quickly become tough and chewy. My set up would be to ask for my tacos to go, and a tongue taco whilst I waited, delicious.
As you can see, there are many more tacos than meets the eye.