Life & Leisure

Tacos: A worldwide symbol of Mexico with as much tradition as future

By Miquel Muñoz

Mexico City, Mar 31 (efe-epa) The taco is much more than a food for Mexico. It’s the symbol of its cuisine and its culture, and every day that goes by it evolves and expands internationally with a varied supply that marries tradition and novelty.

“Everyone likes tacos,” bricklayer Carlos Ceballos told EFE while he enjoyed a few loaded with salsa at the site where he was working with his brother and father.

The three Ceballos men, completely unaware that Wednesday is Taco Day, were eating in a zone with several street “taquerias” (taco shops) in Mexico City’s Roma district, although the lunchbreaks are not long in the construction business.

“You’re in a hurry and you get a craving. You have to have time for it,” he said smiling and seated at a traditional taco stand with assorted things to add to the basic tacos lining the bar where customers can wait for their orders.

Carlos’s tacos were made by Sandra Hernandez, the manager of the El Morocho taco stand, who proudly confirmed that the taco “for all Mexicans is the most basic thing that they eat.”

“You go out of the house to work, you don’t have time to cook and you can grab a taco anywhere and eat,” she said, as she watched out of the corner of her eye to make sure everyone is waited upon.

Patricia Alvarez’s plate was ready. She comes every day to the shop at the corner of Alvaro Obregon and Insurgentes Avenues because she works “very close by.”

“We have all kinds. … An infinite number,” said Alvarez regarding Mexican cuisine, adding that she’s happy that tacos are making an international splash.

But the taco stand operator said that “the idea of the taco (among foreigners) is not the same” as in Mexico, where it originated.

“French people, Spaniards, Koreans, Japanese, Chinese, Australians, Russians have come here” Hernandez said about her taco stand, and everyone “goes away happier” after getting to know an “original” Mexican taco.

Although foreigners like to try the different tacos on the street, most Mexico City residents buy the cheap baskets of tacos that they can pick up for around 5 pesos each (about 25 US cents).

“They’re very classic in Mexico City and they only have one certain flavor. The classic ones have pork, potatoes and beans, often they make them with red sauce or green sauce,” said Africa, a taco basket street vendor.

You can eat tacos “whenever you feel hungry,” Africa said. “Morning, afternoon or night.”

At the opposite pole from basket tacos are Vegan tacos, which in a little more than five years are making it big in the comfortable neighborhoods of the Mexican capital.

Luis Rodriguez, the founder of the Por Siempre Vegana taco shop, the first vegetarian taco shop launched in Mexico City, said that in the seven years since he began operations his products have gained “unbelievable” acceptance among the public.

“Most of the tacos that they have are marinated, and we make those, too. We just change the main ingredient. It’s not the same. Our main ingredients are wheat, soybeans and mushrooms,” he said.

“We’re living in a time that has seen a big advance in what Vegan thinking is all about. There’s been a lot of (increased) awareness,” he said.


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