The street taco has been around a long time but maybe not as long as you might think. The word taco as it is used today only arrived on the scene around the 19th century! According to Paul M. Pilcher, who has spent years traveling the world eating tacos and learning about their history, the word taco didn’t originally refer to food.
So if a taco wasn’t originally food then what was it?
According to Pilcher, the word taco originally came from the silver mines in Mexico. The miners would carve holes into the rocks and then they would wrap paper around gun powder, stick it into the hole they made and blow up part of the rock. They called these explosives, tacos. So essentially a taco was a small piece of dynamite. If you have ever had a spicy street taco then you understand why the taco was named after these explosive charges!
The food itself was referred to for the first time in the 19th century. Humans have been eating tacos for millenniums but they weren’t called tacos until fairly recently. The Mexican people first referred to a taco as food in a book called, “The Bandits of Cold River”
In an early scene in the novel, set during the festival of the Virgin of Guadalupe, a group of Indians danced in honor of the national saint, while feasting on “chito with tortillas, drunken salsa, and very good pulque . . . and the children skipping, with tacos of tortillas and avocado in their hand.”
Street tacos are traditionally served with a corn/maize tortillas and they are stuffed with many different types of meats including beef, pork, chicken and fish. However the filling for tacos are not always so mild and normal as the things we see them filled with today in the United States. We like to keep things delicious at Sancho’s Authentic Mexican Restaurant so you won’t see some of these on the menu but I am sure you don’t mind skipping the grasshopper stuffing in favor of some Carne Asada or Al Pastor!
Here is a list of some of the traditional fillings for your delicious tacos, These are the ones you can find at Sanchos:
- Al Pastor
- Sauteed Pork marinated in lemon and pineapple juice
- Grilled Steak
- Shredded Beef
- Mexican sausage (We make our own chorizo in house)
- Diced Pork
- Beef Tongue
- Marinated Tilapia
- Sautéed red and green pepper, onion and squash
Traditionally these are the best tacos but like I mentioned earlier there are many types of street tacos in the world today. Some of them are actually filled with insects or include parts of the animals that should not be discussed in polite company…
The word taco has an interesting meaning too. It actually means a plug or wad for a hole. Seems like a good meaning for these amazingly delicious treats. Tacos are eaten so much by people all over the world that it is estimated that 4.5 billion tacos were eaten in the United States alone in 2012.
The first recorded taco party was held by Hernan Cortes in 1520 but the taco didn’t make it up to the United States until the 20th century. They got here when immigration began to happen from Mexico into the States. The first taco was seen in the United States in 1905 and the hard shell taco wasn’t invented until 1947. The soft corn tortilla shells didn’t stay fresh for long o the hard shell taco was created to solve that problem. From there the first taco stand opened and they spread like crazy. Tacos have become so popular that they even have their own day on the calendar, October 4th is national taco day. You might want to head into Sancho’s to celebrate it with your favorite street tacos.<img class="alignnone wp-image-298 size-full" src="http://sanchosmexican.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/TacoPlate useful site.jpg” alt=”taco plate from sanchos” width=”800″ height=”531″ srcset=”http://sanchosmexican.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/TacoPlate.jpg 800w, http://sanchosmexican.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/TacoPlate-300×199.jpg 300w, http://sanchosmexican.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/TacoPlate-610×404.jpg 610w, http://sanchosmexican.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/TacoPlate-120×80.jpg 120w, http://sanchosmexican.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/TacoPlate-375×250.jpg 375w” sizes=”(max-width: 800px) 100vw, 800px” />
According to https://www.finedininglovers.com/blog/food-drinks/the-history-of-taco-food-infographic/ there are literally tons of tacos sold every year. They say there are 775 million pounds or 387.5 tons of tacos consumed each year which is roughly the weight of two Empire State buildings. That is a lot of tacos.
The taco has even made it’s way into being one of the favorite food of cartoon and comic book characters such as Deadpool and Gir from Invader Zim.
If you love tacos, especially authentic street tacos then come on into Sancho’s and eat some of ours. If you have never had an authentic street taco like the ones we serve at Sancho’s then you will be pleasantly surprised how good they are especially compared to less authentic places.