A Complicated But Brief History of Tacos, Mexico’s Most Famous Food

Brief History of Tacos, Who doesn’t enjoy tucking into a warm, flavorful taco? There always seems to be a variety to suit everyone’s tastes.

when were tacos invented

Whether it is for breakfast or late at night, served on a soft or hard shell, from a neighborhood taqueria or one of your favorite food trucks, Brief History of Tacos.

Who invented tacos, when, why, and where? If you’re like most people, you don’t know. Because of this, we’ll explore this contentious topic today.

Brief History of Tacos

It may come as a surprise to hear that tacos don’t have a very long history because they are a staple of Mexican cuisine.

Especially when compared to other Mexican dishes, many of which originate from the Aztec era, when we’re tacos invented.

Even renowned taco expert Jeffrey M. Pilcher is unsure of the exact origins of the taco, but they began in Mexican silver mines somewhere in the 18th century.

 The original tacos were called “taco de minero,” or “miner’s tacos,” which gives rise to Professor Pilcher’s theory.

Like the English word sandwich, the word taco is a general term in Mexico. A taco is a popular Mexican dish that is made by folding or rolling a corn or flour tortilla around a filling.

There are many fillings used to make tacos. Beef, pig, poultry, shellfish, veggies, and cheese are among the filling options.

This enables chefs to offer an incredible range and variation.

According to Real Academia Espanola, the company that publishes Diccionario de la Lengua Espaola, the word taco refers to a popular Mexican cuisine in which they folded a maize tortilla over ingredients.

Brief History of Tacos as They are Popular in the US

Tacos have a long history in the US, dating back to the 1880s. Tacos were first sold by Mexican immigrants who were going to Texas and California.

 First to festival attendees, and subsequently to travelers curious about Mexican cuisine. In the first half of the 20th century, components changed depending on agricultural and ethnographic reasons.

Tacos were first mentioned in print in a newspaper story from 1905. Around this period, Mexicans immigrated to the US to work on railroads and in mines.

Americans frequently viewed Mexican cuisine in the beginning as being like street food, when were tacos invented.

Tacos Adjust to American Culture

Glen Bell began selling tacos from a stall he called Taco-Tia in 1952. Although he was unaware of it, this taco stand marked the start of an important change in taco culture.

They still made tacos with soft tortillas until this point. According to Bell, they created the hard shell after he had the notion to fry tortillas in a U-shape.

Even though his claim has been contested by some, the hard shell—which was simply to fill, quick to serve, and had a long shelf life—was present.

Glen Bell later founded Taco Bell, in case you hadn’t guessed. In 1964, he opened his first business. He sold the business to PepsiCo in the 1970s after successfully franchising his stores for more than a decade.

Brief History of Tacos go Mobile

Because of the enormous popularity of his concept, King Taco could open its doors for business after just six months of operating out of a truck.

Following his popularity, taco trucks appeared often throughout California and the southwest of the United States.

Other food firms quickly learned how effective this tactic was. The food truck fad exploded internationally in the early 2000s.

Fusion Taco

You must keep this in mind if you are familiar with Roy Choi and his impact on the development of tacos. Kogi BBQ didn’t suddenly become popular.

After Mark Manguera, a friend and business partner of Choi, had the idea to combine Korean BBQ and Mexican tacos, the Kogi truck started selling tacos on the streets of Los Angeles.

 The truck finally arrived outside the UCLA dorms one night in December 2008, right in the middle of exams. At first, it moved slowly.

Finding the precise year that the first taco truck appeared is challenging, just like when tacos initially became popular.

The first taco truck is said to have been founded by Raul Martinez. Martinez transformed an old ice cream truck into a moving taco stand in 1974. Parking it outside a bar in Los Angeles was his bright idea.

One thousand children were present. It inadvertently started a groundswell. They began going out to Rosemead and Venice the next night.

That was merely another pivotal moment in taco history. It was also the start of the gourmet food truck business.


Now that you are aware of the Brief History of Tacos origin, the long story for tacos, and some of its most well-known types, it is time to visit a reputable taquera and indulge yourself to this incredible culinary treasure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Tacos are thought to come from Mexico, long before the Spanish arrived. Ancient Mexicans used freshly made, soft, flat corn tortillas and gave them fillings like fish and cooked organs. It was a staple meal that provided vital nutrients and energy to those who consumed it.

One of the most world-renowned and popular tacos in Mexico is the Al Pastor. In Spanish, ‘Pastor’ means shepherd, which was a nickname that was given to Lebanese merchants who came to Mexico City in the early 90s.

Throughout time, different cultures have shaped the Mexican cuisine you know and love today. However, the roots of Mexican food are from Mesoamerican cuisine. Spanish and French conquistadors also made their respective contributions to this cuisine.

  • Tacos Are Really, Really Old.
  • Americans Eat a TON of Tacos.
  • The Biggest Taco Ever Was HUGE!
  • There is a National Taco Day.
  • The Word Taco Means “Light Lunch”
  • The First Taco Truck Was in New York.
  • Tacos First Came to America Thanks to San Antonio.

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. The United States borders it to the north; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico.

The word taco comes from the Nahuatl word ‘tlahco’ which means “half or in the middle”, referring to the way it is formed. Tortilleras by Nebel. Delicious and historic, the taco forms part of the cultural and gastronomic diversity of Mexico.

  • Tacos Al Pastor. Tacos al pastor was introduced to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants in the early 1900s. …
  • Tacos De Barbacoa. The inspiration for barbacoa in Mexico comes from the Caribbean. …
  • Tacos De Birria. …
  • Tacos De Cabeza. …
  • Tacos De Carne Asada. …
  • Tacos De Carnitas. …
  • Tacos De Chorizo. …
  • Tacos De Pescado.

The taco al pastor is arguably the most popular type of taco in Mexico City. It refers to a taco made with marinated pork grilled on a vertical rotisserie. It’s a cousin of the Lebanese shawarma and Greek gyros, all of which are derived from the Turkish doner kebab.

Start with a taco al pastor, which can be found everywhere since it’s now become Mexico City’s signature taco. Tacos al pastor originated in the city of Puebla in the 1930s when Lebanese immigrants introduced them to locals. They are prepared in a similar way to shawarma on a vertical rotisserie (trompo).

Using a process of food preparation called Nixtamalization, maize was softened with lime to turn maize into a doughy substance and used to make tortillas. So tortillas, combined with beans and seasoned with chilies were in essence probably the first Mexican food.

  • Corn. Corn is a versatile ingredient used in many foods, from ketchup and popcorn to breakfast cereals and sweeteners. …
  • Cacao. Mexico is also the birthplace of a very popular food – chocolate! …
  • Vanilla. …
  • Pumpkin. …
  • Avocado. …
  • Chili Pepper.

A taco (US: /ˈtɑːkoʊ/, UK: /ˈtækoʊ/, Spanish: [ˈtako]) is a traditional Mexican food consisting of small hand-sized corn- or wheat-based tortilla topped with a filling. The tortilla is then folded around the filling and eaten by hand.

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