The Secret of the Street Taco and How To Make Them Drop Dead Good
Ok, well maybe you don’t want your guests to drop dead. Especially not as we move out of a global pandemic. It’s just an expression! But let us pretend that you are about to have a dinner party or a small get-together with your closest friends, or maybe even just your family. You’re thinking about what to make that is not particularly involved and doesn’t take you all day to prepare. Better yet, given the current state of things, you want to avoid the restaurants and get a mouthwatering forget-the-pandemic-for-just-a-moment taste without the price tag. Well, dear reader, that’s where Productos Real comes into play!
How To Put the Street In Your Taco
In the past few years, the street taco has become somewhat of a phenomenon or experienced a resurgence. This can be due to the food truck and the park-outside-a-bar business that seems to be quite lucrative. Even high-end gourmet restaurants are getting in on the street taco craze, which seems somewhat ironic—a luxury restaurant selling “street” food. That’s because the “street” in street tacos is more about style and attitude than it is about being low-quality, or whatever people might associate with the idea of a “street taco.”
A Brief History of the Taco
The undeniable ancestor of the now-famous street taco was, of course, the regular taco. Some would say that the regular taco was a street taco, but we’ll let you decide for yourself. What we do know is that a taco was born when the tortilla was born. The tortilla is quintessential to the Mexican diet and its most famous dishes. It is made from corn—a staple crop in that part of the Americas since the time of the Aztecs. Many historians trace back the rise of corn with the rise of Mesoamerican civilizations and according to some of their legends, human beings were made of corn by the Gods.
In the 1940s, one of the first widespread uses of small scale gas engines helped power grinders for making masa. The tortilla was usually formed by hand-pressing or hand patting. By the 1960s, newly powered machines could churn out a lot of tortillas at once. The tacos made it into the U.S way before that, of course. They have certainly become a favorite on this side of the border. The taco likely made it into the U.S streets during various influxes of Mexican immigrants to different parts of the country. Many street vendors brought their Mexican traditions with them.
A taco can then refer to anything that is wrapped in this delicious corn blanket. It’s kind of like a sandwich. There is no ‘right’ way to do it, but there is a ‘wrong’ way to do it. If you scour the internet for recipes, you are likely to get more than a million ideas and that can get pretty overwhelming. So we thought we’d approach it with just a few basics.
Choose Your Meat
The central ingredient of the taco is the meat! This is the foundation of the taco and what all the fixing meant to accentuate. What meat depends on what you’re in the mood for. Are you looking for something bold, juicy meat, a cleaner cut, something with a zing, or something a little lighter?
Here are a few ideas:
- Flank steak
- Skirt steak
- Sirloin steak
- Flap meat
- Ground beef
- Al Pastor (a personal favorite)
- Fish (Tilapia or Cod or your favorite fish)
- Grilled chicken
Choose Your Helpings and Fixings
This is where you show your personality, your uniqueness, your special touch. Basically, this is your opportunity to shine and throw out your culinary flare for all the world to taste! There are a couple of traditional must-haves for street tacos and then there is room to play around with.
The traditional fixings include:
- Diced onion
- Green onion
- Spices (cumin, chili powder)
Now add your personal touch:
- Cubed mangos
- Sweet onions
- BBQ sauce
- Soy sauce
- Apple pico de gallo
- Pickled radishes
- Fruit salsa
- Pink onions
- Tequila (In a sauce or as a side)
- Guinness (as a marinade)
You get the point. The possibilities are truly endless. So what makes it a street taco, you ask? One qualifier might be the simple fact that it’s made with a smaller tortilla and it is served in a portion of 4-5. Others might say, it is the cilantro and onion that make it a street taco.
You put the street in it. Find yourself a juicy and quality ready-to-serve or raw meat from Productos Real and garnish and spice however you want.