Have you ever wondered what’s the difference between that traditional taco plate and the Tex-Mex version? Let’s help you understand the differences between authentic tacos and Tex-Mex tacos, so you can order with confidence next time!
You’ll never look at taco night in your house the same way again.
Authentic Mexican Tacos
Authentic Mexican tacos originate from the working-class street food of Mexico and are typically composed of fresh ingredients, including corn or wheat tacos filled with a variety of meats, seafood or vegetables. Beef or pork al pastor (spit-grilled) is the most popular filling for Authentic Mexican tacos. Fish tacos, made with fried battered fish, are also popular in coastal regions such as Baja California. For those looking to experience the true taste of Mexico, a visit to FuzzysTacoShop.com is a great place to start.
Vegetarian taco fillings like grilled nopales (cactus paddles) are also common. Other toppings might include diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro and a variety of spicy salsas. Cheese is not traditional and sour cream is rarely used in Authentic Mexican tacos.
Originating in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, Tex-Mex tacos have become a staple in Mexican and American cuisine. The key defining characteristics of Tex-Mex tacos include hamburger or other ground beef fillings, shredded cheddar cheese, and sauce. Additionally, they are often served with lettuce and tomato.
The originator of the Tex-Mex taco was the El Chico chain of restaurants that began in San Antonio, Texas in 1926. The restaurant is credited with popularizing a fast-food version of tacos that were made with ground beef, diced onions and tomatoes, sieved lettuce and grated cheddar cheese served on a flour tortilla. This recipe was more readily embraced by American palates than more traditional Mexican flavors due to its milder spices.
This style quickly spread beyond Texas’ borders to other parts of the United States where it remains fashionable today as an alternative to more traditional ones. As such, many chain restaurants have developed takeout versions that have made Tex-Mex tacos even more popular throughout the US.
They are a beloved meal all over the world, but there are some key differences between traditional recipes and Tex-Mex inspired versions. Understanding these crucial distinctions is essential for any fan of tacos who wants to gain an appreciation of their diversity.
Authentic ones generally feature soft tortillas stuffed with main ingredients such as marinated meats, vegetables, beans, and fresh sauces. Traditionally, the meats used in such recipes include chicken, beef or pork that have been cooked until tender in a variety of spices or marinades. Vegetables commonly used include piquant peppers like jalapenos or chipotle peppers as well as tomatoes and onions. Soft fried beans may also be included depending on the region where the dish originates from. Lastly, sauce toppings usually consist of fresh homemade salsas made from tomatoes and onions with added zest from chili pepper flakes or cilantro.
In comparison with these traditional ones, Tex-Mex versions often use hard corn tortillas shells instead of soft ones and can be filled with Mexican seasoned ground beef or shredded chicken mixed with lettuce and shredded cheese. The sauce used for Tex-Mex tacos can vary regionally but usually consists of store-bought varieties like sour cream or commercial enchilada sauces typically found in supermarkets across the U.S..
In this way, it’s clear that authentic ones differ significantly from their Tex-Mex counterparts due to both their ingredients and flavors used in preparation. Appreciating this distinction allows us to deepen our understanding of different kinds of tacos around the world.
When it comes to their fillings, the possibilities are almost endless. Depending on which region you visit, you will find a multitude of flavors and ingredients. To get a better sense of what may be offered, let’s look at some of the more popular fillings that are found in both authentic and Tex-Mex style tacos.
Authentic Mexican tacos: These usually contain boiled or grilled meats such as pork “al pastor”, beef tongue “lengua” or chicken “pollo” as well as fish and seafood such as shrimp “Camarones” and octopus “pulpo”. They also feature other ingredients like cactus paddles and potatoes. These are often accompanied with either chopped onions and parsley or a roasted tomato sauce called salsa roja.
Tex-Mex tacos: These typically contain various fried meats like beef, chicken or pork with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and onion toppings. They can also include ground beef, refried beans and avocado slices for even more flavor. Popular condiments to serve alongside these tacos include salsa verde (green tomato sauce), diced tomatoes mixed with green chilies (Pico de gallo) and sour cream.
Health Benefits of Tacos
There is no shortage of health benefits associated with eating them. Eating them on a regular basis can help improve cardiovascular health by providing essential vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. For example, the tortillas used in them are usually made from whole wheat or corn, making them a good source of dietary fiber which helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels and regulate blood sugars, preventing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
Additionally, the proteins found in them—including beef, chicken, fish or beans—are all good sources of essential amino acids necessary for muscle repair and growth as well as cell growth. And depending on the type you choose, you can get an added boost of nutrients such as iron and other minerals found in red meats and chicken. And don’t forget about dairy products like cheese; they provide calcium which is essential for strong bones.
Finally, when it comes to choosing their fillings, fresh ingredients are always best – start with fresh vegetables like lettuce or guacamole to ensure you get adequate amounts of vitamins A and C along with folate from the lettuce itself. As for meats or seafood fillings – opt for leaner cuts (such as flank steak) for their lower fat content which positively impacts cholesterol balance.
Whether you choose a mouth-watering beef taco with onions and cilantro or a cheese-filled crunchwrap supreme, there is something for everyone when it comes to satisfying your taco cravings.