A taco stand, also known as a taquera, is a place to get inexpensive and quick food made with Mexican ingredients. Taco stands are an essential part of the Mexican street food experience. There are many varieties of tacos, each with their own distinctive ingredients and cooking style.
Taco slang is a fun and sometimes bizarre way to talk about the dish. Some of the words have specialized meanings, and others have a more general meaning. Taco slang is highly regional, with specialized jargon. It can feel like 1950s America at times, especially with the ribald street chitchat.
The word taco has many meanings, especially in Latin America, where it’s used to describe anything from traffic congestion in Chile to fear in Costa Rica. In some countries, it also means a soccer shoe. In Spain, taco can mean “years old” or “to make a fuss.”
Tacos are stuffed corn or wheat tortillas that are topped with seasoned meat. They’re also sometimes covered with lettuce. In the 18th century, Mexican silver miners ate tacos, and they were known as tacos de minero. Tacos are not just delicious, they’re a significant part of Mexican culture.
Taco is Spanish for “tortilla.” The word taco is usually associated with spicy beef, but chicken is also used. A majority of Google images of tacos are of the traditional Mexican dish. However, the word taco has more meanings than you might think. According to the Real Academia Espanola Dictionary, there are 27 different definitions for taco in Spanish, with many colloquial usages.
Tacos can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some are made of fried corn tortillas, while others are soft shells. They are similar to enchiladas and burritos. They are typically eaten with your fingers, and if you try to cut them with a fork, the shell will crack. However, forks are perfectly acceptable when used for the filling.
A taco stand has four parts: a main body made of metal, usually stainless steel, and four individual portions that hold tacos. The holding portions are shaped like a U and hold the tacos with a slight bend. The stand can accommodate both open and closed tortillas.
A taco stand can also offer other types of food such as burritos and guacamole. Burritos mirror taco ingredients, and often have steak, guacamole, and pineapple. Burritos are often paired with a side dish, such as Carne Asada Fries, Mexican rice, or chips.
The high gas prices have put taco stands and taco trucks under pressure to increase their prices. While street vendors rely on generators to keep their trucks running, brick and mortar restaurants have also increased prices. Some have even added temporary surcharges to account for the rising costs of fuel. Taco cart owners are faced with a delicate balancing act to keep their prices low enough to attract customers but high enough to ensure a profit.
Where to find
There are several different places where you can find taco stands for sale. In some cities, the taco carts are made specifically for street vending, so they are built to hold food and keep it warm. These carts come with a small sink for washing hands, a countertop for preparing food, a refrigerator and a hot holding pan. You can purchase these stands from companies like Fresh Squeezed Lemonade and West Coast Custom Carts, or you can find them on Craigslist.
Taqueria Tepango on Roosevelt Avenue started out as a humble cart, but it has since become a full-fledged Mexican gastropub. It introduced New Yorkers to taco placeros, stuffed tacos made with rice, boiled eggs, and sauteed chiles. The place also has a variety of taco varieties, including the popular super taco. Try the grilled chicken and crema, and get some of their famous super tacos.
While you’re in New York City, be sure to visit Los Tacos No. 1. The eponymous stall in Chelsea Market draws a long line, but there are also branches in other areas of the city. The tacos are inspired by the taquerias on the beach near Tijuana. The menu offers four types of tacos on freshly baked tortillas, such as the classic adobada (pork al pastor), or the mulas (similar to a California quesadilla).