The earliest tacos were made with thin slices of meat cooked over coals. The meat was then placed in a corn tortilla and topped with salsa, onions, guacamole and lime. This taco is known as Carne Asada.
Taco used to be considered lower class street food when it first appeared in the United States in 1905 after Mexican migrants brought their food to Los Angeles. The modern taco was later popularised by Glen Bell who founded the fast-food chain, Taco Bell. His franchise merged traditional Mexican flavours with ingredients and foods accepted by mainstream America. Hard-shell taco—a tortilla that has been pre-fried into a U-shape—also replaced corn tortillas because it stays fresh for a longer period.
Today, Americans consumed an average of 4 billion tacos a year.
Carnitas are made with small pieces of pork while De Cabeza or head taco uses cow’s head as its main ingredient. Tacos de pescado are known as fish tacos, which originated from Baja California in Mexico. Fish tacos consist of grilled or fried fish, lettuce or cabbage, pico de gallo, laced with sour cream and mayonnaise sauce. Tacos sudados (sweaty tacos) uses soft tortillas, filling it with a spicy meat mixture. They are then placed in a basket covered with cloth, which keeps the tacos warm and traps steam.
A taco is generally eaten without utensils and often accompanied by garnishes such as salsa, chilli pepper, guacamole, coriander, tomatoes, onions and lettuce.