We’ll be celebrating National Taco Day on October 4. And really, everyday is a day to grab some tortilla’s and stuff them with our favorite savory fillings. And while every flavor is amazing, Taco’s al Pastor is actually considered to be ‘the best dish in the world!’
The taco, made with spit-grilled pork, heads the list of the 100 best qualified foods in the world by experts in gastronomy and chefs, because this Mexican appetizer obtained a 4.5 rating of 5 stars, according to Taste Atlas. It’s the Mexican street dish that makes us swoon, perhaps because the dish is so versatile. With or without lemon, with red or green sauce, with and without vegetables, but always with marinated pork accompanied with pineapple slices.
Tacos al Pastor’s surprising history
There are so many legends about the creation of this tasty Mexican dish, but many might not know that tacos al pastor actually originated from the Middle East.
During the 1920s when the Lebanese were already coming to Mexico, they brought along their traditions, including a delicious and vast culinary baggage. Most of us know the “shawarma,” made with lamb meat. According to historians, the tacos al pastor idea came from the preparation of the dish, which was made with lamb meat marinated with different spices and cooked on a spinning spit, served on a pita.
The poblanos called it “Arab tacos” but since the lamb was fairly uncommon in the country, it was replaced by pork. It is not known exactly when locals started preparing tacos al pastor as we know them now, but many experts say that it all began in the taqueria “El Tizoncito” during the 1960s.
A “food for the privileged?”
The tacos al pastor delicacy of Mexico that topped the world’s best qualified foods is followed by Ćevapi (Bosnia), Pizza Napolitana (Italy), Lasagna (Italy), Parrilla (Argentina), Tom yum (Thailand), Khachapuri (Georgia), and Ceviche (Peru). Unfortunately, as Mexico’s gastronomy is being celebrated abroad it is becoming increasingly out of reach for many Mexicans.
In many parts of the country, as traditional modes of agricultural production change, residents are increasingly likely to subsist on a diet that is heavy in sugary soda, processed snacks, and greasy, fried meats. This is because, while Mexico exports vegetables and other farm products, the country increasingly is relying on imported corn and heavily processed foods.
In Mexico City today, residents and visitors can sample gourmet interpretations of regional dishes at upscale restaurants, yet small-scale farmers are finding it difficult to grow even the most basic of local produce, such as corn. It is becoming more common for locals to eat and drink highly processed forms in chips, sweets, and soda, rather than in tortillas, tamales, and atole.
While Mexico’s local production and consumption of vegetables has declined precipitously, we can’t deny tacos al pastor is a delicious meal that most people around the world enjoy. On National Taco Day, don’t forget to enjoy your favorite flavor!