Taco Day: All About this Mexican Street Food


October 4th marks National Taco Day in the US. A staple of Mexican street food, cooks can make this dish in a variety of different ways with a myriad of different ingredients. In today’s blog, we’re diving into the history behind this perfect hand-food. Plus, the plethora of variations it comes in. 

What is a Taco?

A taco is a traditional Mexican dish. It consists of a small hand-sized corn or wheat tortilla topped with a filling. To eat, the tortilla folds arounds the filling. Eaters can use their hands. The filling includes:

Additionally, other garnishes include condiments such as:

And, other vegetables such as:

The taco is similar to other antojitos (Mexican street food) such as: the burrito, which is larger and rolled rather than folded; the taquitos which are rolled and fried; and, tostadas which is when the tortilla is fried before filling. 

Its History

The origin of the taco is not precisely known. In fact, the word is a Mexican innovation as in the Spanish language, in other contexts, it means “wedge; plug; short, stocky person; or short, thick piece of wood”. 

This is because the taco predates the arrival of the Spanish in Mexico. There is evidence that the indigenous people living there traditionally ate the dish filled with small fish. In fact, this leads to the proposal that the word actually derives for the Nahuatl “tlacho” meaning “half” or “in the middle”. 

Traditional and Non-Traditional Variations

As we mentioned, we can prepare a taco in a number of different ways. First, let’s start with the traditional variations. 


As an accompaniment to the dish, sliced red radishes, lime slices, salt, and pickled or grilled chilies come with the taco. 


As the taco popularised around the world, other countries made their own variation of the dish. 

And there you have it — the many varieties of the diverse taco! Which will you be eating today?

About the Author

Lydia B.

Lydia B.

Lydia B. is a Marketing Coordinator and Music Club Coach for Gooroo Clubs. Don't let after-school be an afterthought - join Gooroo's online platform centred around hands-on project-based learning!