Entertainment | Restaurants & Dining
|Street Eats: Puerto Vallarta Taco Stands|
The taco stand, Mexico's version of fast food
|The next time the aroma hits you, stop and sample what Mexicans have been savoring for hundreds of years. (Video Diva Productions)|
The taco stand, Mexico's version of fast food. It's a unique culinary experience not to be missed on your trip to the Bay of Banderas.
Half the fun of visiting new places and meeting new people is eating out and sampling the local cuisine. In Mexico, more than 85 percent of its people regularly eat at local taco stands. These can range from little street carts to larger and more established buildings.
The taco is a traditional Mexican dish made from corn or flour tortillas, which are folded or rolled around a filling. At many stands the shell is handmade and heated on a grill, so they are soft and super fresh.
A taco can be filled with practically any meat, fish, shellfish, vegetable, and/or cheese. It is generally eaten by hand, finger-licking good. Most stands have a wide variety of garnishes such as chunky salsas, vegetables and sauces. Plus, they add even more flavor and all are homemade. A salsa does not have to be hot. When in doubt, take a bit, put it on your plate and taste it first.
Get off the beaten tourist path and explore. Each neighborhood has it's own wide variety of taco stands. A big crowd means big taste and its popularity should be your guide. The food is inexpensive and fast.
Please remember, taco stand vendors are not likely to speak English, but with a little patience and some hand signals, you will be able to enjoy what everyone else does. Some will even offer a sample of the filling. Most have hand-written menus and even if you don't know Spanish, a taco is a taco and a quesadilla is a quesadilla.
Locals use taco stands as social gathering spots, much like coffee bars, lunch counters and burger joints in your own hometown. Each taco stand builds its reputation for best salsas, best meats, best tortillas, funniest chef, etc. Most patrons personally know these vendors.
A lot like wine tasting, take it easy. As good as they may taste, usually no more than three tacos per place will do just fine. They may look small, but once they are packed with salsas, vegetables and condiments, they are a handful.
So the next time the aroma hits you, stop and sample what Mexicans have been savoring for hundreds of years.
| B E L O W T H E F O L D |
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