31 Amazing Tacos from Mexico Every Taco Addict Must Try

Ready to discover the best tacos of Mexico?

You’ve come to the right place, and the right guide! As a Mexico expat, who’s been to over half the states in the country, and eaten way more than her fair share of tacos from Mexico — I’ve picked up some knowledge along the way.

In this article, I’m sharing all my knowledge of traditional Mexico tacos with you. You’re going to discover 31 unique types of tacos you’ll find in Mexico — and I’m not talkin’ chicken, beef or shrimp here — there are totally different styles, preparations, textures and flavors.

Ready to discover the best, authentic Mexican tacos?! Let’s get to it! After you check out the 31 types of tacos in Mexico, check out the Tacos From Mexico FAQ at the end of the article, to get some all the taco knowledge and every true taco lover will want to know about.

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Pork tacos from Mexico

Tacos al Pastor

What is tacos al pastor?

Tacos al pastor are the undisputed king of Mexico tacos! They are the most-eaten tacos in Mexico City, and all over the country. Literally translated, tacos al pastor in English means “shepard’s tacos,” or “pastor tacos,” as in a church pastor.

🌮 The best place to try tacos al pastor is Mexico City.

Funny enough, these tacos have Middle Eastern origins. When you see tacos al pastor meat cooking in Mexico, it is on what’s called a trompo. This literally translates to “top,” as in a children’s top toy, and is basically an Arabian-style vertical spit.

Here’s a fun fact about these particular tacos from Mexico: The country had a large influx of Middle Eastern (mostly Lebanese) immigrants from about 1880-1935. They brought with them their design esthetic, architecture styles, social customs, and of course, cooking techniques.

man cutting meat for a taco
Pastor taco meat is the among the most popular meats for tacos in Mexico.

Essentially, Mexican cooks took a gyro or shawarma, and made these adaptations to create the taco al pastor, the most popular of all taco meats:

  1. The meat used in Mexico is pork, instead of beef, lamb or turkey, which is common in the Middle East
  2. In Mexico, the spices used in tacos al pastor includes chile guajillo and chile de arbol (tree chili), among other local spices an chiles
  3. The addition of pineapple, which you’ll see at the top of the trompo, dripping a bit of juice onto the meat as it cooks.

When discussing tacos in Mexico, these are the hands-down favorite for so many. On any trip to Mexico, you have to eat tacos al pastor at least once! They are one of the most common street foods — but check these tips on how to pick the best street food in Mexico.

tacos al pastor
Tacos al pastor con todo — which means “with everything,” including diced white onion, cilantro and pineapple.

Pork tacos from Mexico

Tacos Arabes

What are tacos arabes?

Tacos arabes (Arabian tacos) are near-identical to tacos al pastor. They have the same pork meat, but different seasonings. For this reason, taco arabe meat isn’t red like pastor meat. As they originated in the Puebla State, some call these the most authentic Puebla tacos.

🌮 The place to try the best tacos arabes in Mexico is in Mexico City and Puebla City, Mexico.

meat cooking on a spit or trompo
Tacos arabes meat is about the same as tacos al pastor meat, but seasoned with different spices so it’s less red in color.

These tacos traditionally come served on pan arabe (Arabian bread), a tortilla/pita bread hybrid, but you can order them with regular tortillas too. Though different taqueros (taco chefs) prepare them differently, the vast majority will not have pineapple.

If taco al pastor are a Mexican-Middle Eastern hybrid, tacos arabes more closely resemble a true Middle Easten gyro or shawarma. Like pastor tacos, they are topped with diced white onions and cilantro, and each diner adds a squeeze of fresh lime and salsa to their taste.

Caption: Tacos arabes are among the most popular types of street tacos in Mexico, and can be eaten on the go, just like a gyro or shawarma.

Pork tacos from Mexico

Cochinita Pibil Tacos

What is cochinita pibil?

If pastor is the king of meats in Central Mexico, in the Yucatan Peninsula, it’s all about cochinita pibil. In fact, many say it’s hard to get good cochinita pibil (pronounced co-chee-nee-tah pee-bill) outside of the Yucatan, as the ingredients only grow there locally.

🌮 The place to try the best cochinita pibil in Mexico is in Mérida, Mexico — known as the Cultural Capital of Yucatan.

The word cochinita means “little pig,” and to make cochinita pibil, you’ll need a whole suckling pig. It is traditionally slow cooked in an underground oven called a pib — hence the name cochinita pibil.

three meat tacos on a plate
Tacos de cochinita are served with a side of pickled red onions and habanero salsa.

This Yucatan food delicacy is both marinated and cooked in a mixture of naranja agria (sour orange) and a spice called achiote (pronounced ah-she-oh-tay AKA annatto), two flavors unique to the Yucatan. As with all slow-cooked meats, cochinita pibil comes out tender and juicy.

Try your cochinita on a taco, or the more traditional panucho, a tortilla stuffed with refried black beans, or salbute (puffy, fried tortilla). Cochinita pibil tacos, panuchos and salbutes are traditionally eaten topped with pickled red onions and (at least a little bit of) habanero salsa.

Pork tacos from Mexico

Longaniza Tacos (Chorizo Tacos)

What is longaniza?

Longaniza is a type of chorizo (red sausage) — though some say it is the best preparation of chorizo sausage. As chorizo is a common sausage, eaten in many Latin American countries and the U.S., let’s focus on longaniza specifically.

🌮 The place to try the best longaniza tacos in Mexico is in Valladolid, Mexico, though you can find chorizo tacos all over the country.

What’s the difference between chorizo and longaniza?

What separates longaniza from regular chorizo is the way the meat is prepared. The meat for standard chorizo is ground, whereas longaniza meat is minced (chopped by hand). It is a longer, thinner shaped-sausage, and typically spicier than chorizo.

Besides tacos de longaniza, this Mexican sausage is also a popular breakfast food. It is often served with scrambled eggs, and you’ll get tortillas on the side to make your own tacos. If you love a good Mexican breakfast taco, be on the lookout for longaniza con huevo, or chorizo con huevo.

Chorizo tacos with nopal (cactus), a popular Mexico taco topping.

Pork tacos from Mexico

Suadero Tacos

What is suadero?

Suadero meat can be from both a pig or cow, depending on where you are in Mexico. It is essentially flank steak or brisket, and comes from the area between the leg and belly of the animal. Tacos al suadero meat is cooked in plenty of lard for a yummy, greasy taco.

🌮 The place to try the best suadero tacos in Mexico is in Mexico City.

Tacos suaderos are a beloved Mexico City street food, especially as a late night taco (after drinking). In fact, Anthony Bourdain (RIP) filmed an episode of his No Reservations show in Mexico City, and enjoyed some suadero tacos from Taquería Los Cocuyos in Centro Historico.

Caption: Some call suadero tacos the best tacos in Mexico City, and after Señor Anthony Bourdain visited on his show, Los Cocuyos Mexico City became a must-visit for foodies.

Suadero meat simmering in a pot, along with cebollín (scallion) and chorizo (red sausage).

Pork tacos from Mexico

Carnitas Tacos

What is carnitas?

Carnitas meat is essentially fried pork, and one of the most beloved types of taco meat. Some call this the traditional Mexican food equivalent of pulled pork, as the meat is cooked in large chunks and then shredded. Pork shoulder is the most used cut, prized for its higher fat content.

🌮 The place to try the best carnitas tacos is in Mexico is in Michoacan State, which includes the UNESCO World Heritage City of Morelia, Mexico.

As mentioned, this preparation of fried pork is most associated with Mexico City’s neighboring state of Michoacan. The best way to cook carnitas is over an open flame and in a large cazo de cobre copper pot — as some say the hand-crafted post from Michoacan enhances the flavor.

pile of meat for carnitas tacos
A mountain of carnitas meat about to be made into carnita tacos.

Pork tacos from Mexico

Tasajo Tacos

What is tasajo? 

Tasajo (pronounced tah-saa-hoe) is a salted, dried cut of pork meat — thicker, juicier beef jerky. It is similar to cecina, which comes from a cow, thought tasajo is pork. Tacos de tasajo are mostly eaten in Oaxaca City and the rest of the state. 

🌮 The place to try the best tasajo in Mexico is in Oaxaca State.

Chicharron Tacos

What is chicharron?

Chicharron is fried pork skin, made fresh throughout Mexico but also available in the chip aisle of the grocery store — and known as pork rinds in the U.S. If you can’t get a real taco, you can always eat some pork rinds for some Mexican taco flavors! 

🌮 You can find chicharrón in Mexico all over the country, though there’s different preparations in different parts of Mexico.

There are several ways to serve tacos de chicharron, including drowned in salsa so it gets soft, and as fried skin with some meat attached, keeping the delicious crispy texture. There’s also chicharron preparado, which is basically nachos made with chicharron instead of tortilla chips.

Tacos de chicharron with peppers, corn and guacamole.

Pork tacos from Mexico

Lechon Tacos

What is lechon?

Lechon is essentially slow roasted pork, sometimes called cochito in Mexico. It is essentially the same slow cooked pig dish which you’d find at a luau in Hawaii or in popular Filipino dishes like lechon kawali.

🌮 The place to try the best lechon in Mexico is in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Though lechon isn’t a Mexico food preparation per se, you will only find it in taco form as tacos de lechon in Mexico. This type of taco is very popular in the Yucatan Peninsula, which borders the Caribbean Sea, as lechon is also made on Caribbean Islands like Cuba, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

You can find it throughout the Yucatan in as a tortas de lechon (lechon sandwiches). These are often eaten as a grab and go breakfast food form a street food vendor. Tacos de lechon are also eaten for lunch, though you likely won’t find them as a dinner item.

Many love lechon because you get both the crispy skin on the outside and the soft meat on the inside.

meat tacos from Mexico

Barbacoa Tacos

🌮 The place to try the best barbacoa in Mexico is in Mexico City and Hidalgo State — where you’ll find the famous Las Grutas Tolantongo Mexico hot springs.

What is barbacoa?

Barbacoa in English translates to barbecue. While barbacoa in Mexico differs from American BBQ, it is taken just as seriously as the BBQ in places like Texas and Kansas City.

Tacos from Mexico are incredibly regional, and vary from state to state. The place most associated with barbacoa is Hidalgo State, located next to Mexico City. However, different variations are made all over the country, including the beef barbacoa in Chiapas State.

table spread of tacos with limes, salsas, soup
Traditional Hidalgo barbacoa is served with consome (soup broth), salsa borracha (drunk salsa made) and blue corn tortillas. (Photo: El Hidalguense via Facebook)

The type of meat used differs from region to region, but Hidalgo style barbacoa is made from borrego (sheep). Depending on where you are in Mexico, barbacoa can be made with sheep, goat, lamb or beef. 

In Mexico, much like the U.S., barbacoa is traditionally a weekend food. This doesn’t just mean something eaten on the weekends, but also that it’s often only available on weekends, as barbacoa takes nearly all week to prepare and cook.

Barbacoa tacos are traditionally eaten with a side of consome (consommé, or soup broth). It is also more of a morning food, with barbacoa sellers usually closing up shop around 2pm. In fact, many eat barbacoa tacos and consome for breakfast, as it’s a known hangover cure!

tacos with blue corn tortillas and red and green salsas
Many say El Hidalguense has the best barbacoa in Mexico City. You can see for yourself, as they are featured on an episode of Netflix: Taco Chronicles. (Photo: El Hidalguense via Facebook)

meat tacos from mexico

Birria Tacos

What is birria?

In Mexican slang, birria loosely translates to something of low value. As far as birria tacos, they definitely aren’t! In fact, these are among the most comforting of all tacos in Mexico, and some of the best tacos in Puerto Vallarta, Guadalajara and other places in Jalisco State.

🌮 The place to try the best birria tacos in Mexico is in Jalisco State, which includes the cities of Puerto Vallarta, Guadalajara and Tequila, Mexico.

Birria is a stew, traditionally made with goat (sometimes beef). It is usually served in a bowl with corn tortillas on the side, so you can make your own tacos. The birria stew is slow-cooked in adobo, a popular Mexican spice, as well as other spices, onion and garlic.

They can also come served as an actual taco, with meat, diced white onion and cilantro. If so, the tortilla is first dipped in the red-colored stew liquid, then heated before serving. This turns the tortilla red, and is why birria tacos are sometimes called “red tacos.”

Tacos de birria have long been a Central Mexican favorite. In recent years, the quesabirria has become popular in the U.S., thanks to Teddy’s Red Tacos in LA. Their Instagram worthy “quesabirria” is a birria taco with melted cheese and a side of consome (broth) for dipping.

A taquero (taco chef) preparing a birria taco in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

meat tacos from mexico

Bistec Tacos

What is bistec?

There are basically three beef tacos of Mexico: arrachera (flank steak), asada (cooked over charcoal), and bistec. Of the three, bistec tacos are the most “basic” — and they are quite simply meat tacos made with the less-expensive parts of the cow.

🌮 The place to try the best bistec tacos in Mexico is really anywhere, though northern Mexico is known to have the best beef in Mexico.

Carne asada tacos are popular in both Mexico and the U.S.
meat tacos from mexico

Carne Asada Tacos

What is carne asada?

Carne asada in English means “roasted meat.” Tacos de carne asada are made with cow meat, which is why this type of taco is much more common in northern Mexico — where cow is eaten more than pork. 

🌮 The place to try the best carne asada tacos in Mexico is in northern Mexico, including the cities of Monterrey and Creel, Mexico.

Unlike other types of beef tacos, carne asada is cooked over charcoal, which imparts a delicious, smoky flavor into the meat. As asada is common in the north part of the country, you’ll find both carne asada burritos and tacos — as burritos are also a North Mexico specialty.

Pasillo de Humo: Oaxaca’s Smoke alley

For a unique experience, head to the Pasillo de Humo, meaning “Smoke Corridor” in Oaxaca City, Mexico. This is an entire section of Oaxaca’s Mercado 20 de Noviembre (market) that sells only asada meats and veggies. Check out the video below ⤵

meat tacos from mexico

Arrachera Tacos

What is arrachera?

Arrachera in English is basically the hanger cut, sometimes called skirt steak. Oftentimes, when you order tacos de arrachera, you’ll get a full plate of meat along with sauteed onions, peppers and melted cheese, with tortillas on the side to make your own tacos.

🌮 The place to try the best arrachera in Mexico is really anywhere, though northern Mexico is known to have the best beef.

Cabrito Tacos

What is cabrito?

Tacos de cabrito are essentially roasted goat tacos. They are seldom found outside of North Mexico — so make sure to try these if you’re visiting the north, especially the city of Monterrey or the nearby Santiago pueblo magico (magic town).

🌮 The place to try the best cabrito tacos in Mexico is in Monterrey, Mexico, and other cities in the north part of the country.

Cabrito (little goat, or kid) is traditionally cooked standing up like this.

meat tacos from mexico

Cecina Tacos

What is cecina?

Cecina is a dried, salted cow meat, with a texture that’s a mix between a flank steak and beef jerky. The best tacos de cecina come from Morelos State, though you’ll find cecina throughout Central Mexico. You’ll also enjoy the unique tacos acorazados, or “battleship tacos,” in Morelos.

🌮 The place to try the best cecina in Mexico is in Morelos State.

Tinga Tacos

What is tinga?

Tinga in English means “torn.” The most common Mexican tinga recipe is tinga de pollo tacos (chicken tinga tacos). It is made with torn or shredded chicken cooked in a chipotle, tomato and onion sauce, and similar to American BBQ sauce in flavor.

🌮 The place to try the best tinga in Mexico is in the state of Puebla, Mexico, though you can find it in many other places.

Chicken is one of the lesser-used Mexican meats for tacos, so for those who don’t eat red meat, be on the lookout for chicken tinga tacos. There’s even a delicious vegan tinga version you can find made with shredded carrots and cooked in the same sauce.

Chichen tinga tacos offer a nice, lighter option for when you need a break from all the pork and beef tacos of Mexico!

meat tacos from mexico

Machaca Tacos

What is machaca?

Machaca is a salted, dried meat or pork that gets re-hydrated before it’s cooked. The machaca preparation comes from the North Mexico state of Chihuahua. You can get it as tacos de machaca, or as a sort of breakfast hash in machaca con huevo (egg with machaca).

🌮 The place to try the best machaca in Mexico is in the the north part of the country, like Creel pueblo magico (magic town) in the state of Chihuahua.

Mixiote Tacos

What is mixiote?

Mixiote in English translates to “mix,” and mixiote is pronounced as mish-she-oh-tay (the “x” is an “sh” sound). It is very similar to barbacoa, though instead of one type of meat, it’s a mix of several meats including lamb, beef, mutton/sheep and pork.

🌮 The place to try the best mixiote in Mexico is in places throughout Central Mexico, including Hidalgo State, Mexico City and Guerrero State.

The meat is slow cooked in its own juice, which imparts a lot of flavor and also gives you a very tender, juicy meat. It may come served inside a tortilla as tacos de mixiote, or in a little pouch, similar so you get all the yummy juice to add to your tacos.

Mixiote meat often comes served in a little bag, and you can make your own tacos.

Seafood tacos from Mexico

Fish Tacos (Tacos de Pescado)

🌮 You’ll find all the best Mexico fish tacos is coastal towns and beach towns in Mexico, which all make their fish tacos a different way.

While most places in the U.S. that advertise “Mexican fish tacos” mean fried fish tacos, there is much more variation in Mexico. While you can find fried fish tacos, similar to fried shrimp tacos de camaron, there’s also delicious smoked marlin tacos (marlin ahumado), and many more.

  • Sinaloa Fish Tacos: In Sinaloa state, which has the famous Mexico beach town of Mazatlan, Mexico, don’t miss the tacos gobernador (fish covered in melted cheese and bacon).
  • Baja Fish Tacos: The standard fried fish pescado tacos are found on the Baja California Peninsula on the west coast of Mexico. These are known as Estilo Baja, or Baja style tacos.
  • Nayarit Fish Tacos: In Nayarit state, which has the famous Mexico surf town of Sayulita, Mexico, don’t miss the tacos de pescado zarandeado (BBQ fish tacos).
  • Yucatan Peninsula Fish Tacos: In some places throughout the Yucatan Peninsula, you’ll find tacos de pescado tikinxik (fish cooked in an achiote, or annatto, sauce).
three fish tacos with purple cabbage and avocado
Estilo baja fried fish tacos, topped with cabbage slaw and avocado.

Seafood tacos from Mexico

Tacos de Cazon (Pan de Cazon)

What are tacos de cazon?

This is a regional delicacy, which you likely won’t find outside of the Yucatan Peninsula. Cazón in English means “dogfish,” though it’s actually a small shark (sometimes called tiburoncito). It is available in a taco or empanada, though more popular as a dish called pan de cazon.

🌮 The place to try the best cazon tacos in Mexico is in Veracruz State or the Yucatan Peninsula.

Ok, so what is pan de cazon?

Pan de cazón in English means “dogfish bread,” and it’s sort of a Mexican lasagne. It’s basically made with alternating layers of fried corn tortillas and flaked dogfish, then smothered in a red tomato sauce. 

Pan de cazon is just one popular preparation with cazón (dogfish) — you can also find tacos de cazón.

seafood tacos from mexico

Baja Shrimp Tacos

What are Baja shrimp tacos?

Tacos estilo baja (Baja style) are one of the tacos of Mexico many Americans are familiar with. These consist of fried shrimp (sometimes fried fish) with a fresh cabbage slaw on top. They are served with fresh limes and salsa, which each diner can add to their taste.

🌮 The place to try the best shrimp tacos in Mexico is the city of Ensenada, located in the Baja California Peninsula.

You can find them all over the Baja California Peninsula on the country’s west coast, though they are said to have been invented in the Mexican beach town of Ensenada. It is located only a few hours from San Diego, and a popular Mexican cruise port and party town.

Fried shrimp tacos cooked estilo baja (baja shrimp tacos).

Insect & Organ Meat tacos from Mexico

Lengua Tacos (Tongue Tacos)

What are lengua tacos?

Lengua in English means “tongue” — and yes, these are cow tongue tacos. You can find them all over the country, though they are very popular in Mexico City, as well as many offal or organ meat tacos.

🌮 The place to try the best lengua tacos in Mexico is in Mexico City. However, you can find great beef tongue tacos in other parts of the country as well.

Tongue tacos have a bit of a chewy texture, similar to that of a hot dog. Though many can’t get past the “eating a tongue” thing, street food chefs in Mexico have perfected how to perfectly cook this often undervalued organ meat.

Tongue tacos are popular throughout the country, and for many, they are some of the best tacos from Mexico!

Insect & Organ Meat tacos from Mexico

Cabeza Tacos (Head Tacos)

What are cabeza tacos?

Cabeza in English means “head” — and yes, these are cow’s head tacos. On a personal note, they are some of my absolute favorite tacos of Mexico, as the cabeza meat is some of the softest meat you’ll ever eat in your life!

🌮 The place to try the best cabeza tacos in Mexico is in Mexico City. However, you can find great tacos de cabeza in other parts of the country as well.

The taco de cabeza will contain all parts of the cow’s head, from cheeks to ears, though not the tongue, which is saved for tacos de lengua. The entire head is slow-cooked in a giant pot with different spices and aromatics, then chopped up and put into the tortillas to be enjoyed.

You can find them all over the country, though they are very popular in Mexico City, as well as many offal or organ meat tacos. When visiting, be on the lookout for a large pot of meat stewing, and that taquería (taco shop or taco stand) will likely have tacos de cabeza.

Want to try organ meat tacos? Buche tacos are made with pig stomach that’s been slow-stewed and is similar to tripa tacos (tripe).

pot of various meats for tacos
The big pot of organ meats and chorizo at the famous Taqueria Los Cocuyos Mexico City.

Insect & Organ Meat tacos from Mexico

Grasshopper Tacos (Tacos de Chapulin)

What are chapulines?

Chapulines are a type of small grasshopper, eaten throughout Central Mexico, though many consider them a Oaxaca food. The chapulín grasshopper offers a fat-free, high protein food source, and these insects have been eaten for centuries by the Aztecs and other pre-hispanic civilizations.

🌮 The place to try the best chapulines in Mexico is in Mexico City or Oaxaca State.

Nowadays, you can find tacos de chapulines (grasshopper tacos), but they are also eaten as a pizza topping, and served on top of guacamole for a crunchy texture. If you want to try other insects in Mexican cuisine, there’s also tacos de chicatanas (winged ant tacos).

Chapulines grasshoppers are a popular taco filling in some parts of Mexico.

Other tacos from Mexico

Tacos Guisados (Stew Tacos)

What are guisado tacos?

Guisado translates to “stew” in English, and tacos guisados are basically the home cookin’ style tacos you’d find in someone’s home. They are essentially stewed meats and veggies that are wrapped in a tortilla, inseat of eaten with a fork.

🌮 The place to try the best guisado tacos in Mexico is in Mexico City or Puebla State.

You’ll know a traditional tacos guisado restaurant in Mexico because they will have all their taco fillings in a cazuela (casserole dish). These are the terra cotta-colored earthenware clay pots that the guisado is both cooked in, and also served in.

There are a few standard guisados used as taco fillings, like chicharron (fried pork in salsa), mole (one of the best Oaxaca foods) and tinga de pollo (BBQ shredded chicken). However, creative tacos guisados sellers throughout Mexico might also offer up their own unique recipes.

clay pots or casserole dishes with cooked foods in them
You’ll always know a tacos de guisado shop by their Mexican cazuelas (casserole dishes), used to cook and serve the food.

other tacos from Mexico

Campechano Taco

What are campechano tacos?

Originating in the Mexico state of Campeche — hence the name, campechano — the original tacos campechanos were a mixture of beef and chorizo sausage. Now, these tacos can be a combination of any two different meats combined, not just beef and sausage.

🌮 The place to try the best campechano tacos in Mexico is in Campeche City, Mexico or Tabasco State. However, you can find them in Mexico City and other places as well.

Tacos de Canasta (Basket Tacos)

What are tacos de canasta?

Tacos de canasta in English means “basket tacos.” As the name states, they are carried around in a basket and sold on the street — making them one of the original Mexican street foods! They come in many varieties, with the most popular being chorizo con papa (sausage and potato).

🌮 The place to try the best canasta tacos in Mexico is in Mexico City.

You’ll see sellers with large baskets biking around Mexico City, pausing at certain spots to sell their basket tacos for a short time, before biking to the next spot. They sort of follow the flow of foot traffic, or just set up at busy bus stops and outside of Mexico City Metro entrances.

Nowadays, the more well known tacos canasta vendors are in brick and mortar shops. However, if you’re in Mexico City and see someone on a bike with a large basket and containers of salsa strapped to the sides of the bikes — try to grab some tacos de canasta from them.

woman holding tacos to serve
Mexico City’s most famous tacos de canasta vendor, Lady Tacos de Canasta. (Photo: Lady Tacos de Canasta via Facebook)

other tacos from Mexico

Vegan Tacos

In Mexico, pork and beef are undeniably staple foods. However, as a country with so much fresh produce that grows year-round, the Mexico vegan scene is challenging the culinary status quo.

🌮 The places to try the best vegan tacos in Mexico include Tulum, and any large city, like Guadalajara, Merida and Mexico City.

Now, if you’re visiting Mexican pueblos (small towns), it’s honestly not easy to eat vegan in Mexico. In large and medium-sized cities, you’ll find several vegan restaurants and cafes to choose from — particularly in Mexico City.

Some of the best vegan tacos in Mexico include tacos de papa (potato tacos), jamaica tacos (hibiscus flowers), flor de calabaza tacos (zucchini flowers), and nopal (cactus). The one thing you always have to ask is whether the ingredients are cooked in asiento (pork lard).

Tacos de huitlacoche (AKA corn mushroom) are a well known Mexican vegan taco option.

What is huitlacoche?

One of the most unique tacos of Mexico is huitlacoche (pronounced wheat-la-co-chay). This is technically called corn smut, and is a natural fungus that grows on the side of corn. It is similar to kimchi in Korean cuisine, in that it’s a fermented food which is chock full of antioxidants.

It has an earthy taste, and is sometimes called “corn mushroom” or “Mexican truffle.” Huitlacoche tacos are common in Central Mexico, but you can find it in other places as well.

Charly’s Vegan Tacos are some of the best tacos in Tulum for vegans. (Photo: Charlie Marchant via Flickr)

other tacos from Mexico

Tacos Potosinos (Tacos Rojos)

What are potosino tacos?

The central Mexico state of San Luis Potosí has its unique and delicious taco version in tacos potosinos. Though enchiladas potosinos are more common than tacos, you can get the same preparation in taco form! 

🌮 The place to try the best potosino tacos in Mexico is in San Luis Potosi State, where you’ll find the beautiful Huasteca Potosina.

Potosino enchiladas and tacos are usually stuffed with shredded chicken, potatoes, carrots and cheese. After plating, they are smothered in a special red salsa, and topped with shredded lettuce, crema and cheese. Tacos potosinos are sometimes called tacos rojos or tacos camila.

If these sound yummy to you, you’ll also love the tacos de nata from Guanajuato State. These are similar to potosino tacos, but come smothered in a mild, creamy tomato sauce.

Enchiladas potosinos, as well as tacos potosinos, have red tortillas because of the red salsa used in this dish.

other tacos from Mexico

Tacos Dorados (Fried Tacos)

What are dorados tacos? (What are flautas?)

Tacos dorados refer to any kind of fried taco, and they are found all over Mexico. They are prepared, then rolled up like a cigar, and ultimately, deep fried. They are then topped with sour cream, shredded lettuce and cheese before being served. 

Depending on where you’re eating them, you might see other names of tacos dorados used, like flautas, taquitos or fritanga tacos.

taquitos on a plate
If there was a “Most names of Mexican tacos” award, tacos dorados would win because they go by many other names — like flautas, taquitos and fritangas.

Tacos From Mexico FAQ: Everything You Need to Know

What are tacos?

Wondering, What qualifies as a taco? Though we all may think we know what a taco is — to make an authentic Mexican taco, you really only need three things: tortilla + filling + salsa = taco!

Beyond that, many people add in toppings, though they are optional. Some of the most popular taco toppings are crema (sour cream), beans, cheese, rice, diced white onion, and cilantro. However, most tacos from Mexico are just served with the tortilla and meat.

As salsa adds the “heat” element, the salsa is left off so each diner can use the type at the spice level they prefer. There’s usually two types of salsa available (salsa roja-red and salsa verde-green), though some taquerías (taco shops) have additional options.

best tacos in mexico city

RELATED ARTICLE 🌮 50 Best Tacos in Mexico City + Free Map to Find Them

best tacos from mexico

How do I choose the best Mexico street tacos?

As many people are wondering how to NOT get sick in Mexico, picking the right Mexican street tacos is a good place to start. Now, don’t take this as medical advice — rather, suggestions from a longtime Mexico expat who’s eaten her fair share of tacos without incident.

Here are four tips that will help you pick the best street tacos from Mexico:

  1. Look for long lines: Yes, lines suck! However, in a country like Mexico, with taquerías on every block, only the best places survive. If you see a long line, it’s usually a good sign.
  2. Look for taxi drivers: As a cab driver’s office is their car, they can eat anywhere in town they want. If you see a lot of taxis outside of a taquería it usually means the palace is both good — and cheap!
  3. Look for two employees: There should be one person cooking the food, and another who handles the money.
  4. Look for hand sanitizer: If you don’t see a giant Costco-sized bottle of hand sanitizer at that taco stand, that means their employees likely aren’t using any.
Tacos tacos tacos! If you go to Mexico and don’t eat way too many tacos — did you even go to Mexico!?

best tacos from mexico

Where did tacos come from?

Wondering, Who invented tacos? It was Mexico, of course! Tacos are said to have been eaten by pre-hispanic civilizations, long before the Spanish arrived. If you never knew the answer to Are tacos Mexican food? — you now know they’re the ultimate Mexican food! 

There is anthropological evidence that the indigenous people living in the lake region of the Valley of Mexico (Central Mexico) traditionally ate tacos filled with small fish. (Source: Wiki)

What’s more authentic: Corn tortillas or Flour tortillas? Soft shell or Hard shell?

Short answer: It depends on the type of taco. With so many different types of tacos, there just isn’t a “this type is the most authentic” answer to this debate.

Though some foodies and, ahem, taco snobs, will say corn tortillas are used in the more authentic types of Mexican tacos — that’s simply not true. In Central and Southern Mexico, they do use mostly corn tortillas, but in the north and on the west coast, flour is more common.

As far as soft shell tortillas vs hard shell tortillas, this also depends on where the taco is from. Admittedly, throughout most of Mexico, you’ll see soft shell corn and flour tortillas, states and towns that border the U.S. do use hard shell tacos, which you’ll see in the famed Tex-Mex Cuisine.

The American tacos vs Mexican tacos debate usually centers around the type of tortilla to use: hard shell or soft shell.

Where are the best tacos from Mexico?

As you know, the “best” of anything is subjective. In short, there’s no best tacos in Mexico; there is only your best taco in Mexico! While tacos in the U.S. are pretty standard: hard shell, grilled chicken or ground beef, lettuce, tomato and cheese — in Mexico, there is so much more variety.

Above, you’ve discovered 31 distinct types of tacos from Mexico. These different tacos are usually associated with only one region, state, or city or town in Mexico. Some tacos might be familiar, but you’ll likely discover many new ones, and of them, that one might become your best taco.

Is there Taco Bell in Mexico?

No! A few locations have opened, then promptly closed, throughout the years. However, you may find knock off Taco Bells in Mexico that are unrelated to the large chain, which locals have named in tribute (or as a joke 😆).

This Tijuana Taco Bell is known to have some of the best tacos in Tijuana, Mexico 😆🤣 (Photo: Sam Sabapathy via Flickr)

Final Thoughts: Traditional Tacos from Mexico

Though this was a long list — it’s still not an exhaustive list! There are many of types of tacos Mexico has that aren’t even listed here, like tacos mineros (stuffed with potato, pork and beans) from Aguascalientes State, and taco envenenado, the “poisoned taco” from Zacatecas State.

For those lucky enough to visit Mexico, you likely won’t be disappointed by any of the different kinds of tacos you try. While different places have special tacos, true taco fanatics can’t go wrong with a trip to Mexico City as it’s where you’ll find get the most variety among all these best Mexico City tacos.

Which of these tacos from Mexico rated highest for you?

I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a line in the comments below and let me know which of these traditional Mexican tacos you can’t wait to try.

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  1. simplyjolayne says:

    Who knew there were so many varieties of tacos!? I appreciate all of the information you provide within your posts. I learn a lot.

  2. I just learned sooo much from this! I love tacos (although I have only really had them in Vancouver and London, neither of those places are known for Mexican food…so I may not have ever had a proper good’un!)

    Now I really want to try all the meats, fish and even grasshopper tacos. I have never even heard of Tacos dorados, but they look incredible too!

  3. This article made me hungry (except the one of chapulin 😄) and make me want to go to Mexico even more

  4. JJ Jordan says:

    This post made me hungry! I really had no idea there are so many different types of taco!

  5. Oh my goodness, this whole post had me salivating! I need a food trip to Mexico, ASAP. Thanks for sharing such a wide variety, and the Taco Bell knockoffs are amazingly hilarious. Love it!

  6. Ann Marks says:

    Wow! So many tacos and not enough time! I never knew there were so many kinds and combos. Great post!

  7. Wow! This is such a great post. I had no idea there were so many varieties, styles, and combinations of tacos. I definitely feel inspired for my next Taco Tuesday!

  8. Julia Bocchese says:

    I didn’t know there were so many different types of tacos, and this post got me so hungry! I’m really intrigued by birria tacos, they really do sound like great comfort food.

  9. You had me at the heading! Wow, I’d love to work my way through your list of tacos – and where to eat them. What a trip that would be 🙂

  10. As a native of Arizona, I find this list VERY amazing. I’ve had lots of different, very legit tacos, but many of these are new to me! I would just love to go to Mexico and give these all a try someday.

  11. That is a lot of tacos! They’re one of my favourite things to eat so I really enjoyed this post. I have a massive craving now!

  12. ANUKRATI DOSI says:

    Hard shell corn tortillas, anytime for me. And your post made my mouth water. However, I a still waiting for the day when I would be able to taste tacos sitting somewhere in Mexico.

  13. Wow! I had no idea there were so many kinds of tacos. Now I need to come to Mexico. This is an amazing post!

  14. Honestly, I almost had to stop reading because I was salivating with these photos and thoughts of tacos!

  15. Malin Razali says:

    Looks really good. Don’t know there were so many varieties of tacos in Mexico.. makes me want to go to Mexico

  16. Wow! Who knew there were so many different kinds of tacos! This was quite an education. Thanks!

  17. Oh my goodness! I now know how to order tacos! Great post and beautiful images!

  18. I had Tacos today and I am still hungry haha. I had no idea that there were so many different types of tacos! definitely need to try some of these.

  19. Melissa Miller says:

    WOW. So many different tacos! I’m definitely intrigued by the Head tacos and grasshopper tacos. I’ve tried tongue tacos on accident before and I’m glad I did haha! Well, I’m sufficiently hungry for tacos now and been dying to do to Mexico! It definitely helps getting a break down of what things are. I can be hesitant to order things if I don’t know what it is. Thank you for this awesome guide!

  20. Catherine - Savvy Family Travel says:

    So many of these are new to me and I’m dying to try them! Tingas are one of my favorites. Too funny that Taco Bell is actually a legit Mexican eatery.

  21. So many delicious tacos! I’m all about all the different kinds made with pork!
    I read this right after eating dinner and now wish I had tacos for dinner!

  22. I can’t wait to get to Mexico to enjoy some of these wonderful delights. I may even try to make some myself.

  23. Suvarna Arora says:

    Omg never knew there are be so many varieties of Tacos. You made me hungry.

  24. Gosh, I am so hungry after reading this that I think I’m going to try make some of these for lunch, already have some taco shells in the cupboard (it won’t be anywhere close to as delish or authentic as these, but it’ll still be worth it). 🙂

  25. I never knew there were so many different tacos! I’m vegetarian so the vegan option seems the only real choice for me so I’ll be sure to look out for that when I next visit.

  26. I had no idea there were so many kinds of tacos, and I’ve been to Mexico. It looks like I missed out on a few. But I will say the best taco I ever had was in Chetumal (with Carne asada)…I will never forget it! 🙂

  27. Samantha Shea says:

    Wow this is such an iconic article! Though it was painful to read as I’m living somewhere that doesn’t have access to tacos or even the ingredients to make at home! Missing them so much!

  28. Wow, I really enjoyed reading this! I have always loved tacos, but had no idea how many varieties there are. I’ve been to Mexico a few times, but will have to get back soon and try more types of tacos.

  29. Nina Clapperton says:

    I am SALIVATING! These look so yum! I can’t wait to visit again and branch out from my usual fish tacos.

  30. Wellness Travel Diaries says:

    Thank you so much for including the vegan options! As someone who has food allergies, I can’t eat a lot of the meat they prepare, so know what is available is super helpful for when I visit. Thanks a ton for this super detailed post!

    1. Hi there: Thanks for writing! Traditional Mexican food is actually quite vegetable-heavy, but the one thing to be careful of is that many things are cooked in manteca (lard). However, Mexican people are generally very friendly & accommodating, so many won’t have any issues omitting ingredients, when possible.

  31. To say I’m starving after reading this post would be an understatement. I want to try them all! I honestly didn’t have a clue there were so many different types of tacos? But my goodness, I want them all. In my belly. Right now. Famished! Excellent post.

  32. Rachel - Rays of Adventure says:

    I didn’t know there were so many different types of tacos! Thanks for sharing, these all look amazing.