A classic example of Mexican cuisine, the humble taco has made it across the world – including here to Australia. It's a simple concept, but who would have thought it could cause such a culinary revolution? We think it's down to its versatility – vegan, chilli fiend, gluten-free or die-hard carnivore, the whole gang can get in on the fun with this one.
As with all good takeaway food, you eat this delight with your hands – perfect for lunch on the go or a night in on the sofa. And places like Paco's Tacos are rustling up some wonders that they'd be proud of across the South Pacific.
Mexican mystery no more
Originating in the Mexico, the name 'taco' has a few meanings. Whereas in Spanish taco aptly means 'Mexican innovation', other dialects understand it as 'wedge-shaped', referencing our beloved taco's trademark unique shape.
Since its conception hundreds of years ago, many regions around Mexico have created their own version of the traditional taco. Coastal towns rustled up one of the most popular versions, the tacos de pescado – fish tacos – where grilled or fried fish, plus cabbage or lettuce, pico de gallo, and sour cream are added to the corny case.
Another classic is tacos sudados – meaning the not-so-appetising sweaty tacos – made by filling soft-shell tortillas with a spiced meat mixture. Then you place them in a basket and cover with cloth to keep them warm and trapping in the moisture, hence the 'sweat'.
Design your own taco
Tacos came about ages ago, with anthropological guys suggesting that indigenous people in the Valley of Mexico ate tacos filled with small fish. Even Spanish conquistadors got in on the action too.
It wasn't until the early 20th century that tacos really started to take off elsewhere though. Our hard-and-soft-shell tacos as we know and love them today were born of the American-Mexican fusion in the 40s.
Versatility is the name of the game with this dish – it can be tailored to any taste, any dietary requirement and any craving. It's this adaptability that's led to all sorts of tacos. Indian-flavoured, breakfast-themed or packed with the most recent superfood, they're constantly reinvented to fit the latest trends.
Street food sensation
Paco's Taco's bring all things Mexican to Melbourne – and straight to your sofa. Their taco packs are things of beauty, where you get three tacos with all the pieces to build at home. Choose from their Carne, with slow cooked beef brisket, chipotle salsa, pico de gallo and cactus, and the Carnitas – where you'll find tender pork shoulder, peanut mole, pineapple and kohlrabi.
If you want more of a modern twist, go for the Pollo, with BBQ chicken, crisp lettuce, pickled onion and tomatillo chutney. And those not on the meat train can go for the Verduras pack, and stuff black beans, shredded carrot, pickled onions, jalapeños and feta into a corn tortilla. The good news doesn't stop there, as every taco you'll get here is gluten-free too.