Americas Love Affair with Tacos

In honor of last week’s Mexican celebration Cinco de Mayo, I thought it would be fun to highlight American’s love affair with tacos.   Afterall, Americans ate 4.5 BILLION tacos last year alone, or in other words… enough tacos to fill up 2 Empire State Buildings!

Tacos are first recorded historically in the 16th century, however the ones that resemble what we eat today are closer to the 18th century…eventually immigrating to America in the 1905.  Depending on the place Mexicans immigrated from, the type of taco varied that becomes regional in the US varies.  For instance, the Sonoran carne asada taco is what I am familiar with growing up near the Mexican border in Tucson.  But here in San Francisco, the Baja version fish tacos are more prevalent.  I am thrilled to report that I’ve never tried the Bajio version called de cabeza.  It is accurate in its translation…head tacos.  The meat is derived from a cow’s head that is steamed overnight and then shredded.

An interesting migration of a Lebanese schwarma called the al pastor is now the undisputed king of tacos in Mexico.  It’s a blend of  slow-cooked port, with added onion and pineapples! Since this wasn’t introduced into Mexico until the 1960s, it’s become very popular quickly.

The internationally popular Taco Bell actually got it start when owner Glen Bell opened a taco stand in 1954…then in 1962 he opened up the ever-popular Taco Bell in Downey, California. 

You can read more fun information about tacos below, and big thanks to for creating this infographic!