The History of Street Tacos in Jalisco

April 23, 2023

Street tacos have a long and rich history in Jalisco, a state located on Mexico’s Pacific coast. In fact, street tacos can be traced back to the pre-Columbian era, when indigenous peoples in Jalisco would roast meat over open fires and serve it with corn tortillas. While you may not be too familiar with this meal, at Los Reyes, it’s the heart of what we do.

Here, we’re taking you back in time to the beginning of the street taco phenomenon.


The earliest beginnings.

As Mexico underwent colonization in the 16th century, culinary traditions were heavily influenced by Spanish and European flavors. In Jalisco, this meant the introduction of new ingredients. A few ingredients included beef, pork, and chicken, which were added to the traditional roasted meats of the indigenous peoples. These meats were then served in corn tortillas, creating the earliest versions of what we now know as street tacos.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, street tacos became increasingly popular, particularly in the larger cities. Street vendors, or “taco stands,” set up shop on the streets to serve a variety of meats. A few of the most popular included carne asada (grilled beef) and carnitas (braised pork), in corn or flour tortillas. These taco stands became a staple of Jalisco’s street food scene and were a cheap and convenient way for people to grab a quick bite while on the go.


It wasn’t long before this meal became popular.

As street tacos gained popularity, they also began to evolve and diversify. In the mid-20th century, adding toppings such as salsa, cheese, and lettuce gave rise to new variations. One of the favorites was the al pastor (made with spit-roasted pork and pineapple) and the taco de pescado (made with battered and fried fish).

Today, authentic street tacos are a beloved and integral part of Jalisco’s food culture. If visiting, tacos can be found at stands and street markets throughout the state. They are often served with toppings and sauces, such as guacamole, crema, and pico de gallo. And, of course, are enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds.

In recent years, this meal has gained popularity beyond the borders of Jalisco, with Mexican restaurants and taco stands popping up in cities worldwide. The increase in popularity has helped spread the rich culinary tradition to new audiences globally.


Los Reyes Street Tacos |Derry, NH

In conclusion, street tacos have a long and storied history in Jalisco, Mexico, and have evolved to become a beloved and integral part of Mexican cuisine worldwide. At Los Reyes, our heritage lies within the city streets of Jalisco, but is served here in Derry, New Hampshire. We invite you to join us to experience one of the most beloved and authentic meals of Mexican culture!


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We will open on the 5th of September with regular business hours.