Are “American tacos” better than authentic ones?


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The debate between appropriated and authentic tacos has been taking place for years. However, the “American taco” seems to be the more tasteful option for future meals.

Appropriated tacos or authentic tacos. Which one is superior? This debate has gone on far too long.

We Americans tend to appropriate things. From Japanese sushi to Italian pizza and pasta to Chinese food, there are countless examples of dishes that American culture has molded to fit our own tastebuds and preferences. Many Americans are not even aware of the major differences in foods that are deemed as “cultural.”

For example, one classic example of a food Americans have shaped and changed from the authentic version is Mexican tacos. First, let’s distinguish between the two. An authentic Mexican taco starts off with a soft corn tortillas, which is very different from the American taco, which is usually made using a flour tortilla or a crispy corn shell. Next comes the meat. It is very common to have stewed or fried meat inside of an authentic Mexican taco, with flank steak as the primary meat choice. In the American version of a taco, the meat is usually grilled or ground, and it can range from anything from chicken to pork.

Now, the biggest and most controversial difference between the authentic Mexican taco and the American version of the taco is the toppings. A traditional Mexican taco is usually topped off with diced red tomatoes, chopped white onions, a spicy homemade salsa and a dash of cilantro to finish it off. On the other hand, the American version of the taco is usually topped off with rice, refried, black, or pinto beans, lettuce, guacamole and, most importantly, cheese.

If you asked most people which they liked better, authentic or appropriated tacos, they would most likely would say authentic off the top of their heads, but that is only because they likely think authentic tacos have all the toppings such as melty cheese and spicy beans and rice. Due to the toppings, American tacos are much more tasty and filling than authentic tacos.

People who argue that the authentic taco is better than the appropriated taco may say that tacos are meant to be lightweight appetizers, without the heavy toppings of rice, beans, guacamole, etc. But appropriated tacos are the more tasty choice. Just think about it. Without cheese, beans, rice and guacamole in your Chipotle taco, would you really want to eat it? Let’s say you had to swap that delicious cheese that melts over the meat in your taco for some chopped onions. That would take away the whole appeal of the taco. Another reason to eat an appropriated taco over an authentic taco is if you like to get a side of chips. The side of chips is notorious for scooping up that extra little bit of rice and cheese that slipped out of your taco while you were eating it. With an authentic taco, you would be forced to scoop up cold, hard onions and tasteless cilantro onto your chips.

In essence, the appropriated taco offers much more opportunity and appeal with its range of features and tasty ingredients.