Introducing La Tacopedia: The World’s First Taco Encyclopedia

Get your hands on a comprehensive guide to Mexico's regional taco styles.

  • Photo: Kitzia Sámano
  • Gastronomic taco map of Mexico. (Photo: Kitzia Sámano)
  • Which pig parts make what taco? Look at this map. (Photo: Kitzia Sámano)
  • (Photo: Kitzia Sámano)
  • Photo: Kitzia Sámano
  • Photo: Kitzia Sámano
  • Photo: Kitzia Sámano

The day we have all been patiently awaiting has finally come: a taco encyclopedia, thoroughly detailing regional Mexican taco styles, has been published. It’s called La Tacopedia and, unfortunately, it’s currently available only in Spanish. But if you can read Spanish, or have a Spanish-speaking friend who has nothing to do and will translate the book for you, this is a good one to add to your library of Mexican food tomes. We’re assuming you already have a copy of Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America by Gustavo Arellano (if you don’t, buy one), which tells the story of how the humble taco came to loom so large in the American diet.

La Tacopedia is a result of five years of taco research. The resulting encyclopedia includes gorgeous Lucky Peach-esque illustrations and a fun map of Mexico that lists taco styles by state (pictured below).

[via LA Weekly]

Since you’re probably straining your eyes to decipher the regions and dishes included on this map, we’ve listed a dish from each region below—accompanied by our best guess at an English translation.

  • Aguascalientes – tacos mineros (miner’s tacos)
  • Baja California – tacos de langosta con frijoles (lobster and bean tacos)
  • Baja California Sur – tacos de marlin ahumado (smoked Marlin tacos)
  • Campeche – papadzules (egg enchiladas)
  • Chiapas – tacos de hormiga chicatana (flying ant tacos)
  • Chihuahua – burritos; tacos de barbacoa de olla
  • Coahuila – tacos laguneros (tacos with chile poblano and cheese)
  • Colima – tacos de sesos (brain tacos)
  • Distrito Federal – tacos de suadero (tacos made with a cut of beef similar to hanger steak)
  • Durango – tacos de caldillo durangueno (tacos with beef stewed in chile sauce)
  • Guanajuato – tacos de barbacoa (tacos with meat wrapped in maguey leaves and cooked underground)
  • Guerrero – tacos de camarones a la Mexicana (shrimp tacos)
  • Hidalgo – tacos de gusanos de maguey (Maguey worm tacos)
  • Jalisco – tacos de charales (tacos with deep-fried tiny lake fish)
  • México – Tacos de guisado (tacos with stewed meat and vegetables)
  • Michoacán – tacos de aporreadillo (dried beef tacos)
  • Morelos – tacos acorazados (“battleship” tacos)
  • Nayarit – tacos de pescado zarandeado (marinated, grilled fish tacos)
  • Nuevo León – tacos de machaca con huevo (shredded dried beef and egg tacos)
  • Oaxaca – tacos de cecina (dried beef tacos)
  • Puebla – taquitos miniatura (small taquitos)
  • Querétaro – tacos de chicharron (pig skin tacos)
  • Quintana Roo – tacos de pescado tikinxik (fish in achiote tacos)
  • San Luis Potosí – tacos potosinos (tacos in the style of Potosí)
  • Sinaloa – tacos dorados de deshebrada en caldo de carne (fried shredded beef tacos in broth)
  • Sonora – Chimichangas (deep-fried burrito)


More tacos!

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  • angusbc

    Charales are not “algae”. Must have used Google to come up with that translation. It is a small fish like a sardine.

    • Erin Mosbaugh

      @angusbc – You’re absolutely right about the Charales. Fixing the description now. Thanks!

    • Erin Mosbaugh

      Thanks @angusbc:disqus, you’re absolutely right. Just changed the description of tacos de charales.

  • Cozumel Chef

    Quintana Roo – tacos de pescado tikinxik (fish in achiote tacos) – I am going to have to disagree with this and say that it is not accurate as a “type of taco” of this region. I have lived in Cozumel/ Rivera Maya (Quintana Roo) area for the last three years. I would consider myself a food aficionado (hence owner of Cozumel Chef & Food Tours of Cozumel/ Playa del Carmen). Tikinxik is a style for fish and done in a banana leaf, but we do not have “taquerias” that serve this type of taco. Sure you get tortillas on the side and can make your own taco. If anything the taco of the Yucatan/ Q. Roo might be cochinita.

  • FotoEm33

    Are tacos saudero the same as tacos de canasta? Sounds like it but I’ve never heard them called saudero.

    • Avatar X

      NO, they are not at all the same. Basket tacos are usually done with Tortilla taquera that has been quickly oil-flashed in a pan and then filled in and packed in a orderly fashion within a picnic -like basket where it gets a bit steamed by the heat of the other tacos.

      Basket= Canasta

      • FotoEm33

        Great to know for when out in DF again. Cheers!

  • Fuzzygoats

    Sonoran “Chimichanga” (not chivichanga) originated in Tucson AZ, not Mexico.

  • Fionn

    Hi there! Great to see you enjoyed the Tacopedia… the good news is that it is soon to be available in English translation, published by Phaidon in 2015. Hopefully you’ll find acceptable answers to all the translation queries in this discussion!

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