The History of Tacos in the United States

By Isabella Sibler


The authentic flavors and foods of Mexico have heavily influenced American cuisine for centuries. In the second half of the 1900s, Mexican-inspired cuisine made its way to every corner of the United States. Today, Mexican-inspired cuisine dominates the United States and most Americans have welcomed Mexican foods into their meals and everyday diet.


Out of all Mexican dishes, the taco has become so popular in the United States that it rivals the hamburger as one of the country's most popular and eaten foods. The exact origin of the taco is hard to pinpoint exactly, but most believe that it originated in the Mexican silver mines sometime in the early 19th century. The taco is not an age-old cultural food of Mexico and is fairly new considering Mexico's long history.


"Taqueria" translates to "taco shop" which played a pivotal role in the history of the taco. Working-class Mexicans would go to taquerias since they were affordable, filling, and easily accessible. Women migrants would bring tacos to Mexico City to sell and provide for their families. Ultimately, this turned Mexico City into a hub for tacos and played a large part in popularizing the dish.


In the United States, it is hard to mention the word "taco" and not think of the fast-food giant Taco Bell. Glen Bell, the founder of Taco Bell, originally created Taco Bell for people who wanted to experience the taco but did not want to travel all the way to Mexico. By 1967, Taco Bell had opened its 100th restaurant, revolutionizing Mexican cuisine in the United States and paved the way for other establishments to do the same.


Originally, the taco appeared in the U.S. from migrants moving from Mexico to Los Angeles in the early 1900s. At the time, it was seen as low-class street food due to how inexpensive they were. When the taco came to America, it was difficult to find the authentic ingredients used in Mexico. Because of this, the tacos sold in America are not your traditional Mexican tacos. The hard-shell taco is also not authentic to Mexico. It is rumored that hard shell tacos were popularized in America since they would stay fresh significantly longer than soft tortillas.


Regardless of the fact that tacos are not necessarily authentic to Mexican culture, they have become one of the most popular and delicious foods out there. Whether you like soft- or hard-shell tacos, you can experience all of the deliciousness at Verde.


At Verde, there's a taco for everyone, no matter what you like, or your diet restrictions may be. Stop by and try our NEW verditas taco with carnitas, pork green chili, cilantro, onion, and shredded cheese. And for our vegetarian friends, try our NEW cauliflower taco with Morita salsa, cilantro, scallions, and cotija. Tacos will always have a special place in our hearts…