Pic of the tacos al pastor in Mexico by Eric Lopez

History of The Mexican Tacos Al Pastor

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Mexico City is, on top of being the place I called home for almost six years, a melting pot of colors, odors, and cultures, mixing and vibrating under the strong Mexican sun and heavy rains during the rainy season.

If you had the fortune of visiting the Capital of the Mexican United States, you know how busy but at the same calm is this city.

The Mexicans, and those who live there, know that no matter the time or the place, there will always be a taqueria ready to full their belly with a Mexican delicacy.

In the CDMX, as it is named Mexico City amongst the locals due to the acronym of Ciudad De Mexico, there are food places for everybody. 

From the fanciness of Polanco to the street food in La Roma and La Condesa, to keep going all the way to the historical center of La Obrera, where I used to live, there are tacos for every pocket.

One of the most famous tacos not only in Mexico City but all over the nation is the tacos al pastor.

Pic by Eric Lopez of marinated pork on a spit similar to a Lebanese Shwarama
Marinated pork for the tacos al pastor – Pic by Eric Lopez

Taking its origins from the Lebanese shawarma, thanks to the immigrants that arrived in Mexico during the second decade of 1900, the very first tacos al pastor were made of lamb meat and spices.

They made their first appearance with the original presentation, in the city of Puebla, very close to Mexico City, where they are still known as tacos arabes (Arabian tacos)

The original receipt changed over the years, and the meat was substituted by marinated pork meat, the Arabian bread was changed with the tortillas and the chile and achiote took over the original spices, which is the carne al pastor that we know nowadays.

Another big step was the addition of the pineapple, the onion, the cilantro, and of the salsa verde or roja.

In 2019, los tacos al pastor, have been chosen as the best dish in the world, defeating the Italian pizza and the Brazilian churrasco and reaching the #1 for the renowned Taste Atlas site.

It seems, according to the experts’ opinion, that the very first tacos al pastor were prepared at “El Tizoncito” in the ’60s.

Pic of the tacos al pastor in Mexico by Eric Lopez
Tacos Al Pastor – Pic by Eric Lopez

The tacos are prepared by piling the meat in a spinning spit and letting the meat cook itself slowly.

The taquero cuts the meat off the spit, letting the meat fall on the tortilla that he is holding with his other hand, and the classic question is “Con todo?”, means if you want them with only the meat or also with the onion, pineapple, and vegetables.

The lemon, which you will understand is a big presence in the Mexican cuisine, is always available on the table to be squeezed over the tacos.

The Wandering Cloud took me very often to eat and review several places around Mexico, and those tacos have been my first meeting with the Mexican cuisine back in 2014.

I landed that same night, and two of my best friends, Tereza and her husband Ricardo, took me to eat these tacos in a place in La Condesa, near their house.

I still remember my excitement and happiness in eating real tacos that time, unaware of how many other times I would have tried all around mi Mexico lindo y querido, and I must admit that my heart aches now that I am back to live in Europe and I see videos about the Mexican street food. 

Once you go tacos, there is no coming back.

About Barbara from The Wandering Cloud

Barbara from The Wandering Cloud
Barbara from The Wandering Cloud

Italian as the espresso and currently based in Belgium, born in 1986 in Milan, I work as a content creator and a blogger at TheWandering Cloud, as well as a professional sports announcer. I post about beauty, fashion, lifestyle, and travels, with an eye on motorsports. Follow me on Instagram and Youtube.

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