It’s National Taco Day! On this grand day I wanted to provide you a list of the best tacos in and around the Austin area. After all, it’s our duty as moms to teach our tiny Texans about their heritage and history through food. So I asked my friends and family, I asked co-workers and co-bloggers, “Where are the best tacos?”

Big mistake.

Seriously this tiny entree stirs up more emotions and opinions than a presidential election, including the current one.

One word that I kept hearing over and over as I asked this question was “authentic.” Everybody kept saying this place is authentic or this place isn’t authentic. I wanted to know what exactly does that mean? What should an authentic taco look and taste like.

You would think I would know this. I grew up eating authentic Mexican food from family friends who were immigrants from Mexico. I went to Guadalupe Elementary and every Tuesday night since I can remember it’s been Taco Tuesday in our house. I needed to know. Have I been feeding my children unauthentic food?

So I went on a search through the great interwebs and dragged my children with me. It was important. We were going to find out what authentic meant in relation to tacos. And yes, I felt like this was a proud mommy teaching moment — don’t judge.

It didn’t take much time, thank goodness because an 11 and 12 year old can only tolerate unnecessary and unrelatable education for so long. We found the definition. According to Merriam-Webster: a taco is a Mexican food that consists of a folded and usually fried tortilla that is filled with meat, cheese, lettuce, etc. Well we kind of knew that, so on we looked.

We learned a lot that hour of reading and researching. Some things weren’t surprising just informative. Tacos were started by the silver miners in Mexico as rolled up tortillas stuffed with whatever ingredients they had on hand to take with them for lunch. The stuffing was rarely beef and more likely pork, chicken, fish, or veggies. Tacos were influenced by the Greeks and their pitas. Tacos and their taste varied from region to region and house to house.

There was a lot more I learned while reading, including the important ** gasp ** role Taco Bell played in the wide spread popularity of the taco. I learned more than I probably ever needed to know and my girls said it was more than they wanted to know, but hey it was an hour away from tv and video games so score one for mom. In the end I got my answer for what is an authentic taco. Tacos are versatile and ever evolving. Authenticity is less important than enjoyment.

So on this day to celebrate these tasty tortilla filled treats I leave you with a list of places suggested to get great tacos. Try them. Try a few. Maybe even create your own list. I encourage you to visit many and remember that tacos are just like parenting, we all have our own unique style.

Oh, and for fun, if you want, look up taco facts and share them over a plate full of crunchy goodness.

Here is our list of favorite tacos in Austin:

1. Guero’s Taco Bar: Fish Tacos

2. Torchy’s: Trailer Park trashy style

3. Fuzzy’s: California Heat Taco

4. El Alma: Pato (duck)

5. Valentina’s food truck: Pollo Loco or Brisket Taco

6. Willie’s Burgers and BBQ: Breakfast Tacos

7. Juan In A Million: The Don Juan

8. Hula Hut: Montego Bay Shrimp Taco or try a Tubular Taco

9. Maria’s Taco Express: Pollo Guisada

10. El Chilito: Cherrywood Breakfast Taco

11. El Primo Taco truck

12. Chi’lantro BBQ: Create your own make you like you like it

13. Santa Catarina: Tacos Del Mar

14. Don Mario: The Street Tacos (I dream about these tacos)

15. Amaya’s: Chicken Tacos

16. Papalote Taco house: Alambres

17. Taco Joint: Any taco because they are so affordable

18. La Posada: Machacado

19. Tacodeli: Cowboy Taco

20. Taco-Mex: Ask for their suggestions at this walk up window

21. Fonda San Miguel: Tacos Al Pastor

22. LT Market: Breakfast Tacos

23. Tamale House East: Carne Guisada

24. Rositas Al Pastor: “Panty dropping” Al Pastor tacos (BTW best review ever)

25. Mellizoz Tacos: Tempura Shrimp

What is YOUR favorite Austin taco?


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