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5 Taco Facts We Learned From LeáLA's La Tacopedia Panel

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Taco experts
Taco experts
Javier Cabral

La Tacopedia is out. Well, kind of. If you can find it here in the States. And it's exactly what the title infers: an epic, thoroughly researched encyclopedia about regional Mexican tacos. Five years of research to be exact. And in an attractive, very contemporary Lucky Peach-ish layout. If you don't already know how to read and write Spanish, now might be a good time to learn. Not just to get better service and look legit when ordering your next dohs tahcos de asahda con tohdo, but to read every single page of this book. Since, for now, it's only available in Spanish.

For Angelenos, it's a pretty essential read. Deborah Holtz, one of the book's authors, came to this year's Mexican book festival LéaLA to hold an all-Spanish panel about tacos, which included our own high profile taqueros, Jaime Martin Del Campo and Ramiro Arvizu of La Casita Mexicana. Turn the page for five things we learned from the taco experts.

5. No matter how delicious taco fillings and toppings are, it's all about the tortilla:

This seems to have been forgotten among the majority of processed-tortilla-using L.A. taqueros. Sure, anything dipped and toasted in seasoned meat drippings will pretty much taste awesome. But the metallic taste of those preservatives and additives doesn't go unnoticed by a few recent Mexican transplants who spoke up about this unfortunate reality. There is no excuse to not have a tortilla that only has corn, water and lime as the ingredients. Not in the city that is the home of the highest population of Mexicans outside of Mexico City, and where dozens of nixtamal-based tortillerias exist. After all, it's not just a tortilla but an entire country's whole grain staple food.

4. There are more than 4,480 registered mobile food loncheras in Los Angeles County:

According to Jaime Martin Del Campo and a 71-page study by UCLA. And the loncheras' investment and rates of return are comparable to some brick and mortar businesses. Not all of them may serve just tacos; some may sell cocteles de camarón in the Westside, or drive from construction lot to construction lot providing breakfast burritos to construction workers. Something to think about before you complain about the price of your next taco.

A fish taco in broad daylight
A fish taco in broad daylight
Javier Cabral

3. Every taco has an appropriate time of day for consumption:

Want to take down a thin paper-plateful of tacos de lamb barbacoa for late dinner? "Only if you want to sleep like Moby Dick's ocean," said Holtz. Speaking of which, seafood should only be eaten when the sun is out. (If you don't believe us, try looking for Ricky's Fish Tacos in the dark). Lunch is the most important meal of the day relative to tacos. Antojitos like carne asada sopes, huaraches and enchiladas are recommended for dinner. Know the Mexican taco clock.

2. Angry Birds? How about Taco Master:

Ever wanted to step in the shoes of your favorite taquero to if you can stand the taco-making heat? The annoying no-cilantro customer modifications? Well, there's a taco-making themed game for your smartphone or tablet for that. It's currently the number one selling game in Mexico, and is being sold in over 80 countries, according to a proud taco gamer who spoke during the Q & A portion of the lecture.

1. Tacos, the anthem:

The act of eating tacos inspired a sentimental anthem in Mexico by artist Chava Flores. The acoustic guitar licks are paired with a rhythmic reverie about eating the usually offal-based tacos popular in the motherland. And serenading the taco-gulping girls who like to eat them.


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