Mixiote, Cuetlas and Canasta: Tacos from central Mexico

Mexico is a rich country in traditions and customs. Mexican gastronomy is one of the best around the world.

Mexico is a rich country in traditions and customs. Mexican gastronomy is one of the best around the world.

The international community recognizes Mexico, among other things, for its flavors and music. UNESCO has accepted a list if intangible heritage of humanity rituals such as the Voladores de Papapantla, musical traditions as the pirekuas, and mariachi -in 2010- the country's gastronomy.

How much is know about this food? Are we aware of the importance of taco for Mexican identity? Here is a list, by state, of the most characteristic tacos of central Mexico.


  • Taco arabe

Originally made from lamb meat, seasoned with a variety of spices, on pita bread. Over time, pork replaced lamb and thick pita bread was replaced by wheat flour tortillas.

This culinary creation dates back to the 1930s and is attributed, among others, to Mr. Zayas Galeana, father of the founder of Tacos TONY. The "Arab" of the taco has been linked to the traditions of Iraq or Lebanon.

  • Taco de cuetlas

The cuetlas are actually a variety of caterpillars that grow on chia plants. These larvae are boiled without heads in pots and then roasted with oil on comales.

Popular in the Mixtec region of Puebla and Guerrero, these tacos are served with a pasilla chile sauce. As a curious fact, the name of chile pasilla derives from the appearance of the chile, which looks like a raisin.


  • Tacos de mixiote

Although they are considered typical of the Altiplano region (of which Tlaxcala is a part), those included in this section of the list. The mixiote is the skin or cuticle of the maguey stalk –now in danger of extinction– that serves as a wrapper to cook the meat in its own juice.

The mixiote, popular in gastronomy, was used by the pre-Hispanic people as paper.

The meat most used to prepare in mixiote is that of the mutton, but there are also mixiotes of chicken and rabbit. This meat wrapped in the mixiote or one of its synthetic substitutes (standard wax paper) is seasoned with a guajillo chili sauce, cumin and other spices.

State of Mexico

  • Tacos de chorizo verde

The chorizo ​​verde is typical of Toluca and is a spicier variety of the traditional chorizo. It acquires its color because the ground beef is combined with a mixture that includes spinach and coriander.

This type of chorizo ​​is seasoned with almonds and pumpkin seeds; In addition, it is enriched with the flavor of the serrano pepper. Once the chorizo ​​is prepared, it is common for it to be accompanied by nopales and an avocado sauce.

Mexico City

  • Tacos de suadero

These tacos are prepared with meat, mainly beef, from the lower part of the cattle. This meat (very rich in fat), although economical, is also scarce. For this reason, pork or other parts of the beef, such as ribs and shoulders are used.

The fundamental thing about tacos de suadero is the comal on which they are cooked. A comal whose concave part is used to cook the meat in large quantities of oil and whose convex part is used to brown the finely chopped pieces of sudadero. A very spicy red sauce is the perfect complement.

  • Tacos de canasta

It is thought that tacos de canasta were born in the mines of Hidalgo and Guanajuato, originally called tacos mineros. However, it was in Mexico City where they reached their maximum acceptance. These tacos, prepared with stews in small tortillas, are never fried.

The key is to line a basket with plastic, rags, and brown paper. The taquitos, to which a little oil or butter is spread, are placed in layers. Thanks to the fact that they are glued to each other, they can stay warm for hours and acquire that characteristic flavor.

Pickled chili peppers and raw avocado sauce complement this taco variety.


  • Tacos acorazados

They are always served with two tortillas because they have a lot of filling: the traditional thing is layers of beans and rice with a hard-boiled egg and a Milanese. This can be substituted for a stuffed chili or some stew such as pork rinds in sauce.

The armored taco is usually added with pumpkin seeds and pickled peppers.

Its origin dates back to the first years of the 20th century and its first cook, according to what is said, was a lady from Cuautla who was called Felícita Sánchez.

  • Tacos dorados

Sinaloa and Morelos are often mentioned as the states in which the tacos dorados possibly arose. In the latter, the tacos frequently accompany the pozole dishes.

The tacos dorados from Morelos are small, made with round tortillas, slightly larger than the chaluperas, and are fried in butter.

Nota: Este contenido tiene una versión original en español

Translation done by: Luba Michelle García Vega