¡Ask a Comida Critic!--Why Do Small Tacos Exist?

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From frequent commentator Diamond Dog, the only person who seems to ask questions for this columna:

Why do those little tiny Mexican Tacos exist?! Does anyone prefer getting 3 tiny tacos instead of 1 good sized one? I can't see anyone, Mexican or otherwise, ever ordering those little tacos if they had a choice. Its ridiculous to see these things priced over 50 cents. The benchmark is Carnitas Los Reyes in Orange where you get a huge taco for $1.09. Mexican Food is one of the lowest food costs for restaurant operators. Can't they just be a "bro" and give everyone the regular sized tacos instead of those little ones?

So much to digest! So, let's start breaking down the proteins after the jump:

It's in the United States where the taco has been super-sized. In Mexico, and in Mexican communities in los Estados Unidos, tacos continue to be best appreciated small--four bites maximum. A taco is meant to be a snack, a bit, not a full meal. If we wanted something bigger, we'd order a plate or a bowl--or, better yet, order a plate/bowl make our own impromptu tacos.

I've been eating tacos my entire life, and I can never remember a taquiza (when wabs pay a guy to make tacos in a backyard for a party) that involved big corn tortillas--it's always the small variety. Indeed, the Mexicans I know prefer the small tacos--rather than committing to three or four massive tacos of a particular meat, we can mix it up easier. For instance, my usual selections at a taquiza are four de carne asada, four de al pastor, and four de chorizo--and that's the first round. After that, I'll pick based on what's the best meat that day.

Unfortunately, this practice doesn't translate well in the world of retail, and restaurants always overprice tacos, even when they're substantially bigger than the small tortillas. I love Carnitas Los Reyes, but they also commit my cardinal sin of charging more than a dollar for a taco. I don't care how great or big a taco is--a taco is not worth more than a dollar ever*.

Alas, this is the reality us Mexi food lovers must face nowadays in this era of increased food prices. Very few places charge less than a buck for a taco--El Chavito and El Bukanas sell them for fifty cents, while Taqueria Tapatia and Tacos Jerez charge 89 cents, in tortillas bigger than the small ones but not quite bigger. There's nowhere to go but up--I remember the days when tacos were a quarter. Sigh...now, ask more questions, cabrones!

*The grand local exception to this rule, of course, is the taco acorazado at Alebrije's, where its massive star is more burrito than taco and costs four bucks but I'd easily pay 10...


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