Taco 101—How To Eat Street Tacos Like A Vallarta Local

Even if you eat tacos on a regular basis your first authentic Mexican taco will be a whole new experience. Don’t be intimidated because learning how to eat like a local is part of the fun of travel! Here’s what you need to know to eat your taco like a pro, both at street food stands and in sit down restaurants.

Taco 101: How To Eat Street Tacos In Puerto Vallarta- Tortillas

The Tortilla

First and foremost, don’t expect a flour tortilla—and don’t expect the corn tortillas to taste anything like the store-bought variety. Many restaurants make their tortillas from scratch or purchase from a local tortilleria. Tortillas will taste a bit different from one restaurant to the next as each chef has their own recipe. Tortillas will be so small that you will need between 3 to 5 tacos depending on your appetite. To ensure that your toppings don’t leak through many restaurants and taco stands will double up their tortillas.

Taco 101: How to Eat Street Tacos In Puerto Vallarta-Fillings

The Filling

Because the tortillas are small you will only get a small amount of fillings per taco. Most restaurants will fill only with meat, then you will top yourself with onion, cilantro, and freshly squeezed lime. Don’t expect lettuce, tomato, sour cream, or cheese as these are not authentic Mexican toppings. Here’s a closer look at the different taco fillings.

Taco 101-How To Eat Mexican Street Tacos Like A Local-The Salasa

The Salsa

Each restaurant will have a selection of house salsas which often includes a red salsa roja made from roasted peppers, a green salsa verde made from tomatillos, and maybe a signature salsa or two. There may be a pico de gallo, a thin avocado sauce (that’s not guacamole), pickled onions, and maybe even a chipotle mayo. How spicy each sauce is will vary from one restaurant to the next, and since it’s made fresh the level of heat will vary depending on how spicy the pepper and tomatillos are to begin with. Looks can be deceiving so be sure to spoon a little on your plate to taste before you fully commit. You are sure to find a few bottled hot sauces too—with Salsa Huichol being a favorite.

Puerto Vallarta Mexican Cruise And Shore Excursions

No Beans And Rice

The occasional taco has a thin layer of whole or refried beans, but don’t expect beans and rice as an automatic side. If you are eating at a sit down restaurant, maybe. A far more common side dish is fresh roasted green onions with the stalk and bulb and jalapenos—which you will have to order separately.

Taco 101-How To Eat Street Tacos In Puerto Vallarta-Plastic Plates

Why Your Plate Is Covered In Plastic?

If you are dining at a street taco stand don’t be surprised if your plate is covered in a plastic bag, similar to what you would put your produce in at the grocery store. The reason is simple, most street taco stands don’t have a sink to wash their plates so the plastic keeps them clean and hygienic.

Authentic Mexican tacos will look and taste different than they do at home but in a good way! With so many taco stands and restaurants to choose from in Puerto Vallarta taking a guided food tour will introduce you to the best tacos our city has to offer. While you can find tacos all day long, the best tacos are only sold after 5 or 6 in the evening—making our The Street Taco Tour a must for taco lovers!

Taking A Day Trip From Puerto Vallarta To Tequila? Here’s What You Need To Know

A popular day trip from Puerto Vallarta is to the town of Tequila. It’s about 4 hours away depending on your route, making it a perfect overnight trip—especially if you will be drinking. Here is what you need to know before you go.

What Tequila Has In Common With Champagne

In order for bubbly to be named Champagne it must be grown in the Champagne growing region of France otherwise it is just a sparkling wine. A similar classification is true for Tequila, as it must be distilled from the blue agave growing regions—most of which are in the state of Jalisco. However, small sections of the surrounding states of Nayarit, Michoacán, and Guanajuato and a small growing region on the Mexican east coast in Tamaulipas can also produce authentic tequila. Since approximately 80% of Tequila is grown and distilled in the city of Tequila making it a popular tourist destination.

Day Trip From Puerto Vallarta To Tequila - Tequila Tasting

Not All Tequila Is Created Equally

You certainly don’t have to go to the city of Tequila to sample a wide range of Tequila, as there are many tasting spots in Puerto Vallarta. In fact, we taste quite a few on our Mex-ology food and drink tour. However, not all tequila is created equally. While the fruity and flavored Tequila that you find in and around PV is fun, and a unique gift or souvenir—there are different classifications of tequila. As with many other liquors, it’s has a lot to do with maturation. Blanco or silver tequila can be served shortly after the distillation process and is often used for margaritas and mixed drinks. Reposado is aged in an oak barrel for 2 to 12 months, making it ideal for sipping or mixing. If sipping be sure to let it aerate for a bit first.  Añejo and extra-añejo are aged in oak barrels for 12 months or more and have an oakiness and are more common for sipping.

Day Trip From Puerto Vallarta To Tequila - Tequila Tasting

Mezcal Is Not Tequila

Think of Mezcal (or Mescale) similar to how you would compare sparkling wine to Champagne—similar but certainly not the same. Tequila is a Mezcal but Mezcal is not Tequila just like Champagne is a sparkling wine but sparkling wine is not Champagne. Mezcal is also made from agave but can be made from over 25 different types of agave, including the blue agave plant—which Tequila must be made from. However, processing and distillation are quite a different process. The classifications of blanco, reposado, and Añejo are the same. Overall, Mezcal has a bit more of a smoky flavor when compared to Tequila. It can be stronger depending on the proof, which is up to 110 proof. The worm that you sometimes find in a bottle of tequila (which is actually a moth larva that grows on agave plants) originated in Mezcal bottles as a marketing ploy—and was adopted by many tequila brands.

Last but not least, while you can’t ship Tequila or Mezcal out of the country without the proper licensing—you can fly it home. Just be mindful that what you purchase must be placed in your checked luggage or purchased at the airport Duty-Free shop after you pass through security. The taxes and duty for what you bring in your checked luggage will vary by country.