Taco Truck Etiquette Explained

Don’t be shy about ordering from taco trucks. It’s understandable for a first-timer to be a bit reticent, but it’s really no big deal. Don’t worry about your command (or lack thereof) of Spanish, says Will Owen. “No taco truck to my knowledge is Spanish-only; even if the folks aren’t fluent, they know the English words for anything you might want to order,” he says. Just look over the menu, step up to the window, and tell them what you want. Just state your order, don’t wait to get called on, says streetgourmetla. “In Spanish we say ‘me da dos tacos de ...’ (give me two tacos),” he says. “No pleases, just order straight out.”

What should you order? Tacos! Some common fillings available for your tacos are carne asada (grilled or stewed beef), carnitas (fried pork), lengua (beef tongue), and cabeza (the delectable, sweet meat from beef cheeks). A word about cabeza: The word means “head,” but don’t worry, there are no brains involved (brains are called sesos). Cabeza is the rest of the meat from the head, and it’s “honestly the sweetest, tenderest meat on the whole critter,” says Das Ubergeek. “If you listen to the locals they are usually ordering lengua or cabeza; there is a reason for this,” says burntwater.

Besides tacos, it’s worth seeking out huaraches, says Das Ubergeek. “Huaraches, which literally means ‘sandals,’ are sandal-shaped, large tortilla-like objects that are normally stuffed or spread with bean paste and topped with things,” he says. “They’re very much a Mexico City snack. I love them topped with nopales (cactus leaves) but sometimes you get them with mushrooms or fava beans and they’re good that way too.”

One last thing: At many taco trucks, you’re not expected to pay until you finish eating your food. It’s kind of an honor system. “Order, eat, relax, tell the money handler what you had, pay as you’re leaving,” says streetgourmetla. “There is generally just a high level of trust and cordiality, so they’re fine with you grabbing drinks or whatever else, and then telling them everything you had when you’re ready to pay,” says QualityMart.

Board Link: Teach Me How to Go to a Taco Truck

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