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Taco Catering: Understanding the Lingo

Kon-Tiki Taco Written by 

You won’t need to study Spanish or Portuguese to know how to manage a taco-themed event. But a few terms– and being receptive to new tastes – will help.

For party and event planners, the days of meat and potatoes are passed. And good thing – the realm of hospitality is large, varied and delicious.

No better example is what mobile taco catering has brought to events. Aside from the conveniences of distributed food stations – allowing diners to mix and mingle with a casual plate of tacos, fit for their tastes and in quantities of their choosing – there is some pretty awesome food drawn from various Latin American cultures to try.

But with this style of cuisine, which most often is a blend of various Central American, South American and Caribbean gastronomies, a little education on some of the terminology will help. You might know you salsas from a carne, but be sure to ask your taco cart caterers to help you understand some of the finer points.

Here is a handful of terms around taco catering that might help you get started:

Taquito – These are the rolled-up taco, sometimes called a flauta (notice they somewhat resemble the flute). Typically they are filled with meat, chicken or cheese and are crisp-fried.

Salsa roja – Salsa is the Spanish (and Italian) word for sauce, and roja means “roasted.” What’s roasted can include the main ingredient, tomatoes, as well as a jalapeño pepper of some type and perhaps some onions and garlic. Done right it is mouthwatering.

Wheat tortillas – Different from corn flour tortillas, wheat flour is more characteristic of the north of Mexico and tend to be milder, sweeter and softer. They can be used interchangeably in some dishes.

Jamaican chicken – While there is a wide range of recipes for this delicacy, they are generally characterized by a savory marinade. In a taco, it’s a real winner paired with chopped greens and onions.

Caribbean carne vs. Mexican carne – While much of Latin American cuisine includes corn-based dishes (tortillas, tacos) and salsas, the specific spices and quantities used vary by country and region. Mexican dishes tend to fuse indigenous Mesoamerican and Spanish dishes, featuring the European-originated meats (beef, pork, chicken, goat and sheep) and intense flavors and spices that have always grown there. Caribbean cuisine reflects the polyglot of explorers arriving in ships over the centuries, with flavors brought by Africans, Arabs, Europeans and even Asians.

These terms are only the beginning. The options a mobile taco catering company will provide can expand your vocabulary much further. A significant advantage of greater variety is you not only give diners an opportunity to explore and discover new tastes, but for the less adventurous there still are “safe” choices.

In any event, no one will even think to ask for something such as meat and potatoes – it is a “special event” after all!

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