“Taco Chronicles” Showcases The Power of Street Food

New Netflix series dishes out the history of beloved tacos

There is no dish as synonymous with Latinx people than the taco. Through its many forms and tastes, the Netflix series “Taco Chronicles” proves that behind every savory bite is the history and culture of our people.

Taking place within various cities in Mexico, “Taco Chronicles” is a six-episode documentary series about the various types of tacos you can find while roaming the streets. Each episode focuses on, and is narrated by, a different meat. With six episodes total, the series looks at al pastor, carnitas, canasta, carne asada, barbacoa, and guisado tacos in Mexico and occasionally Los Angeles.

From the slow-cooked al pastor as it rotates on the trompo, talking to you about the secrets of the sauce, to the classic carne asada telling you that it knows the fire of a grill better than any other, each meat has its own style. Of course with that style comes the history.

Asada Taco from Fregosos
Photo by Vanessa Flores

“Every taco has its origin,” said Luis Alberto Gonzalez, Director of Sonoran Tourism Promotion, “and the origin of Sonora’s taco is 100 percent in the country, in the hands of the farmers and the ranchers.”

This theme of history and regional pride echoes throughout the series, making sure that viewers are getting more than just a spectacle of flame and sauce. Each meat has a history dating back sometimes hundreds of years and explains how that history has shaped the taco in modern day.

Traveling through the hills of Tlaxcala to explain the history of corn and the role the Tlaxcalans played in the defeat of the Aztec empire by partnering with the Spaniards, the showrunners turn an ancient history lesson into a glimpse of the same culture today. Every region has its own specialty meat, and every resident has their own taqueria to which they swear loyalty.

It is in these ordinary citizens we get the true testimonies that reflect our own beliefs. People come up to the camera, swearing that they know where to get the best street tacos, the ones they have been going to for years. Others talk about the way the taco reminds them of a backyard cookout with friends and family.

Trailer provided by Netflix

The taco is more than just some meat and tortilla to all of the Latinx communities, it is a symbol. Tacos remind us of home, wherever it may be, cooked by a parent or grandparent with love.

“Taco Chronicles” knows that a childlike nostalgia exists in the viewer and is willing to wield it like a weapon to attack the senses and keep us craving more food and more episodes.

The term “food porn” often gets thrown around, but this series more than earns the label. From the slow-motion shots of the cooks slicing the meat on cutting boards to the smiling faces of the strangers enjoying a bite together. “Taco Chronicles” proudly displays the love of taco on its salsa stained sleeves.

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