Culture

These Wild Taco Creations Have Us Feeling All Sorts Of Ways But Mostly Confused

So far, this year has absolutely been the year of trying new things. America is getting creative, from racist promposals to straight up hate crimes. Thankfully, the foodies of America are getting creative in more benign ways. Whether we’re just exhausted from a long day of bigotry and want to feed our souls with new takes on old classics, or you’re of the group that finds it refreshing to tackle cultural appropriation via food, America loves tacos.

Whether you love ’em or hate ’em, here are the most bizarre tacos that have fueled America through 2019:

This New York City eatery started selling “Cheeseburger Tacos.”

Credit: @Insider / Twitter

An upscale taquería called Empellón Al Pastor decided to sell a “cheeseburger taco” and the Internet had opinions. Twitter user Ludvik Herrera saw a bastardization of tacos de picadillo and tweeted, “somebody should tell him he’s doing tacos de picadillo wrong, just bland….”

Then, Burger King thought they could make tacos happen.

Credit: @PABUrAmazin / Twitter

America was riveted when they saw Burger King advertising tacos. Anyone who thinks tacos are easy to make are just setting themselves up. Some folks really wanted to like the tacos, but still felt the need to publish a public service announcement about this crime against humanity.

Remember when The New York Times promoted these Broccoli and Egg Tacos, and Mexican Twitter had an uprising?

Credit: @nytimes / Twitter

“These tacos are packed with nutrient-dense broccoli and comforting potatoes for a satisfying meal that comes together in just 45 minutes,” the outlet tweeted. Immediately, Internet Mexicans needed answers. Like @DiegoBernalTX who had a few points to make:

“1. These aren’t tacos.
2. There’s nothing comforting about them.
3. No taco should take 45 min.
The entire taco truck economy would collapse. Can you imagine?!?!”

Nobody’s mad at this blogger’s rendition of a tortilla.

There’s nothing like leftover arroz with a fried egg on top to start the day. Maybe it’s time to surprise your mama with your own version. You’ll want to use a pastry ring in the pan to make sure it stays in a perfect taco shell circle. 

This Sushi Taco is fusion at its finest.

Credit: @chuckxmartin / Twitter

As crazy as it sounds, tofu skin is actually quite delicious, and it also makes for a great imitation taco shell. Just stuff with your favorite traditional fish and top with chipotle mayo. Get as creative as you’d like for these–it will all taste good.

Or this blogger’s use of chicken skin to make taco tortillas.

Here’s how you take a chicken leg and turn it into chicken skin taco shells. 

  1. Just gently peel the skin off of a chicken thigh and blanch in boiling water for 15 minutes.
  2. Then, cut the chicken skin with a circle cutter.
  3. Get out your taco shell molds and deep fry for 6-10 minutes.
  4. Let cool and stuff!

Plantain shell tacos are calling your name, mija.

Plátanos have served as the edible utensil of Caribbean folks since forever. There’s nothing like bringing Central American Latinos and Island Latinos together with plantain shell tacos.  🤤

Dessert tacos officially have no rules.

It’s the easiest taco you could ever possibly make and is guaranteed to taste good. Just toast a frozen waffle, stuff it with vanilla rice milk ice cream and dust with cinnamon and you’ve got a variation of arroz con leche. 

And then there were Cookie Tacos.

It looks like its savory but everything about it is so, so sweet. Just cut golden Oreos in half , stuff with chocolate Oreo crumbles, top with shredded coconut (iceberg lettuce) and hot tamale candies (cherry tomatoes).

If you want to get really fancy, just melt peanut butter chips and vanilla frosting as glue for the “carne.” The cheese that you see is actually just chopped up starburst. You can’t say it ain’t creative.

The Guinness World Record For The Biggest Carnitas Taco Was Just Broken In Queretaro, Mexico

Culture

The Guinness World Record For The Biggest Carnitas Taco Was Just Broken In Queretaro, Mexico

@luisbnava / Twitter

Mexicans have been putting food inside a tortilla, folding it in half and calling it breakfast, lunch and dinner, since before the Popol Vuh came to be. Tacos are our love language, our most precious export to the world —ok maybe that’s an exaggeration… or is it? You could offer us caviar, pâté de foie gras, white truffles, oysters and we’d (rightly so) still choose a taco de carne asada. But there’s one Mexican among us all who loves tacos so much, he set out to make the world’s largest one. Stuffed with Carnitas, and weighing an exorbitant amount, Alejandro Paredes managed to produce the world’s biggest taco de carnitas. 

Queretaro is the record holder for the world’s largest taco de carnitas.

The state of Queretaro in Mexico earned the Guinness World Record for their gigantic taco de carnitas a few weeks ago. The monster-taco stretched to an entire city block, and measured 102 meters long (nearly 335 ft) and weighed 1,200 kilograms of tortillas (almost 3,000 lbs) and 1,507 kilograms of delicious carnitas (just over 3300 lbs).

Alejandro Paredes Resendiz is responsible for the carnitas-filled monstrosity. 

Credit: @luisbnava / Twitter

The organizer of the event came up with the idea in 2011, when he promised his uncle —the head of Queretaro’s gastronomical council— that he would make the world’s biggest carnitas taco. 

Apparently, the Guinness record committee declined several applications prior to Paredes’.

Alejandro Paredes said the Guinness organizing committee had already declined five previous applications for ‘the world’s biggest carnitas taco’, so he waited until he knew he could fulfill all the requirements necessary to qualify for a world record.  “We used certified workers with history in Querétaro,” said Paredes. “We complied with all the regulations of the Guinness contract. All of the carnitas were made today, everyone had the proper equipment and, most importantly, we shared the food with all who attended.”

Guinness World Records does not award prize money, but Paredes said that if they raise any money as a result of the record, it will be donated.

“If we earn even one peso, it will be donated to the DIF family services center, because Querétaro should be the best state in Latin America,” he said.

For Reséndiz, the achievement was not only a world record, but also a personal best.

“I broke my own record because the last taco I made was 75 meters long. It was registered, but not certified. I hope that all 1500 people can eat. We began at six in the morning and we won’t go home until the volunteers feed the visitors and the taco is gone,” he said.

The enormous taco fed 1500 attendees. It took more than 25 chefs and 150 gastronomy students to prepare the record-breaking feat. The huge team of cooks started preparing the food 12 hours prior to the assembly of the taco. 

Queretaro managed to take Guadalajara’s record. 

The 102 meter long taco, made in Queretaro, broke the record that had been set by Guadalajara with its 75 meter long taco a few years prior.

But why carnitas in Queretaro?

Credit: donmacizo / Instagram

In Mexico, each state has its own culinary traditions and local plates — ‘carnitas’ is not typical of Queretaro, so why did they decide to make this particular taco?

“I recognize that there are other states in the country, like Michoacán, where they make delicious carnitas, but here in Querétaro there are seven different styles,” Paredes said. Alejandro Paredes claims to have conducted a study to find our which food was most consumed in his state, and voila, he found out that the people of Queretaro love carnitas. 

Carnitas are made by cooking the different parts of the pig in giant copper or stainless steel pots. The meat is traditionally seasoned with a mineral salt called tequesquite, but there are many different regional variations.

Local tourist agencies, taqueros, and municipal authorities plan to share the news about the record-breaking event, to promote tourism in the area and to invite taco-lovers everywhere, from Mexico and the world, to visit Queretaro and try its delicious carnitas. 

Popeyes Just Made A Pretty Big Announcement About Their Most Coveted Item On The Menu

Culture

Popeyes Just Made A Pretty Big Announcement About Their Most Coveted Item On The Menu

After debuting on August 12th of this year, the Popeyes Crispy Chicken Sandwich—now widely known as, simply, The Sandwich—sold out in just two weeks, creating a frenzy among fans and employees (both online and IRL). For weeks, the drama borne of the viral phenomenon sizzled on screens everywhere, and the initial buzz about The Sandwich has barely had time to die down. 

However, after a few months’ hiatus, we are overjoyed to announce that The Sandwich will return to 150 Popeyes menus next month.

Twitter

According to Guillermo Perales, the CEO of Sun Holdings, Inc. (a franchisee that operates hundreds of Popeyes, Golden Corrals, and several other well-known brands), Popeyes will likely add two new employees per store, just to keep up with the mania around the return of The Sandwich. Overall, this means that roughly 400 more staff members will be added to the Popeyes payroll, all in order to meet this very specific, very spicy demand.

Felipe Athayde, president of Popeyes for the US market, said, “We had very aggressively forecast the demand, and we thought we wouldn’t have any problems at all, at least until the end of September.” Much to his surprise, the chain had sold out of that original inventory in just two weeks.

“The first time, they weren’t ready,” said Perales. Well, Guillermo, the world wasn’t ready, either.

It’s not hyperbolic to say that Twitter exploded with the first wave of Crispy Chicken Sandwich hype. 

Twitter

Popeyes and Chik-fil-A tweeted back and forth at length, the latter throwing shade about the notion that their signature sandwich—strikingly similar to Popeye’s, sans mayo—was superior. (Chik-fil-A also claims to have literally created the chicken sandwich, which is utterly incorrect; more on that below.) To catch up on this “conversation,” you can peep (no pun intended) the following hashtags: #ChickenWars, #ChickenSandwichWars, and #ChickenSandwichTwitter.

Of course, this exchange led to ample discussion about which sandwich actually did have the superior flavor; but the discourse quickly evolved to cover topics such as Chik-fil-A’s controversial politics, factory farming, and inhumane labor practices (including the exploitation of Popeyes’ own employees, many of whom were working 60-hour weeks at the time). Meanwhile, the #ChickenWars garnered so much attention that Popeyes and Chik-fil-A sales continued to rise—as of right now, Chik-fil-A is the third-largest restaurant chain in the entire US.

According to Reuters, Apex Marketing Group—a Michigan-based advertising consultancy—reported that Popeyes received an estimated $23.25 million in free advertising as a result of this online mayhem.

Getty Images

In a sense, this craze seems almost inevitable, as the chicken sandwich plays an integral role in the culinary identity of the United States. It’s difficult to trace the true origin of this delicious and iconic treat, but the inception of fried chicken (in the context of our country, anyway) is linked to Scottish settlers and West African slaves—the customs of two very different traditions adapting their cuisine to life in the American South.

As for the chicken sandwich, specifically, Donna Battle Pierce, a food journalist at Ebony, found an ad in a 1936 newspaper featuring a chicken sandwich special at the Booker T Cafe in small-town Topeka, Kansas. Battle Pierce acknowledges the cultural implications of the rise in popularity of the chicken sandwich. She defines it as a soul food staple steeped in Black US history, asserting that it entered the mainstream in the mid-20th century via white-owned empires like Kentucky Fried Chicken (who, of course, never credited their successes to fried chicken’s complex historical roots). 

Whether you are a fan of Chik-fil-A’s recipe over Popeyes’ (or vice versa), there is no arguing the ubiquity of fried chicken in the modern landscape of US cuisine. It may be surprising to learn of the chicken sandwich’s complicated past, but that only proves its importance in the present.

So, what about now? After a brief reprieve from the August madness, and with plans for greater reinforcements in every Popeyes store, are we prepared for the wonders to come?

Cole Saladino / Thrillist

Although Popeyes has had to reevaluate their approach to The Sandwich (they’ve been working to recruit new chicken suppliers in order to ensure sufficient quantities of meat for the upcoming release), it’s clear that the next wave will bring much joy to the public. Everyone who gets their hands on one will be ecstatic. Of course, we hope they don’t run out of stock again, but if that happens, Twitter will certainly have a good time. Either way, we can’t wait.

After all: The chicken sandwich is more than just a chicken sandwich—it has emerged as a hot topic, a marketing campaign, a sacrament. If the first run of Popeye’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich is any indication, the answer is yes. We are so, so ready for all that juicy, pickly goodness.