Culture

The Mexican State Of Queretaro Just Made The World’s Biggest Taco De Carnitas —And Guinness Records Confirmed It

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. 

We Found The Best Latino Eats At Trader Joe’s So You Wouldn’t Have To

Culture

We Found The Best Latino Eats At Trader Joe’s So You Wouldn’t Have To

Trader Joe's

Trader Joe’s may not be the first name that comes to mind when you’re thinking of authentic Latin food. But surprisingly enough, this cult-favorite specialty store has a variety of foods from across Latinidad that (while they may not be as good as abuela’s) hit the spot when you’re in a pinch. 

From Frozen quesadillas to packaged plantain chips, Trader Joe’s has a ton of foods from Latin America to satisfy your wallet and your tastebuds. And who knows? Maybe even your abuela will approve. Take a look at 10 of the best Trader Joe’s Latin food options below! 

1. Southwest Chicken Quesadillas

via Trader Joe’s website

According to Reddit user u/gratefulem220, these treats fly woefully under the radar. “Southwest quesadillas are so good. They’re like southwest egg rolls from any chain restaurant but in quesadilla form”

2. Chili Spiced Dried Mango

via Trader Joe’s website

You may have grown out of your Vero Mango days, but Trader Joe’s offers a sweet and healthy alternative to the famous Mexican candy. According to Trader Joe’s, this dried fruit is lovingly coated in a “blend of paprika, cayenne, sugar, & salt”. What’s not to love?

3. Chicken Enchiladas Verde

via Trader Joe’s website

According to Trader Joe’s, their Chicken Enchiladas are filled with “chicken breast, Monterey jack cheese, and a special enchiladas verdes sauce made from crushed tomatillo, onion, green chili peppers, and diced poblanos.”  We know it’s hard to beat homemade, but Trader Joes usually comes through with yummy late night snacks.

4. Mini Chicken Tacos

via Trader Joe’s website

Sure, these aren’t your madre’s tacos, but these Mini Chicken Tacos haven’t become a fan-favorite for nothing. According to Trader Joe’s, these tacos are made with crispy yellow corn tortillas, and then “are filled with chunks of chicken leg and breast meat that’s been simmered in a tangy, green chile tomatillo sauce kicked up with a bit of jalapeño pepper”. Sounds delicious.

5. Cuban-Style Citrus Garlic Bowl

via Trader Joe’s website

Finally, a snack fit for the Cubanos out there. While Trader Joe’s may be famous for it’s iterations of Mexican food (it was founded in Southern California, after all), once in a while, they throw the rest of Latinidad a bone. This time, they tried their hand at a Cuban Style Citrus Garlic Bowl. According to TJ’s, the bowl is made of marinated chicken thighs, yellow rice, diced bell peppers and onions, black beans, plantains, and cilantro. And to make matters even better, it’s topped of with mojo criollo sauce.

6. Black Bean & Cheese Taquitos

via Trader Joe’s website

Taquitos are arguably the perfect snack food. If it’s gameday finger food or mouth-watering appetizers, taquitos always hit the spot. These ones are made with “seasoned black beans & Monterey Jack cheese”. You can’t go wrong with this tasty vegetarian snack option. 

7. Chicken Chilaquiles Rojo

via Trader Joe’s website

Chilaquiles are a breakfast staple in Mexico, and TJ’s has offered up it’s own version on this savory treat. If you really want to take this frozen food to the next level, don’t be afraid to experiment in the kitchen a bit. “We made this this weekend, topped with sour cream, avocado, a sunny side up egg and a dash of hot sauce,” said Reddit user u/Pepperpeople444.

8. Roasted Plantain Chips

via Trader Joe’s website

In many parts of Latinidad, plantains are as common to Latinos as apples are to North Americans. Those who miss their sweet banana snacks are in for a treat when they visit Trader Joe’s. “They’re just crispy, crunchy, starchy goodness!” says Reddit user u/Hazy_Cat. “There’s just a teeny-tiny hint of sweetness that makes them ultra addictive. The TJ ones are my favorite”.

9. Giant Peruvian Inca Corn

via Trader Joe’s website

If you’re in the mood for something salty and crunchy but know that potato chips won’t hit the spot, opt instead for a bag of Giant Peruvian Inca Corn. “For years of my life, my favorite go to snack was TJ’s giant Peruvian Inca Corn. It’s crunchy salty goodness got me through many nights of school and games. Satisfied me through many hungry afternoons,” says Reddit user u/Doombuggie41. “Corn nuts don’t do the same thing”.

10. Trader Joe’s Peruvian Style Chimichurri Rice

via Trader Joe’s website

According to Reddit user u/crazypterodactyl, there’s a million ways to use this delicious frozen rice: “We make ours into soup (they had it as a sample one time). One bag chimichurri rice, one can black beans, one carton black bean soup. I add garlic and lime juice, but that’s not necessary. Serve plain, or with cheese, sour cream, and/or cilantro. So good and so easy!” 

A Geographer Just Created A Digital Map Of Mexico Highlighting Taco Shops And It’s A Thing Of Beauty

Culture

A Geographer Just Created A Digital Map Of Mexico Highlighting Taco Shops And It’s A Thing Of Beauty

@datavizero / Twitter

One of the biggest changes that the so called digital revolution has brought to our lives is the capacity that today’s computer systems have to process huge amounts of data. Processors today are able to run algorithms that bring together millions of data entries to find trends, cluster groups of similar objects and generate visualizations that can help us understand even the most complex aspects of science and culture. This is known popularly as “big data” and has changed the ways in which governments and companies understand reality and make decisions. For example, before high speed processing mathematicians took literally years to make sense of census data and find correlations between factors such as socioeconomic status, ethnicity, age and literacy levels.

Guess what? This can be done today with a few clicks as computers bring together millions upon millions of data entries and make sense of it all. It all sounds very geeky, but big data is defining how we live our lives, from how traffic lights coordinate to how much tax you gotta pay each year.

So all this geeky, nerdy stuff should be put to good use, o no?

Enter Mexican geographer Baruch Sangines, a true wizard when it comes to generating great data visualizations.

Credit: @datavizero / Twitter

This young scientist is the Chief Data Scientist at a company called Jetty, and he does some pretty groundbreaking research on pressing social issues such as housing and poverty.

His LinkedIn profile is pretty impressive: “Experience in public and private sector with skills to analyze and visualize data related to: commuting, transit, housing, tourism, migration, security, and urban environment. Expert in territorial analysis and passionate about the cartography and the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to visualize small and big data”. Wow. hold your horses, Einstein! He is a proud graduate of Mexico’s National University and has Master’s Degree on Demographics and Statistics. 

So why did he go viral on Mexican social media in the past few days? We mean, science is sexy but not viral sexy (sadly!). All because of this map:

Credit: @datavizero / Twitter

No, it is not a visualization of WiFi points in Mexico. No, it is not a rendition of cartel activity. No, it is not a highlight of the areas in which development runs at a faster pace. It is about something much, much more relevant to everyday life in Mexico lindo y querido. Any guesses?

Nothing is more important than a delicious taco when you most need it! 

Credit: The Splendid Table

Just look at that tortilla, a bit crispy, a bit soft… and that perfectly marinated meat… 

Well, Baruch created a visualization of taco stands in Mexico and nos ponemos de pie ante tal maravilla! 

Baruch called this visualization Taco Universe, and it showcases all the registered taco stands and shops in the country. We can clearly see that there is a high concentration of taco shrines in the capital Mexico City, and that hotspots like Cancun and Cabo are also highlighted, perhaps thanks to gringo tourism craving fish tacos. The scientists used the database Directorio Estadístico Nacional de Unidades Económicas (Denue) (Statistical National Directory of Economic Units) from the federal census agency INEGI. The map highlights how taco culture is primarily based in the center of the country, with local varieties such as Puebla’s tacos arabes (a shawarma like type) increasing the traffic in that area. 

But it is important to note that many taco stands are not accounted for (and that is not this scientist’s fault).

Thousands of Mexicans subsist in an informal economy with businesses that are not registered and pay no taxes. Among these businesses, mobile taco stands reign supreme. There are hundreds of taco stands all around the country that are set up informally. Sometimes you can find the most delicious tacos there! You can also find informal vendors selling tacos de canasta, a variety that is literally carried in a basket. This map does not take these informal enterprises into account, even though they are key to Mexico’s taco culinary tradition. 

So you are curious about tacos de canasta now, aren’t you? 

Well, just look at these crispy, sweaty, fat-rich babes. Tacos de canasta are filled with guisados or stews, or with refried beans. We are almost sure that Baruch did not include them in his map, but we can forgive him for making us crave unos taquitos (we bet you are calling your comadres or compas right now to hit the taco stand) and showing us how Mexico is a country that despite its many challenges still finds time to live up to the old adage: barriga llena, corazon contento.