While you can’t go wrong eating barbacoa, carnitas, or fried fish tacos, this handheld meal is a messy one. Use these tips to learn the proper way to eat tacos and keep your lap a little cleaner while you enjoy their spicy crunch.
Everybody likes tacos, including kids. And few things can make you feel like a kid again more than the sloppy mess you make trying to eat these handheld suckers.
While you can’t avoid every taco-related accident, you can learn how to eat tacos without making a mess using a few simple tricks we learned along our taco-eating journey.
Follow our simple rules below for eating tacos to keep more of your precious taco fixings in your hard or soft shell instead of on your lap, the ground, the table, your brand-new cashmere sweater - you get the point.
Do you eat a taco with your hands?
Yes! Much like pizza, ice cream cones, or chicken wings, half the fun of eating tacos lies in the process. Somehow, things just manage to taste better when we eat them with our hands.
Sometimes, people make a deconstructed taco salad in place of a taco for a less messy experience, but you can easily enjoy a traditional taco using the rules below.
To learn how to eat a hard shell taco with less mess, you can first make your taco shell more leakproof as you construct it.
Before you build a hard shell or soft shell, take a clean piece of lettuce and line the inner side to block any sauce from seeping through the shell, causing drips and shell breakage.
A larger piece ripped to the taco’s size works best, as shredded lettuce isn’t solid enough to catch the liquids that come from the salsa, sour cream, hot sauce, and meat.
After you line the shell with some lettuce, add your beans, rice, or cheese as a secondary protective barrier before the hot meat, which may make the lettuce soggy, causing leaks.
We know, we know, it’s easier said than done. When you head to that taco bar and see the spread of delicious toppings ahead of you, the last thing you’re thinking about is holding it.
Instead of feeling like you’re sacrificing precious ingredients in favor of holding a taco more efficiently, we say it’s the perfect excuse to have an extra taco!
If you’re filling a hard shell hand-holding taco, a decent rule of thumb (or power of pinky) - fill the shell as high as the entire length of your pinky finger. Well, unless your pinky is enormous! Any higher risks collapse and an ensuing mess.
While you can eat a taco straight from your hand, it’s always better to have a plate underneath to catch any overflowing taco ingredients.
Hold your taco shell over your plate as you eat, and move your head over the plate as you bite, not the taco towards your face - otherwise, salsa and filling may plop directly onto your lap.
Learning how to eat soft tacos is a little easier than hard, as you can put a soft-wrapped taco down carefully as you please.
Once you start filling your hard taco shell, you should never let your taco lie on its side; otherwise, toppings will tumble onto your plate. Instead, keep your taco propped up straight by placing your taco on your plate and inserting a fork into the taco for balance. Plastic forks don’t work as well as stainless steel, which has more weight to them for better balance.
The best way to eat a soft shell taco is like a tightly-wrapped burrito. To make your taco-burrito hybrid, place your taco fillings off-center, and fold one edge of the wrap over the other. Tuck the ends in toward the filling, then roll the taco in the same direction as your first fold.
This tip works best for soft shell tacos - instead of stuffing your soft taco with salsa, sour cream, and hot sauce, keep your wrap clean and dry by keeping your condiments on your plate instead.
Grab your wrapped taco and dip it straight into your favorite Mexican sauces with every bite. Dipping saves you a load of mess, keeps your taco from getting soggy, and it ensures you’ll get enough of each delicious sauce with each and every bite.
Most people eat hard shell tacos from end to end - this is the wrong way if you’re trying to avoid a mess!
To eat this crunchy meal the cleanest way, start by holding the taco shell in the center, applying a little finger pressure around an inch above the base, also known as the “meat line.” Grip your taco from above, not below the taco.
Take your first small bite at the end of your taco, then another two smaller bites on the same side, inching your way toward the center of the shell. Now, flip the taco and start on the other end, taking another three bites.
Now, you’re left with two decently-sized center bites and an intact shell, and it’s time for the grand finale - finish it off!
What goes better with tacos? Tequila, of course! Unless you’re underage, in which case, pop a bottle of Jarrito’s Mexican soda.
Now that you know how to eat your taco properly, enjoy a proper tequila tasting to wash your meal down right.
Pour yourself an ounce of good-quality tequila, and hold it to your nose - smell it, taking in the tequila’s delicate tasting notes, as you would a fine wine.
Take a small sip of your tequila and swish it around your tongue, allowing the liquor to coat your mouth and throat. Finish the tequila and enjoy its taste before finishing with fresh lemon if you’d like.
Never take salt with your tequila shot. If you need salt to manage the taste, you might need to try a better tequila!Now grab your taco holder, and you’re all set for your next tequila and taco night, confident you won’t wreck your most expensive outfit!
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