Chili con carne is the official designated food of Texas. But now that the legislature’s back in session, it might be time to revisit that nomination.

While some may say the state food should be barbecue, Mando Rayo, co-author of the book “Tacos of Texas,” is championing the taco to take chili’s place.

“Whether you grew up here in Texas or you got here as soon as you could, you’re eating tacos,” he says. “People here eat tacos five days a week. Tacos were here before Texas was Texas.”

You can make anything into a taco, Rayo says, even a chili.

“What the tortilla does it gives the food a hug and then forms the taco,” he says. “Tacos were not imported here. They’re from here. They’re from this land. They’re from the people.”

Rayo says you can find tacos anywhere, not just a Mexican restaurant: food trucks, gas stations, Asian food places, barbecue joints and other flavors of restaurants.

A taco is an invitation to dig deeper into the food and where it comes from, he says.

“It’s more than just this new trendy food that you just take a bite and it’s great,” Rayo says. “Once you know the history, the culture and where it comes from, then that taco is gonna taste 200 times better.”

Written by Beth Cortez-Neavel.

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  • Anonymous February 20, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    texas barbecue

  • BLANKENSHIP February 20, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    Barbecue fir sure is texas food

  • Aldo Gonzales February 9, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    Forgot to say….I see chili con carne as a condiment and for my Fritos….LOL

  • Aldo Gonzales February 9, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    All this talk about tacos makes me miss Corpus. The have the best, biggest, with homemade tortillas, and at a good price! Oh well, since I’m here in Austin will have to settle for what we have until my next visit down there.

  • Nancy Schindele February 9, 2017 at 11:15 am

    Maybe I’ve been in South Texas too long. When you mentioned an extra large pizza today, I googled Big Luz Pizza. Big Lou’s pizza still came up but I made myself laugh.

  • Virgil Alvarado February 9, 2017 at 11:06 am

    I think the taco should be the official plate of Texas!!! Talking about tacos Mary’s Tacos in Boerne, Texas are awesome!!

  • Al Jackson February 9, 2017 at 10:52 am

    I am 4th generation Dallas, born 1940 grew up there, in the 1940s don’t remember tacos. Tacos came along later

    • Charles Norres February 11, 2017 at 11:00 pm

      Well you must have been in the wrong parts of Texas! At least out is far west TX we have always had them. They were a staple in homes.