Border Taco Face-off: Rio Grande Valley Vs. El Paso

Each of Texas’ border regions has its own distinctive taco style.

By Casey Cheek & Leah ScarpelliMay 4, 2017 2:47 pm,

It’s no secret that authentic tacos are easy to find in Texas border towns. But some taco fans may not realize that the Rio Grande Valley and the El Paso areas serve up their own distinct styles. Our in-house taco expert and author of “The Tacos of Texas,” Mando Rayo, breaks down this east versus west battle of the taco.

Rayo says that tacos in the Rio Grande Valley reflect the influence of small, Mexican street tacos combined with Texas flavors. El Paso tacos, on the other hand, incorporate ingredients from New Mexico, such as hatch chiles. El Paso tacos also often contain oregano, red and green sauces and chicharrones or fried pork rinds.

No matter which side of the border takes the crown for best taco, Rayo says that El Paso will always claim loyalty to the burrito.

“El Paso is definitely a burrito town, you can’t take that away from them,” Rayo says.

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– How ranch style cooking influences tacos across south Texas

– The distinct styles of tacos in each region

Rayo’s recommendations:

El Ultimo Taco Tacqueria, Brownsville

Vera’s Backyard Bar-B-Que, Brownsville

Manuel’s, Port Isabel

Isabel’s Cafe, Port Isabel


Written by Emma Whalen.