The Case for Making Tacos the Official Dish of Texas

Some say it’s chili con carne, others say it’s barbecue.

By Casey CheekFebruary 9, 2017 9:30 am| ,

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.