As the taco trend marches north—beyond our own state’s borders—it’s good to remind ourselves where the roots of this culinary delight are sunk the deepest. That would be Mexico, of course, and within our borders, the Rio Grande Valley. Tacos are as entrenched in Valley culture as muffulettas are in New Orleans or cheesesteaks in Philly. Long before $5 avant garde tacos became the vogue in places like Austin and Oak Cliff in Dallas, modestly priced tacos were a cornerstone of this region’s cuisine. In our continued quest to find the greatest tacos Texas has to offer (no small feat, we know), we’ve turned our attention southward.
So why all this taco tasting madness? Not that there really needs to be a reason to want to eat all the tacos, but Texas Monthly is beginning its research on finding the best tacos across the state, a list we’ll publish at the end of the year. Our quest to unearth the top contenders already took us on a taco tour of Austin, where we scouted out more than 100 tacos at taquerias, food trucks, highfalutin joints—well, basically any place were tortillas are slung and filled—and settled on 16 great options from the capital city. We then explored the vast expanse that is DFW to bring you 15 great tacos from that area. Now we’ve canvassed the RGV. This list is far from comprehensive, and as we continue our mission to find the best fillings stuffed in a folded tortilla, we ask that you share your recommendations (like we could stop you). We promise to get to them. In the meantime, here are some regional favorites.