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National Taco Day: What are the three best taco shops in the US according to Yelp?

The popular Mexican street food is one of the nation’s favourite snacks, but where can you find the best one?

The top spots for National Taco Day 2022

Today marks National Taco Tuesday, a day of celebration for the popular Mexican street food. The first mention of tacos in the United States comes from a 1905 newspaper article, around the time that Mexicans were moving north of the border to find work in the thriving mining and railroad industries.

More than a century later, tacos are frequently cited as one of the most popular food in the US but the question of where to find the best example is subject to frequent debate.

Ahead of National Taco Day, Yelp sought to clarify the situation by publishing a list of America’s Top 100 Taco Shops.

The company explained: “In honor of National Taco Day—and accounting for the wide range of taco tastes in this country—we’ve curated the top taco spots across the US, based on your ratings and reviews.”

Topping the list is Fernandez Restaurant in San Diego, CA, where Yelpers rave about the birria tacos.”

The highest rated taco joint in the whole of the US can be found at 2265 Flower Avenue in the San Diego South Bay neighbourhood of Nestor.

Yelp user Nicole C. said of the chart-topping establishment: “Good god, so amazing. That’s all I can say without drooling. Best birria I’ve had in San Diego. Super fresh, super affordable. Love the aqua frescas, and their hot sauce is amazing.”

Joining Fernandez Restaurant on the podium are Taco Naz (Bellflower) in second place and Taqueria Mi Ranchito (Sylmar) which claimed the bronze medal. It is perhaps no surprise that all of the top three are found in California, which has a rich tradition of Mexican cuisine and culture.

Where does the name ‘taco’ come from?

There are few foods as instantly recognisable as the humble taco, but few people know where the name itself originates from. The food itself is thought to be based on a number of ancient Mexican recipes, long before the Spanish arrived.

The original versions features flat corn tortillas with fillings like fish and cooked organs, rolled to make an easily eatable meal.

However the name came much later and it thought to have originated with Mexican silver miners in the 18th century, who compared the favourite snack to a ‘taquito’, the paper-wrapped gunpowder that was inserted into rocks to be detonated.

The food became synonymous with the working class and miners in particular. Over time the name changed to ‘tacos de minero’, or ‘miners’ tacos’, before being shortened to ‘taco’.


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