The Chicago Taco

There is a cultural phenomenon in Chicago that I have yet to understand since moving here in December of 2017. Set aside the insane baseball fandom, the violence, and the corruption, and let us examine tacos. Yes, I said tacos.

A taco is a Mexican dish consisting of a fried tortilla, typically folded, filled with various mixtures, such as seasoned meat, beans, lettuce, and tomatoes. That is an exact quote from the definition on Google. Sounds simple enough. They are usually pretty cheap and very easy to make. Yet, everyone here is obsessed with tacos.

Here are excerpts from Bumble bios that feature this topic:

“6’1″ (because that is important apparently), love the outdoors, let’s eat tacos”

“Must love tacos”

“Hiking. Travel. Tacos.”

“Hi. I like tacos.”

Obviously, the first thing I thought was they are making some sort of sexual innuendo. It is a dating app after all. But I decided to do some research. And what I found is, yes, they mean tacos the food, and everyone is obsessed. They swear that it is, in fact, the best food to eat.

I understand Chicago is an international port, full of a variety of delicious foods from around the world. And maybe I just haven’t had the right tacos yet, but I said that about the hot dogs here, and let’s face it, those are just hot dogs. We all can calm down about that.

I can, at least, understand the hot dog thing though. There is a certain nostalgia to eating a hot dog at a baseball game. The memory flooding back each time you experience the food. That makes sense.

But, tacos. Tacos. Tacos??

I think my bewilderment comes from my childhood. I know a classic excuse. But, I grew up in the southeast region of the United States, specifically Southern Louisiana. Southern culture is worldly famous for being strange and without reason. However, the only food we ever freak out about, we created. Red beans and rice, boudin, gumbo, crawfish boils, etc. These foods are wildly unhealthy and most of them we definitely should not eat. But we made them first and are proud of it. Like how Joey was so proud of making that giant entertainment center even though it was way to big and overall not useful. So my question to you Chicagoans is, why are you so obsessed with something you didn’t make?

If you are from Chicago and not obsessed with tacos, please don’t be that person to say, “Not EVERYONE is obsessed with tacos. That is a massive generalization you are making and it’s rude.”

Stop. This is just a trend I’m seeing that I’m trying to figure out. Over the next few months, I will attempt to solve the taco problem by trying as many Chicago tacos as I can. I will be adding my thoughts to this post as I go.


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