TACO OF THE WEEK #6: TACOS DE CANASTA @ LOS ESPECIALES

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Tacos de canasta, named for the basket in which they are traditionally presented and out of which they are hawked, are sometimes called ‘tacos sudados’ or sweaty tacos. None of the vendors I interviewed seem to know the origin of this simple and ubiquitous curbside taco phenomenon, but most agree that they are native to Mexico City and/or Hidalgo. They are simply tortillas filled with frijoles refritos , adobo (a mole-like paste), potatoes, chicharrón (pork skin) or meat-less mole verde, folded over and quickly heated. They’re then packed sardine-like in a basket lined with cloth and brought to market on foot in a little cart, or sometimes by bicycle. Snuggled together, they keep warm, continuing to steam, sweat and ooze for hours. Eaten as they come out of the basket with salsa and escabeche (pickled chiles and vegetables) they’re sold cheap – often for as little as 4 or 5 pesos.

This beloved venue is located in the same building as the old XEW radio studios where many famous musicians got their start. Perhaps ranchera great Lola Beltran downed a few tacos while she was waiting for her big break. Try those of mole verde or carnero en adobo.

Tacos de Canasta Los Especiales
Ayuntamiento 48 (Next to the old XEW radio station and around the corner from the revered Mercado San Juan)
Open 8:30 a.m. – 7:45 p.m., Monday – Saturday, closed Sunday

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