Taco Chronicles (2019–…): Season 1, Episode 3 - full transcript

As is usually the case with street food,

I am the product of hunger and ingenuity.

I am simple, but always genuine.

I am never alone, I am never still.

More than any other, I am the taco
that knows tortillas the best.

From that warm embrace,
we go out together every morning.

It's tasty,

it satisfies your hunger, and it is cheap.

And, around us, the city gathers.

- Chicharrón?
- Tortillas, honey?

Something else, man?

I am the basket taco.


Hey, do you know basket tacos?

A basket taco

is prepared the day before
or early in the morning.

It must have a fatty taste,

it must taste like its filling.

They're packed in a basket, literally.

Lined with a paper wrapping,

and usually with a very characteristic
blue plastic.

They come in a basket, very tasty,

they are warm and
they have a great flavor.

And you need a good salsa,
otherwise they won't taste so good.

A fresh salsa with a bit of avocado.

And also pickled chile peppers.

Basket tacos have three main fillings:


beans, and chicharrón.

These three are a classic.

Chicharrón tacos are...

the most common ones, the best sellers.

Chicharrón tacos are my favorite.

But... after that I may order
a bean taco, for a change,

but I might as well eat
chicharrón tacos only, man.

If I have no choice,
I may have potato tacos, too.

I've always thought there is no use
in waiting for people to find you.

On a bicycle, pedaling,
I reach every corner.

I am a home delivery pioneer.

The weight of the bicycle,
counting the basket, umbrella, paper,

napkins, plates,

is between 130 and 175 pounds,
depending on the amount of tacos.

I've been to many streets on my bike.

I've been riding it for a long time,
trying to find a spot.

And I've met a lot of people.

I've made many friends doing this.

The thing about basket tacos

is that they come to you,
you don't look for them, they arrive.

You will find them
at some corner, for sure.

And if you're hungry...

you will surely eat them.

You come out of school,
or church, or the subway,

and there they are: basket tacos for you.

Probably the first picture
of a taco vendor in Mexico

is a lady with her basket

surrounded by a crowd

of paper boys buying tacos.

That picture dates from the early 1900's.

Men used to go work at a factory

and the only way to take food to them
was these tacos in baskets.

Hence their first name:

"Tacos of the basket."

Basket tacos are more affordable.

It is the cheapest kind of taco
that you can eat in the city.

- How much are they? Five pesos?
- Five.

I'll have three pork rinds tacos, one
beans and... What do you want? On me.

- I had three.
- I had three.

Six. Thirty pesos.

Basket tacos are for college kids,
for students,

because we were usually broke,

but there was always a bicycle
with a basket full of tacos,

they seemed endless,

and a huge glass mayonnaise jar

filled with salsa,

but, on a taco, that was delicious.

To prevent the salsa from spilling,
I grab the taco like...

Like this, one finger behind,

this way nothing will come out,
that's how I do it.

Intentionally or unintentionally,
at some point,

everyone has eaten a basket taco,

and it probably came from Tlaxcala.

The story goes

that there was a group of people in Mexico

that was never conquered
by the Aztec Empire:

The Tlaxcalans.

A warrior people, a courageous people.

Incorrectly, we've gone
down in history as traitors.

The Spaniards tried to

go through Tlaxcala.

The leader of the Tlaxcalan armies,
Xicotencatl the Younger,

tried to stop them.

"Why do you want to go through?
What are your intentions?"

"We are headed to
the Great City of Tenochtitlan."

"Right, but not through here.
Wait a minute."

There's a first battle,
there's a second battle,

and before there is a third one,
they sign an alliance.

We were probably
the fourth or fifth people

to become allies with the Spaniards,

so, we were not traitors.

We Tlaxcalans enjoyed many privileges.

One of them was

keeping our culture and traditions alive.

And, of course, preserving our cuisine.

Hi, good afternoon. An order of tacos.

There's pork rinds, beans,
potatoes with longaniza

and sausage with sliced chile peppers.

Give me two pork rinds,
one beans and one potatoes, please.

The Botis family, in Tlaxcala,

play a very important role.

For many years, for many decades,
this family

has been devoted
to producing basket tacos.

San Vicente town, in Tlaxcala,
where my father is from,

adopted basket tacos.

We are fortunate,

because my father-in-law
was one of the first taqueros

who left San Vicente Xiloxochitla

and went to Mexico City,

where they learned
how to make basket tacos

and then brought them back to Tlaxcala.

My father was one of the first
taqueros from our town

who went to Mexico City

and started selling tacos,

so I happened to be born to a taco family.

This is a family business, no outsiders,

they are all my children.

Each one of them has a job, for example,

the day before,
we need to boil the potatoes,

cook the beans, the chile peppers
that will be used the next day,

leave everything ready
for us to get up the next morning

cook and make the tacos.

I went out on the streets out of need

and humbly so.

I don't cost more than five pesos,

but I am a tasty morsel
prepared by many hands.

We are preparing a guacamole salsa.

In a blender, we add chile peppers

and then we add avocados.

I make 1.6 gallons of guacamole.

I started selling tacos
when I arrived here in Tlaxcala.

Before that, he was the one
who used to go out and sell.

My husband's family used to scold me,

they were against me going out to sell,

they said that was not okay.

So I started this bad habit here

of putting myself to work.

We're waiting for the oil to be hot.

We are going to caramelize the onions.

Once the onion is caramelized,

we season it with chile powder,

which will give color to the chicharrón.

Once it's seasoned, we add water.

We prepare at least two or three
pots of chicharrón.

Once it is boiling,

we add the minced pork skin and stew it.

The fat begins to separate,
which will help us make the tacos.

This basket contains 700 tacos.

The fat that separates from
the chicharrón is essential,

since it will give the tacos their color,

and a little bit of flavor, too.

That's why we make the tacos
in the same pot as the chicharrón.

They are placed in such a way
that they are easy to take out.

As you can see here in this basket,

these are the sausage and
sliced poblano pepper tacos.

I make fewer beans tacos,
so they're just this small section

in order to leave more room
for the chicharrón tacos.

Can I have more fat, please?

Fat, please.

Before I begin my everyday journey,

I need a little help.

A good old oil bath.

That steam bath within the paper
and blue plastic is my secret.

That's where I cease to be
simply a tortilla with a filling

and become a national glory.

A good tortilla is also essential.

Sometimes we get tortillas
that are a bit uncooked,

so when you make the taco
and place it in the basket,

it crumbles.

The nixtamal tortillas
that we prepare for them

are very different to the rest
of the tortillas that we make.

They need their tortillas
to be more flexible

because they fold them in half
to make their tacos,

and add the filling,

and they place them
one on top of the other,

so when they take them out,

because they have several layers
in the basket, the tortilla may break.

Tortillas need to be freshly made.

We just got this batch.

Cold tortillas are no use for us.

We need them to be hot,
freshly made.

Tlaxcala means "place of corn bread".

That is my place,

where tradition is followed
and upheld every day.

Because, more than any other, I am
the taco that speaks the language of corn,

the one that reveals its secrets.

Corn has a very important role,

it's kind of the backbone.

It's as if, without it,
we wouldn't be able to walk,

to be, to eat,

we wouldn't be able
to do anything without corn.

This is the wonderful "mother" plant

cultivated in the agroalimentary system
called the milpa,

combining all of the ingredients

of our traditional cuisine.

These colorful ears of corn...

we are trying to rescue them,

because nowadays only
white corn is grown.

Or they want to introduce
genetically modified corn, hybrid corn.

By introducing hybrid corn
or genetically modified corn,

these other species of corn
will disappear.

We created

an association of traditional
female cooks in Tlaxcala.

But we realized that they are

guardians and warriors
who defend this country's land.

And, of course, they keep,
take care of,

plant and harvest this
wonderful plant, corn.

- Native.
- Native?

Being the guardians of corn

means consuming our own corn

and preventing it from
getting contaminated with

hybrid corn

or genetically modified corn.

It also means making our corn known

and selling it.

Native corn is the original
corn from this region,

the corn species
that is cultivated here,

the one that has been sown
generation after generation.

When I was a young girl,

my mom would take me to plant corn.

She would be in front of me,
sowing corn with a shovel,

and I would be behind her,
using my foot to sow beans

in between the corn.

Sowing beans next to the corn?

You sow corn, then you sow a bean,

then another corn and another bean.

Her name is Alejandra Yoel

and I feel it is my responsibility
to teach her

a part of my culture.

But I don't want her to just learn
how to make tortillas,

she should learn
how to make them with love,

like we women do here in Ixtenco,

so that she will feel proud of her roots.

- We are going to sow...
- Sow.

- ...corn.
- Corn.

- To make tortillas.
- Tortillas.

To eat.


Tacos! Basket tacos! Tacos!

- With onion, please.
- Okay.

Hey, big guy! You just got here!
Don't pretend that you can't eat this!

There you go.
Have some with traditional salsa

or guacamole with habanero. Who else?

My name is Marven,
better known as Lady Tacos de Canasta.

I'm from Oaxaca,

from Villa de Etla, Oaxaca.

My dad started making basket tacos

and I learned from him,

he taught me.

He's Lady Tacos de Canasta's
number one fan.

He always wears his Lady
Tacos de Canasta staff T-shirt and cap.

It was not like I said,
"I'm going out and sell basket tacos."

My dad told me,
"just try it, maybe you'll do well."

So I did,

but I used to ride my bike like,
"Tacos, basket tacos, tacos"

and I came back home
with a full basket

because I did not offer them,
I was too shy.

My basket tacos shout arose

from the need
to let construction workers know

that tacos had arrived.

Tacos, basket tacos, tacos!

Who wants one? Who's missing?

After work, tacos. These are very good.

This girl makes them good.

Someone else? More?

Your chance is now, Matías,
I don't come here every day.

Well, the name Lady Tacos de Canasta
came from the video,

as a joke,
making reference to these videos

titled "Lady This" or "Lord That"
that went viral on social media.

One day I decided to go out
and sell tacos at the Pride Parade.

I used to attend them,
but never wearing makeup and such.

I went there, and it happened.

There was a lot of people, my tone
of voice, my clothes and makeup

got a lot of attention.

Many people took videos
of me with their cell phones,

but I would have never imagined
that I'd go viral on social media.

Not ever.

Tacos, basket tacos, tacos!

It radically changed my life.

We are at the Zocalo,

on Madero street, with the one and only...

Lady Tacos de Canasta!

Lady Tacos de Canasta.

What kind of tacos do you have, Lady?

Today we have potato, bean,

and the people's favorite: chorizo.

Did you all come from Sonora, or what?

Come and try our authentic, traditional

and famous street food.

Tacos, basket tacos, tacos!

It takes us about

three hours to prepare
a small 250-tacos basket.

We make the traditional fillings:
potato, bean and chicharrón.

So, we are cooking now,
right in the thick of it.

We've already mashed the potatoes,

added caramelized onions,

a bit of guajillo chiles, which we
use to give potatoes their orange color.

And flavor, too, so they won't taste
like common, plain potatoes.

We also use guajillo for the chicharrón.

We use top-quality pressed pork scraps.

We add a bit of garlic,

pork lard, onion,

and here we add the beans.

I use avocado leaves

which provide a very Oaxacan flavor.

These are the traditional beans,
already pureed.

We are going to wrap the basket

to keep the tacos nice and warm.

The first wrap is
the traditional blue plastic.

Someone told me once...

I'm not saying it's true,
it's just a legend.

The Tlaxcalan gods asked for a dish

in which the sky would be reflected,

but since they didn't find anything,

they just offered the tacos
wrapped in a blue blanket.

I believe that is the origin
of the story explaining why

blue plastic is used.

People prefer chicharrón tacos.

From our gourmet menu,

people like chapulines (grasshoppers)

and al pastor tacos,
that's our fans' favorite.

Muxes are from Juchitán, Oaxaca.

We are talking about the "third gender".

It comes from the Zapotec word
for "woman".

Having a muxe at home is a blessing,

since these people have

both deities.

This is what I'm going to wear today,

my finest clothes.

I love Mexico, our traditions
and our culture,

and I love to be able
to wear all of this

and to let people know
about our culture, our traditions,

our gastronomy, which is
the best thing that we have in Mexico.

I feel free,

riding a bike
is a completely different experience,

feeling the air...

I love it,

it's one of my favorite activities.

I also use it for work,
it's a workout, I go places...

What more could I ask for from my bike?

It makes me feel very proud
of everything:

my family, my parents,
my grandparents...

the people who love me
and who have always supported me

to get to where I am today,
because it hasn't been easy.

I am simple, but I have my secrets.

I am not afraid to show myself
the way I am,

and every morning, Monday to Saturday,

silently and deliciously I fulfill my duty

of restoring the people's mood.

But I rest Sundays, that's for sure.

Clerks, construction workers,

unemployed people and students:

Do not miss me! I'll be back next Monday.

Always the same, and yet so different.

I am the humble monument
honoring working-class breakfast.

Basket tacos

are one of the most delicious
things I've ever eaten.