of the Tastiest (And Craziest!) Tacos in America
Tacos are one of those crave-worthy foods that works perfectly any time of day: filled with eggs and chorizo for a breakfast bite, or overflowing with guacamole for a late night snack. Ever since #TacoTuesday became one of the most popular hashtags on social, tacos are having their moment in the spotlight. And chefs are getting wildly creative with their offerings.
Here are 20 of the craziest tacos in America—stuffed with everything from catfish to caviar.
Picnic Chicken Taco
Velvet Taco, Chicago, IL
With taco varieties like Nashville Hot Tofu, Tikka Chicken, and Falafel, this Chicago taqueria has earned our respect, but their Picnic Chicken variety stopped us in our tracks. It’s filled with crispy chicken skin, honey-dijon potato salad, avocado crema, and cilantro.
Rose. Rabbit. Lie., Las Vegas, NV
A trip to Sin City is all about opulence, so why not indulge in the most over-the-top tacos we could find? These bite-sized tacos start at $15 each, and are made with a crispy potato shell, wild caviar, and hamachi. A $47 version upgrades to Golden Osetra caviar. When in Vegas, right?
Fried Catfish Taco
Torchy’s Tacos, Locations in TX & OK
Torchy’s is a Texas favorite, and this signature taco—filled with southern fried catfish, poblano slaw, cotija cheese, peppadew peppers, cilantro, and avocado sauce—is our favorite way to take a bite of the Lone Star state.
Lamb Neck Taco
Los Chingones, Denver, CO
At this hip Denver eatery, the lamb neck taco is a standout. The unconventional meat takes center stage—slow-braised with onions, tomatoes, and chiles, and finished with a little bit of onion, cilantro, and pasilla-lime salsa. #FlavorExplosion
Short Rib Taco
Kogi Taqueria, Los Angeles, CA
This cheap eats food truck offers inventive fusion cuisine (think calamari tacos and kimchi quesadillas), but their alleged “world famous” short rib tacos are straight up mouthwatering. Served on crispy griddled corn tortillas, these tacos are piled high with double caramelized Korean barbecue short rib meat, salsa roja made with Korean and Mexican chili peppers, cilantro-lime relish, and chili soy slaw.
Tuna Poke Taco
Beauty & Essex, New York, NY
Before poke became a thing in New York City, this LES hotspot served diced raw tuna as an appetizer in crispy wonton shells. Filled with plenty of fish, fresh cilantro, sliced radishes, and wasabi kewpie, these tasty tacos quickly became a popular menu mainstay.
Dried Grasshopper Taco
Toloache, New York, NY
We’re bugging out over these tacos. If you’re a brave eater, hop on over to Toloache in NYC to try their tacos filled with Oaxacan-style dried grasshoppers (chapulines), onions, cilantro, jalapeños, and salsa verde.
Hometown BBQ, Brooklyn, NY
This Red Hook barbecue spot is famous for its brisket—smoked Texas-style with a ridiculously tasty, sticky-sweet caramelized crust. They serve soft tacos with the melt-in-your-mouth meat, and top ’em with queso, onions, and pickles. Don’t be shy about adding Hometown’s tangy, homemade BBQ sauce.
Banh Mi Taco
The Peached Tortilla, Austin, TX
This modern Texas eatery offers up a few Asian-inspired tacos (Chicken Pad Thai and Korean Steak), but we love the idea of transforming a banh mi into a tasty taco. With Vietnamese braised pork belly, pickled daikon carrot, sriracha mayo, and cilantro, one of our favorite sandwiches has a hot new look.
Grilled Octopus Taco
Petty Cash Taqueria, Los Angeles, CA
If you’ve never had an octopus taco, you’re missing out. Petty Cash Taqueria’s popular version elevates tender charcoal grilled octo with bold-flavored chimichurri, tomatillo aioli, peach pico de gallo, and crispy cabbage.
Pig Head Carnitas Taco
Street Taco, New York, NY
This Gramercy taqueria churns out lots of inventive varieties including crispy cauliflower, hoisin pork belly, and sweet chili glazed Brussels sprouts. This show-stopping specialty for the upcoming Dia de los Muertos celebration (a.k.a the Dia de los Puercos taco) is made using succulent pig head carnitas, crispy chicharrones, avocado crema, onion, serrano salsa, and cilantro, available October 28th — November 2nd.
La Santisima, Phoenix, AZ
Calling all adventurous eaters! This gourmet taco shop serves up inventive southwestern fare like these corn tortillas stuffed with a beer-battered Baja Sur specialty: dogfish shark.
Duck Confit Taco
Täkō, Pittsburgh, PA
This has everything you didn’t know you wanted in a taco shell: tender duck confit, hoisin sauce, scallions, cucumbers, pickled peppers, mint, and cilantro. Equal parts indulgent and refreshing.
Mole Carrot Taco
Big Star Chicago, Chicago, IL
This savory vegetarian taco will delight plant eaters and carnivores alike. Made with mole-spiced roasted carrots, chipotle date yogurt, pumpkin and sesame seeds, almond, and cilantro, this smoky ‘Taco de Zanahorias’ is sure to become your next favorite.
Bangkok Shrimp Taco
White Duck Taco Shop, Locations in NC, SC & TN
Made with crispy fried shrimp and zesty curry pickles, this Chinese takeout-inspired taco is a best-seller thanks to its perfect balance of spice and sweet.
Short Rib Pastrami Taco
Empellón Taqueria, New York, NY
You can’t go to New York City without having some classic pastrami. And Empellón Taqueria puts a taco twist on the deli staple with their tender short rib pastrami tacos accented with pickled cabbage and mustard seed salsa.
Shrimp BLT Taco
Bodega Taqueria y Tequila, Miami, FL
This SoBe hot spot turned a BLT sandwich into a taco—and we’re not complaining. They add variety with plump grilled shrimp and an addicting chipotle-cotija dressing that you’ll want to put that on everything.
Hash Brown Taco
Barcocina, Baltimore, MD
This taco take on traditional eggs Benedict features a crunchy shell made out of crisped hash browns that gets stuffed with cheesy eggs, pico de gallo, and creamy hollandaise sauce.
El Come Taco, Dallas, TX
This authentic taqueria keeps things simple: crispy tripa topped with cilantro and onions in a corn tortilla. If you’re an adventurous meat eater, you can try other unusual varieties like tongue and cow brain. Pro tip: add some heat with one of Come Taco’s homemade hot sauces and wash it all down with one of their tasty frozen margaritas.
Rolled Ice Cream Taco
Sweet Cup, Garden Grove, CA
We couldn’t resist adding a dessert taco to this list—and these colorful, rolled ice cream treats are the best around (and the most ’grammable). With flavors like S’mores Galore, Birthdae Cake, and Matcha Bliss, there’s something for every sweets lover.
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