Yep. This book is indeed as incredible as it sounds.
Last year, we’ve spent a fortune chasing down a copy of the Spanish edition of this book in a library in DF, but with no regrets: it’s without a doubt THE reference for all tortilla geeks out there. While there are many excellent books about Mexican cuisine, nothing comes close to the Tacopedia (Amazon UK / Amazon US) when it comes to tacos.
This is what we thought about the original one:
The graphic layout is impressive – it’s packed with truer than life photos, drawings, schemas, illustrations everywhere, so if you’re into graphic design, here you will find book layout p*rn at its best! It’s packed with interviews, anecdotes, recipes, and tons of addresses where to get them (and not mainstream tourist-ey shops, but literally a hut in the middle of nowhere). And yes, it covers all types and varieties, including “insect” tacos for the most adventurous readers!
The team at Phaidon have done an excellent job translating the original masterpiece into English. This clearly wasn’t an easy task given the mountain of information in there and keeping in mind that a lot of the original content was “by Mexicans for Mexicans” (a lot of regional words or anecdotes that just can’t be translated). The only bits lost in translation are some of the illustrations and cheesy details that made the original book so flashy and lucha-libresque (see the two side-by-side photos above). Other than that, it’s still a pure joy to read. Especially if you don’t speak Spanish!
Note that this book is primarily about the story, the culture, the varieties of tacos throughout Mexico – and it seriously delivers on that. As a cookbook, there are over a hundred recipes in there, some of which could do with a little more detail to help beginners out. Let’s simply say that as the original version of this book was destined for Mexicans, so a prior knowledge about Mexican food will help you get the best out of it.
Even with our limited knowledge about tacos (the preparation bit, not the eating one – we’re pretty advanced on the latter), we gave the beef in adobo a try (p. 139), which turned out pretty delicious. Easy to prepare and the flavours were really well balanced.
So, if you’re like us and you dream every night of carnitas, cochinita pibil, chicharron, or anything else that fits in a tortilla (and you obviously do, otherwise you wouldn’t have read this entire article…), you’ll quickly realise that it’s worth every penny! A pure gem!