Culture

The Guinness World Record For The Biggest Carnitas Taco Was Just Broken In Queretaro, Mexico

Mexicans have been putting food inside a tortilla, folding it in half and calling it breakfast, lunch and dinner, since before the Popol Vuh came to be. Tacos are our love language, our most precious export to the world —ok maybe that’s an exaggeration… or is it? You could offer us caviar, pâté de foie gras, white truffles, oysters and we’d (rightly so) still choose a taco de carne asada. But there’s one Mexican among us all who loves tacos so much, he set out to make the world’s largest one. Stuffed with Carnitas, and weighing an exorbitant amount, Alejandro Paredes managed to produce the world’s biggest taco de carnitas. 

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Queretaro is the record holder for the world’s largest taco de carnitas.

The state of Queretaro in Mexico earned the Guinness World Record for their gigantic taco de carnitas a few weeks ago. The monster-taco stretched to an entire city block, and measured 102 meters long (nearly 335 ft) and weighed 1,200 kilograms of tortillas (almost 3,000 lbs) and 1,507 kilograms of delicious carnitas (just over 3300 lbs).

Alejandro Paredes Resendiz is responsible for the carnitas-filled monstrosity. 

Credit: @luisbnava / Twitter

The organizer of the event came up with the idea in 2011, when he promised his uncle —the head of Queretaro’s gastronomical council— that he would make the world’s biggest carnitas taco. 

Apparently, the Guinness record committee declined several applications prior to Paredes’.

Alejandro Paredes said the Guinness organizing committee had already declined five previous applications for ‘the world’s biggest carnitas taco’, so he waited until he knew he could fulfill all the requirements necessary to qualify for a world record.  “We used certified workers with history in Querétaro,” said Paredes. “We complied with all the regulations of the Guinness contract. All of the carnitas were made today, everyone had the proper equipment and, most importantly, we shared the food with all who attended.”

Guinness World Records does not award prize money, but Paredes said that if they raise any money as a result of the record, it will be donated.

“If we earn even one peso, it will be donated to the DIF family services center, because Querétaro should be the best state in Latin America,” he said.

For Reséndiz, the achievement was not only a world record, but also a personal best.

“I broke my own record because the last taco I made was 75 meters long. It was registered, but not certified. I hope that all 1500 people can eat. We began at six in the morning and we won’t go home until the volunteers feed the visitors and the taco is gone,” he said.

The enormous taco fed 1500 attendees. It took more than 25 chefs and 150 gastronomy students to prepare the record-breaking feat. The huge team of cooks started preparing the food 12 hours prior to the assembly of the taco. 

Queretaro managed to take Guadalajara’s record. 

The 102 meter long taco, made in Queretaro, broke the record that had been set by Guadalajara with its 75 meter long taco a few years prior.

But why carnitas in Queretaro?

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In Mexico, each state has its own culinary traditions and local plates — ‘carnitas’ is not typical of Queretaro, so why did they decide to make this particular taco?

“I recognize that there are other states in the country, like Michoacán, where they make delicious carnitas, but here in Querétaro there are seven different styles,” Paredes said. Alejandro Paredes claims to have conducted a study to find our which food was most consumed in his state, and voila, he found out that the people of Queretaro love carnitas. 

Carnitas are made by cooking the different parts of the pig in giant copper or stainless steel pots. The meat is traditionally seasoned with a mineral salt called tequesquite, but there are many different regional variations.

Local tourist agencies, taqueros, and municipal authorities plan to share the news about the record-breaking event, to promote tourism in the area and to invite taco-lovers everywhere, from Mexico and the world, to visit Queretaro and try its delicious carnitas. 

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A Geographer Just Created A Digital Map Of Mexico Highlighting Taco Shops And It’s A Thing Of Beauty

Culture

A Geographer Just Created A Digital Map Of Mexico Highlighting Taco Shops And It’s A Thing Of Beauty

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One of the biggest changes that the so called digital revolution has brought to our lives is the capacity that today’s computer systems have to process huge amounts of data. Processors today are able to run algorithms that bring together millions of data entries to find trends, cluster groups of similar objects and generate visualizations that can help us understand even the most complex aspects of science and culture. This is known popularly as “big data” and has changed the ways in which governments and companies understand reality and make decisions. For example, before high speed processing mathematicians took literally years to make sense of census data and find correlations between factors such as socioeconomic status, ethnicity, age and literacy levels.

Guess what? This can be done today with a few clicks as computers bring together millions upon millions of data entries and make sense of it all. It all sounds very geeky, but big data is defining how we live our lives, from how traffic lights coordinate to how much tax you gotta pay each year.

So all this geeky, nerdy stuff should be put to good use, o no?

Enter Mexican geographer Baruch Sangines, a true wizard when it comes to generating great data visualizations.

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This young scientist is the Chief Data Scientist at a company called Jetty, and he does some pretty groundbreaking research on pressing social issues such as housing and poverty.

His LinkedIn profile is pretty impressive: “Experience in public and private sector with skills to analyze and visualize data related to: commuting, transit, housing, tourism, migration, security, and urban environment. Expert in territorial analysis and passionate about the cartography and the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to visualize small and big data”. Wow. hold your horses, Einstein! He is a proud graduate of Mexico’s National University and has Master’s Degree on Demographics and Statistics. 

So why did he go viral on Mexican social media in the past few days? We mean, science is sexy but not viral sexy (sadly!). All because of this map:

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Credit: @datavizero / Twitter

No, it is not a visualization of WiFi points in Mexico. No, it is not a rendition of cartel activity. No, it is not a highlight of the areas in which development runs at a faster pace. It is about something much, much more relevant to everyday life in Mexico lindo y querido. Any guesses?

Nothing is more important than a delicious taco when you most need it! 

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Credit: The Splendid Table

Just look at that tortilla, a bit crispy, a bit soft… and that perfectly marinated meat… 

Well, Baruch created a visualization of taco stands in Mexico and nos ponemos de pie ante tal maravilla! 

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Baruch called this visualization Taco Universe, and it showcases all the registered taco stands and shops in the country. We can clearly see that there is a high concentration of taco shrines in the capital Mexico City, and that hotspots like Cancun and Cabo are also highlighted, perhaps thanks to gringo tourism craving fish tacos. The scientists used the database Directorio Estadístico Nacional de Unidades Económicas (Denue) (Statistical National Directory of Economic Units) from the federal census agency INEGI. The map highlights how taco culture is primarily based in the center of the country, with local varieties such as Puebla’s tacos arabes (a shawarma like type) increasing the traffic in that area. 

But it is important to note that many taco stands are not accounted for (and that is not this scientist’s fault).

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Thousands of Mexicans subsist in an informal economy with businesses that are not registered and pay no taxes. Among these businesses, mobile taco stands reign supreme. There are hundreds of taco stands all around the country that are set up informally. Sometimes you can find the most delicious tacos there! You can also find informal vendors selling tacos de canasta, a variety that is literally carried in a basket. This map does not take these informal enterprises into account, even though they are key to Mexico’s taco culinary tradition. 

So you are curious about tacos de canasta now, aren’t you? 

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Well, just look at these crispy, sweaty, fat-rich babes. Tacos de canasta are filled with guisados or stews, or with refried beans. We are almost sure that Baruch did not include them in his map, but we can forgive him for making us crave unos taquitos (we bet you are calling your comadres or compas right now to hit the taco stand) and showing us how Mexico is a country that despite its many challenges still finds time to live up to the old adage: barriga llena, corazon contento. 

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Latin America Truly Is A Food Oasis And Here Are Some Of The Best Dishes

Culture

Latin America Truly Is A Food Oasis And Here Are Some Of The Best Dishes

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Known for fresh ingredients, vibrant flavors, and colorful presentation, Latin American food is popular with foodies all around the world. While staple dishes like enchiladas and quesadillas can be found in restaurants in nearly any nation, there are countless other dishes that better represent the culture and tastes of the region’s culture. Keep reading to learn some of the very best foods from countries throughout Latin America.

Empanada

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A popular Latin American snack or street food that’s now easy to find worldwide are empanadas. These treats can be savory or sweet. They feature a pastry pocket that’s filled with meat, cheese, vegetables, fruits, or huitlacoche, a corn mixture popular in Mexico. These pastry pockets are then baked or fried.

Pabellon Criollo

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While not official, many consider this meal to be the national dish of Peru, though it’s also popular throughout Latin America. It features rice stewed with black beans and shredded beef. Traditionally eaten at lunchtime, it is usually served with fried plantains, also called tajadas, as well as a fried egg.

Tamal

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This traditional dish traces its roots back hundreds of years in Latin America. It starts with masa, which is a starchy dough made from corn. Then, other ingredients, like meat, cheese, vegetables, chilies, or even fruit are added. Finally, the concoction is wrapped in banana leaves or corn husks and either steamed or boiled.

Churrasco

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If you’ve ever been lucky enough to dine at a Brazilian grill, you’ve likely heard of churrasco. While not a singular dish, the term “churrasco” actually refers to beef or even other types of grilled meat. It’s also not exclusive to Brazil. You’ll find this name on menus in a number of other countries, including Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Columbia, Guatemala, and more.

Ropa Vieja

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The term “ropa vieja” translates to “old clothes.” This traditional Cuban dish gets its name from the shredded beef’s resemblance to a pile of torn old rags. The beef is seasoned with sofrito, which includes a mix of sauteed onions, garlic, tomatoes, and green peppers. This dish is usually served on top of black beans and rice, and may also come with a side of fried plantains.

Feijoada

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This traditional dish features a main meat, usually beef or pork, that is cooked in a stew of black beans. This dish is usually served with rice, vegetables, and assorted sausages such as churico, farinheira, or morcela. It may also come with other side dishes to make a full meal. One popular side dish for feijoada is farofai, which is toasted manioc flour.

Chipa

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Often served as a side dish or even a breakfast food, a chipa is a small baked roll that is cheese flavored. While you’ll find chipas in a number of Latin American cities, Coronel Bogado in Paraguay is considered the National Capital of the Chipa.

Mole

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One of the most popular types of mole is mole poblano. In fact, many people consider it to be Mexico’s national dish. It features more than 20 ingredients, including notable additions like chili and chocolate. In Mexico, you’ll often find this dish served around the holidays and for special occasions. It’s usually poured over turkey, though it can be served over any number of different dishes.

Ceviche

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Ceviche is so popular in Peru that there’s even a national holiday dedicated to it; Dia Nacional del Cebiche. You’ll also find this dish served in Mexico, Ecuador, Chile, and other countries throughout Latin and South America, as well as throughout the Caribbean.

Ceviche features raw fish that has been cured in the juice of key limes or bitter oranges. It is then mixed with chili peppers and onion, and flavored with salt and pepper. Traditionally served in a small glass, it may also be served with avocado, corn, or other toppings.

Tostones

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While different nations give them different names, tostones are a popular snack throughout Latin American. They are fried plantains, often sliced thin like potato chips and seasoned with salt or other spices.

Mofongo

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Another popular dish featuring fried plantains is mofongo. For this meal, fried plantains are mashed and a variety of seasonings and other ingredients, like onion and salt, are added.

Bandeja Paisa

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The term “bandeja paisa” actually refers more to the type of dish rather than to the ingredients themselves. A bandeja paisa is a large meal served on a platter and featuring several traditional dishes and side dishes.

Some popular items you might find in a bandeja paisa are white rice, red beans cooked with pork, fried eggs, plantains, chorizo, and avocado. You might also find other traditional dishes, like carne molida, which is a type of ground meat, arepa, a Latin American flatbread, and morcilla, a black pudding.

Tequenos

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Originally hailing from Venezuela, tequenos are fried cheese sticks made by wrapping bread dough around chunks of queso blanco. These treats are now a popular snack or street food in a number of nations.

Curanto

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Curanto may be made with a variety of types of shellfish and meats, served with either potato pancakes or potato dumplings, and a mix of seasonal vegetables. Before the heated stones are added, this dish is covered with rhubarb leaves, then wet sacks, dirt, and grass. While this is the traditional way to cook this dish, other Latin and South American countries may also bake or otherwise roast curantos.

Asado

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Asado is a barbecue technique that starts with flank-cut beef ribs that are flavored with a number of spices. The beef is then cooked over a grill, also called a parilla, or more traditionally, over an open flame. Alongside the beef, you’ll also likely be served a variety of other meats, like chicken or cured sausages called embutidos, as well as sweet breads, grilled vegetables, and salad.

Brigadeiros

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This simple, yet tasty dessert originated in Brazil. It is made from condensed milk, cocoa powder, and butter, which is rolled into balls and covered in chocolate sprinkles.

Encebollado

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The word “encebollado” actually translates to “cooked with onions.” This Ecuadorian dish, sometimes called the country’s national dish, is a fish stew cooked with fresh tomatoes, coriander leaves, and a variety of spices for a flavorful, hearty meal. It is usually served with boiled cassava or yucca, as well as pickled red onion rings.

Tacos

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This is one Mexican staple that you’ll not only find in every Spanish-speaking nation but also around the world. The ingredients and varieties are truly endless. Traditional versions often feature corn tortillas and grilled meats such as beef or pork, though you’ll also find plenty of seafood and vegetable options as well.

Dulce de Leche

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Another popular dessert throughout Latin America is dulce de leche. It is made by slowly heating condensed milk and may be served on its own or poured over other desserts such as cake.

Antichuchos

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Served from street carts and market stalls, antichuchos are inexpensive skewers of meat that were originally developed in the Andes Mountains. The meat is often marinated in vinegar and topped with spices like cumin, garlic, and pepper.

Churros

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Known around the world as a sweet, easy to eat as a snack, churros are fried pieces of dough rolled in cinnamon and sugar. The Latin American version is often larger and thicker and is filled with a sweet filling, such as dulce de leche or fruit jams.

READ: These Substitutes Make Our Favorite Latino Foods Healthy, Delicious, Satisfying, And Good For You

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