Most customers dining for the first time in a Mexican or Tex-Mex restaurant experience confusion when choosing between ordering fajitas or tacos. The confusion probably lies in the fact that descriptions for fajitas and tacos have large similarities; grilled meat, served with vegetables, tacos and choice of toppings.
When one gets into the nitty gritty aspects of these Mexican cuisines, one will get to understand that there are notable differences.
What Makes Fajitas Different from Tacos?
First off, the term fajita actually refers to the marinated grilled meat served to fill up tacos or tortillas. When translated, “fajita” is the diminutive term for the word “faja,” which means a sash, belt, strip or band. That being the case fajita literally means “little band;” if to describe the way a slab of meat is cut, it denotes into little strips. As a taco filling, the strips of grilled meat are mixed with onions and peppers that are likewise cut into strips after being grilled. This also denotes that one can have a taco with fajita filling.
Traditionally, Mexicans use “carne asada,” also known as the skirt steak, which is the meat part that is cut or trimmed from the boneless section of a cow’s diaphragm muscle. Skirt steak used to be the original choice of fajita beef filling because back then, it was the cheapest cut of beef. Modern fajitas are now served with grilled chicken strips, and are also very popular.
Tacos on the other hand are basically the version of sandwiches in Mexico but filled with finely chopped or ground meat, seasoned mixed with of a tortilla filled with seasoned and cooked finely chopped or ground meat, mixed chopped raw tomatoes and lettuce. The filled tortilla is then folded over and served with a topping, such as salsa, guacamole, pico de gallo, or sour cream and/or cheese. The word taco in Mexican Spanish, means stuffing or filling. In authentic Mexican cuisine
Moreover, whether used for fajitas or for tacos, authentic Mexican flour tortillas are soft and do not come as pre-folded over hard taco shells. Although most Mexican cook their tortillas they do so by adding oil, but not to toast them to a crisp.
Difference on How Fajitas and Tacos are Served
Mexican restaurants serve fajitas still sizzling in a cast iron skillet placed in a wooden platter, while the tortillas are served in separate platter/s along with a selection of different toppings. Unlike tacos that are brought to the table in ready to eat servings, customer fill up their own servings of tortillas.