National Crunchy Taco Day
annually on March 21st (since 2012)
Crunchy tacos—tacos with a crispy, corn shell that are also known as hard-shell tacos or crispy tacos—are savored today on National Crunchy Taco Day. Crunchy tacos are commonly stuffed with meat—usually seasoned ground beef—and with ingredients such as cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, onion, sour cream, salsa, and guacamole. They can be found in local restaurants and fast food chains and can be made from kits found in grocery stores. Some restaurants observe National Crunchy Taco Day. For example, Taco John's has given out their crispy beef tacos for free on the day.
Crunchy or hard taco shells were invented in Mexico sometime after the creation of the soft corn shell variety, the traditional tortilla of that country. Crunchy shells are soft shells fried in a U shape. They may be called tacos dorados, which means "golden tacos" in Spanish. The first reference to hard-shell tacos was in the early 1890s, and by the early twentieth century they were found in Mexican-American communities in the United States. California Mexican-Spanish Cookbook by Bertha Haffner Ginger, published in 1914, had the first American recipe for crunchy tacos. Machines for making crunchy tacos at home were manufactured in the next few decades.
Crunchy tacos started appearing on fast food menus in the 1950s, and it was Taco Bell that really popularized them. Gene Bell had sold them at his Taco Tia and El Taco restaurants in the mid-1950s, after seeing them sold with success at Mitla Cafe, a nearby restaurant owned by Lucia and Salvador Rodriguez. Gene Bell opened the first Taco Bell in San Bernardino, on March 21, 1962, which is the date on which National Crunchy Taco Day is held each year. From the outset, crunchy tacos were on the menu instead of soft tacos. Today, on National Crunchy Taco Day, these and all crunchy tacos are enjoyed!
How to Observe National Crunchy Taco Day
- Fry your own crunchy taco shells, or buy crunchy shells at a store, and use them to build your own tacos.
- Enjoy some crunchy tacos at Taco Bell.
- Have crunchy tacos at a restaurant that fries their own crunchy taco shells.
- Check for any restaurants offering deals on tacos for National Crunchy Taco Day.
- Watch Taco Chronicles.
- Read Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America.