Paco’s Tacos Restaurant
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Taco Time, Mexican Traditions at Paco’s Tacos

Discover a tasty Mexican tradition, a hearty meal of tacos in Paco’s Tacos, our family-friendly restaurant at The Royal Islander in Cancun. A tortilla with a delicious filling that ranges from grilled steak or shrimp to stewed chicken or pork, the taco is Mexico’s most famous antojito or finger food. Order it in a variety of combinations, all are delicious.

The Paco’s Tacos menu is a veritable celebration of the art of eating tacos. First, choose your favorites from a selection that includes tender beef, tacos al pastor (marinated pork topped with fresh pineapple, onion and coriander), carnitas or fried pork, chicken, fish, shrimp, cheese and vegetable fillings. Then drizzle your tacos with chili sauce and add a spoonful of guacamole and you are ready to tuck in!

When you are ready for your meal at Paco’s Tacos or indeed any of the other Royal Resorts restaurants, Captain’s Cove and Hacienda Sisal, download the Royal Food App from the iTunes store and book your table online.

There’s much more on the Paco’s Tacos menu besides tacos, how about fajitas, enchiladas, burritos, quesadillas, chimichangas, tortas (filled rolls), or nachos? There are also crispy hard shell tacos if you are homesick for the Tex-Mex version. If you are with friends, the Plato del Luchador (Warrior’s Platter) is a taco selection that’s perfect for sharing.

Start your meal with lime or black bean soup or the soup of the day. Try the alambres or skewers or the queso fundido or melted cheese served in a traditional molcajete or volcanic stone mortar. Vegetarian dishes feature tender nopales or cactus pads and Portobello mushrooms. Be sure to order a Mexican craft beer or an agua fresca or refreshing fruit-based drink to go with your lunch.

The ambiance at Paco’s Tacos is fun and the décor colorful. Stars from the golden age of Mexican cinema, such as Maria Felix, Pedro Infante and Jorge Negrete share wall space with famous artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera and masked lucha libre wrestlers. In addition to personalities from Mexican history and culture, there’s folk art and humorous sayings associated with cuisine. If you are not sure how to eat your taco, look at the chart showing diners how to hold it correctly!

Paco’s Tacos is on the second floor of the Cayo Largo building at The Royal Islander. Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

How to Eat a Taco
Believe it or not, there is an art to making Mexico’s famous finger food! Take a warm corn tortilla from the basket – your Mexican hosts will tell you never to take the top tortilla – and place it on your plate. Put a spoonful of the filling in the center and spread evenly. This is the only time you’ll need to use your knife and fork as tacos are eaten by hand.

Not sure what to have in your tacos? Go for chopped grilled steak, fish or shrimp, chicken or vegetables. Chorizo and potato and rajas con crema, which are mild poblano chilies in a cream and melted cheese sauce are also tasty. Add guacamole, pico de gallo or your choice of chili sauce (mild to fiery habanero chili from the Yucatan), a sprinkling of salt and lime juice. Roll the tortilla up like a pancake or fold it and you have a taco.

True connoisseurs will tell you to hold the taco with your index finger and thumb and lean over the plate to avoid being splashed as the juice drips out. They say that your head should be at an angle of 45˚ and your elbow at 90˚ approximately. You can balance tacos dorados on a fork to stop them getting soggy as you add salsa. After a couple of attempts you’ll have mastered taco making and we are sure that you will want to sample as many as possible. And don’t be embarrassed about licking your fingers after eating tacos, everyone does it!

Corn or Flour Tortillas?
Whether to order corn or flour tortillas, that is the question. Corn tortillas are used to make tacos throughout Mexico, but flour tortillas are also popular in the north of the country. You can always request flour tortillas if you prefer them.

Tacos Dorados
Other variations on the taco theme include tacos dorados or flautas, which are pre-rolled tacos of shredded beef or chicken that are deep-fried and served on a bed of chopped lettuce, crumbled cheese, chili sauce and sour cream. In northern Mexico, they are often served with a broth containing zucchini, tomato and carrot, pickled red onion and crumbly white cheese.
Other varieties of taco are steamed and known as tacos sudados or tacos de canasta.

A Taco Tour of Mexico
After one meal at Paco’s Tacos, you’ll be ready to work through the whole menu and try all the tasty fillings. And if you are going to travel elsewhere in Mexico, there are even more to sample. While some staple ingredients such as grilled beef, chicken, marinated pastor-style pork and guisos or stews are served in tacos throughout the country, each region has its own specialties. Here’s a quick guide to some of them.

• Yucatan: Cochinita pibil (marinated pork baked in banana leaves in a cooking pit until tender), lechón or suckling pig, salpicon or shredded beef with lettuce and radish, tikinxic (marinated grilled fish), longaniza or Valladolid sausage

• Baja California Norte: Shrimp or fish in batter served with shredded cabbage, onion, chipotle mayonnaise and pico de gallo, lobster burritos with refried beans, pico de gallo and rice

• Mexico City: Tacos al pastor, picadillo or stewed ground beef, huitlacoche or corn mushroom with corn kernels, squash blossoms, pork or beef offal, chicharron or pork rind in a green tomatillo sauce, chorizo, nopalitos

• Michoacan: Carnitas, marinated fried pork

El Bajio: Barbacoa (slow-cooked marinated lamb, pork and goat cooked in maguey leaves), nopalitos or tender cactus pads

• Sonora and Chihuahua: Chargrilled steak and pork

• Sinaloa: Seafood, machaca or dried beef, chilorio or stewed pork, and tacos dorados

• Nuevo León: Tacos de cabrito (roast goat)

• Puebla: Chicken or turkey in mole, a smooth sauce made from chocolate, chili, ground spices and sesame seeds, tinga or braised chicken or beef

• Oaxaca: In addition to chicken mole, cecina or tasajo beef, other traditional Oaxacan taco staples include cheese and squash flowers…and insects! Chapulines or toasted grasshoppers and fried maguey worms are a local delicacy

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