Tacos de Lengua: A Delicious Mexican Street Food Delight

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Tacos de Lengua, or Beef Tongue Tacos, are a beloved and traditional Mexican street food. Known for their unique texture and rich, beefy flavor, these tacos offer a delightful and satisfying experience for the palate. Although the idea of eating tongue might seem unusual to some, it is considered a delicacy in many cultures and is praised for its tenderness when prepared correctly. In Mexico, Tacos de Lengua are a popular choice at taquerías and street food stalls, often garnished with fresh cilantro, diced onions, and a squeeze of lime.


For the Tacos de Lengua:
  • 1 beef tongue (about 3-4 pounds)
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 12 small corn tortillas
For the Garnishes:
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup diced white onion
  • Lime wedges
  • Salsa of your choice


  1. Prepare the Beef Tongue:
    • Rinse the beef tongue thoroughly under cold water to remove any impurities.
    • Place the tongue in a large pot and cover with water. Add the halved onion, garlic cloves, bay leaves, salt, and black peppercorns.
    • Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer. Cover the pot and cook for about 2.5 to 3 hours, or until the tongue is tender and can be easily pierced with a fork.
  2. Peel and Slice the Tongue:
    • Once the tongue is cooked, remove it from the pot and let it cool slightly until it is comfortable to handle.
    • Using a sharp knife, carefully peel off the thick, outer skin of the tongue. Discard the skin.
    • Slice the tongue into thin strips or small cubes, depending on your preference for the taco filling.
  3. Warm the Tortillas:
    • Heat a dry skillet or griddle over medium-high heat.
    • Warm the corn tortillas one at a time, flipping them occasionally until they are pliable and slightly charred. Keep the tortillas warm by wrapping them in a clean kitchen towel or placing them in a tortilla warmer.
  4. Assemble the Tacos:
    • Place a generous amount of sliced or cubed tongue onto each warm tortilla.
    • Top with chopped fresh cilantro and diced white onion.
    • Serve with lime wedges and your favorite salsa on the side.

Tips for Serving

  • Flavor Enhancements: For extra flavor, sauté the sliced tongue in a little oil with minced garlic and diced onions before serving.
  • Taco Variations: Tacos de Lengua can be paired with a variety of toppings such as pickled jalapeños, radishes, avocado slices, or shredded lettuce.
  • Serving Size: Tacos de Lengua are typically small, so plan on serving 2-3 tacos per person as a main dish.


Tacos de Lengua offer a taste of authentic Mexican street food that is both flavorful and satisfying. The tender, beefy tongue pairs perfectly with the fresh cilantro, crunchy onions, and zesty lime, creating a harmonious blend of textures and flavors. While beef tongue might be an unconventional ingredient for some, it is a cherished component of traditional Mexican cuisine and is sure to impress those willing to try something new. Embrace the culinary adventure and savor the richness of Tacos de Lengua, a true delight for taco enthusiasts and food adventurers alike.

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Written by Robert Zelesky

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