The Real Reason Street Tacos Come With 2 Tortillas

There's nothing like a good street taco. Whether you are a fan of a juicy carne asada, find the hip and trendy al pastor more to your liking, or even like a crispy fish filling, street tacos are hard to beat. Tacos, in general, are a go-to meal option for many Americans. In fact, we consume over 4.5 billion tacos every year (via South Florida Reporter). And why wouldn't we? They are delicious, versatile, easy to eat on the go, and won't break the bank. 

Tacos are also easy to find. There are plenty of taquerias and taco trucks around — they are also called lonchera or lunchbox in Los Angeles (via Los Angeles Times). But before tacos were a culinary trend, "Tacos were a working class food served in the bustling barrios of Mexico City," explained Jeffrey Pilcher, Ph.D., author of the book Planet Taco (via Bespoke Post). Authentic Mexican street tacos are served in warm corn tortillas, and generally, there are always two of these babies wrapped around your filling of choice. 

But have you ever wondered why there are two corn tortillas? It might be comforting to learn you are not alone in your pondering.

Two tortillas make a street taco

Street tacos from a taco truck or taqueria are generally served on soft, warm corn tortillas, about the size of your hand, with two of these tortillas being standard practice, especially in Mexico (via Westword). But inquiring minds across the internet want to know why they are getting two corn tortillas when they order a single taco. 

It appears there are a couple of theories, the first being quite practical. Corn tortillas can tear easily, especially once you add a little sauce or moisture to them. The extra tortilla is protection, like "grocery store double-bagging" as a Chowhound user put it. The second tortilla ensures your taco doesn't fall apart in your hand. But it also has a second purpose. You may have noticed your taco is often over-filled, and some of the yummy meats, veggies, and sauce inevitable fall or drip off on your plate or paper wrapping. You can use the second tortilla to sop it all up. Pretty genius.

Still, there are some who believe the real reason street tacos come with two tortillas has to do with texture. Likening it to a flaky croissant, one Chowhound forum responder believes two corn tortillas stacked together make for a better bite than than if it were a single, thicker corn tortilla. And, still, another thinks it has to do with the "tortilla-to-filling ratio." Whatever the reason, we will happily eat two tortilla street tacos any time.