This is an article I wrote for my chat group a couple of years ago, but I figure a good story is worth telling again.
If you´re going to blend in and assimilate with the natives you need to know the proper proceedure for selecting a street taco stand.
First of all in general, the more people at the taco stand the better the salsa is. There should be at least one or two dogs prowling around waiting for a hand out.
And there should be a few famous “Mexican Biological H2O Fly Repellers” hanging from the roof, (these are clear plastic bags filled with water, I don´t understand the scientific principle involved here but Mexicans assure me that it will exorcise flies).
The Salsa, chopped onion and cilantro bowls should be well stocked and there should be plenty of sliced limes to douse your tacos with.Also there should be plenty of cold “chescos”, (soft drinks or soda pops, depending on where you´re from), and cold beer.
THE TAQUERO OR TACO MAKER
The taquero should be an adult preferably with a moustache to show that he´s a macho mexicano, skillful with a butcher knife at least enough so to chop the meat on the chopping block while with his left hand he turns the tortillas warming on the griddle.
He should have a good memory as to who ordered what while hurling out tacos to his forever hungry clientel. And sufficient administrative capabilities to give orders to his trainees, (at least one).
When making tacos al pastor (sheperds tacos), he should be skillful enough to slice a piece of pineapple from the top of the barbecue spit (this is similar to gyros in the U.S.),
and have it land on the meat taco in his hand as f it fell from heaven. Theres a taco stand on Avenida Juarez in Puebla where this act takes place every night.a real work of artistic merit. And the Taquero has to have a white apron (absolutely mandatory)
HELPERS OR TRAINEES
Trainees also have to wear a white apron but a moustache is optional, after all they´re only helpers.
Their only natural talent is to identify and scan pretty “mamacitas”. they should have nicknames like, “skinny”, or “chubby” or “brother in law”. Their basic reading in literature is comic books like “Archie”.
The main function of a trainee is to chop onions and cilantro and quarter limes. Also to open cokes or beer after being asked two or three times.
They know the menu by heart and their classic answer around closing time is “we´re out of beef tacos”.
Any gringo can be a serious consumer of tacos. Remember the taco is a vice that has no respect for sex, age or social status.
Before anything you should ask,” Whatcha got boss?” , Review the food and make your choice.
Make strategic moves by getting as close to the salsa bowls as possible at least arms length but not so far as to spill it on other patrons. A taco patron does not ask for forgiveness…he asks for more tacos…and only two at a time so they won´t grow cold