‘Birria’ tacos gaining popularity in New Mexico as latest food trend

Hispanic Heritage Month

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The latest taco craze has hit the Albuquerque metro. Restaurant owners say many of their customers have never heard of birria tacos but they’ve quickly become a best-selling item.

If you’ve scrolled through social media, chances are, you’ve seen someone share a video of people dipping tacos. Angelo Orona runs a popular Facebook group, Tacos of New Mexico. He says birria became a hit after people began sharing those videos online.

“It’s very photogenic. When you see people consuming and eating birria, they’re typically dipping it in this really savory sauce and it just looks great,” said Orona. “Birria is a dish that was traditionally made in southern Mexico.”

The tacos are made up of shredded meat — usually beef in the United States and lamb or goat meat in Mexico — and are served with a consommé broth, usually filled with spices and cilantro. Orona says the dish was even featured on a recent Netflix docu-series, “Taco Chronicles.”

“I think that this trend has caught on, especially in the Southwest,” said Orona. “We’ve seen a huge interest in birria over the last six or eight months and I think that coincides with the fact that Netflix had a documentary regarding different types of tacos in Mexican culture.”

Edgar Cuvas, owner of food truck Lonchera Forasteros, says birria quickly became one of their best-selling items. Cuvas says he even serves birria up with ramen noodles.

“They do awesome,” said Cuvas. “We started doing this a month ago and people love it.” The dish is also popping up at other Albuquerque food spots. Duke City Taco and Birrieria y Tacos Alex Tijuana Style both list birria items on their menus, as well as Tacos la Mordida and Changos.

“You can eat your quesadilla and birria, dip it in the juice and make a different taste. It tastes better like that,” said Cuvas. “I like to sell this food and people will be happy with all of these dishes.”

As more people venture out, it’s a good time to support small businesses during the pandemic. Orona says the tacos are giving people the chance to try something new.

“Tacos and taco culture is diverse and rich,” said Orona. “I would challenge anyone out there to step out of their box, try different types of tacos when you go out.”

Birria is said to have originated in the Mexican state of Jalisco. The dish has become popular in recent years in Southern California and the Southwest.