Fajitas? Tacos? Almost everyone in the US has had one, or at least shared a table with someone enjoying these delectable foods. Generally speaking, they're almost exactly the same thing, right? Wrong. Most of the confusion surrounding the two lies within the language itself. You wouldn't say that avocados and guacamole are the same, would you? Of course not. One is a party favor and the other is the whole fiesta. The same idea applies to the "differences" between fajitas vs tacos. These dishes might seem similar at first, but upon closer inspection they're actually quite different. 

What's a Fajita?

'Fajita' is a variation of the Spanish word Faja, which means belt or girdle. The Tex-Mex dish we enjoy today was popularized in the 1970s, but it's thought that the original version of fajitas was created in the 1930s to 1940s. The word 'fajita' is actually a reference to the type of meat traditionally used in the assembly of the dish—carne asada, or skirt steak.

This tough cut of meat is sliced against the grain, grilled, and accompanied by grilled vegetables with flour or corn tortillas on the side. The consumer then happily piles their tortillas with the fajita fixings. Nowadays, there are endless fajita variations, including chicken fajitas, seafood fajitas, and even vegan fajitas

What's a Taco?

tacos, fish
Reilly Farrell

Unlike fajitas, tacos are a traditional Mexican dish that dates so far back in time that even food historians are skeptical about its origins. Nevertheless, these wonderful soft (or hard shelled) delights are usually eaten without utensils and are filled with all sorts of goodies like seafood, chicken, pork, or beef. Tacos are usually accompanied by generous portions of lettuce, tomato, cilantro, jalapeño, and onions that are diced fine and assembled with your choice of protein prior to serving. 

#SpoonTip: Homemade corn tortillas made from finely ground maize are traditionally served in authentic Mexican restaurants, as opposed to flour tortillas.

A few traditional tacos you should try are: tacos al pastor (pork tacos), tacos de pescado (seafood tacos), and tacos sudados ("sweaty" or steamed tacos).

Although tacos and fajitas seem similar on paper, they're actually quite different dishes. The important thing now is to explore all that the world of fajitas and tacos have to offer (including vegan options). At the end of the day, what everyone should be saying is, "¿Por que no los dos?" Why don't we just have both?