Everybody loves carne al pastor but not everyone knows the origins of its name. Come with us as we take a closer look at the story of this delicious dish.
Why Is Carne al Pastor Called Like That?
“Carne al pastor” means literally “meat shepherd style.” While the origins of the term are still unclear, there are two popular theories.
Some believe that the term “al pastor” was adopted because shepherds in the state of Puebla (central Mexico) liked this cooking method.
Another theory is that “al pastor” refers to the lamb meat originally used to make these tacos. Lambs are young sheep, so the connection with shepherds would make sense, even if today’s al pastor is made with pork meat.
“Al pastor” is the most popular name for this dish. However, in Northern states like Nuevo Leon al pastor is also known as “tacos de trompo,” or “spinning top tacos,” due to the shape of the meat on the spit.
The Origins of Carne al Pastor
Regardless of the true origins of the name, historians agree that carne al pastor was created by Lebanese immigrants who arrived in Puebla in the early 20th century.
This puts carne al pastor in the same family tree as other similar Middle Eastern and Greek meat dishes like shawarma, doner, and gyro.
What carne al pastor and these dishes have in common is that in all cases the meat is seasoned and then cooked on a rotating vertical spit.
So there you have it: what’s arguably Mexico’s most famous taco has an Arab soul!
More Interesting Facts About Mexican Food
We love all the curious facts that surround authentic Mexican food. If you are hungry for more stories, then check out these previous posts:
- What is the best taco topping?
- 5 Words Mexicans use to talk about food
- Why are refried beans called like that?
- Why Are chili peppers so important in Mexican cuisine
- Who invented guacamole?
Enjoy Authentic Mexican Food at El Pollo Norteño!
If what you want is Authentic Mexican food in Anaheim, California, El Pollo Norteño is the place to go.
Visit today any of our four locations (Anaheim, Santa Ana, and Garden Grove), order online, get in touch through Facebook, or call 866-MI-POLLO to enjoy our authentic Mexican dishes: amazing chicken grilled to perfection over real Mesquite charcoal, caldo de pollo, flan, carnitas, carne asada, and more!