Of all the hyper-local Iowan foods I’ve had, Walking Tacos are my absolute favorite. Even though they are made with Doritos, they are (at least in practice) a seasonal food. And I’ve been dying to have some all summer.
Like most regional foods in the Midwest, people who have grown up eating Walking Tacos generally have no idea that they don’t eat this in other parts of the country. I told my ten-year-old niece that I had never had a Walking Taco until just a couple of years ago. And she didn’t believe me. (In her defense, I tell her a lot of tall tales, particularly when it comes to food, so I have already instilled in her a general propensity to disbelieve me)
I may post a recipe later on, but Walking Tacos are ridiculously simple. They are so simple and also so loved by children that my sister-in-law complained about how often she’s been having them at parties and get-togethers this summer. She says she’s tired of them. And that just boggles my mind. I suppose one can get tired of any delicacy.
A Walking Taco is essentially the same as a regular American taco. It gets ground beef browned with taco seasoning, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sour cream, and shredded cheddar cheese. Taco sauce, salsa, and chopped onions are optional.
But the defining part of the Walking Taco is it’s use of Nacho Cheese Doritos. You take a small bag – not the extra-large 99 cent kind you get from the gas station, but the smaller kid-size bag you get in a multipack from the grocery store.
You take a bag, crush the Doritos inside, open the bag, and then dump the taco ingredients inside. This gets served with a fork and you eat it right out of the bag.
Awesome, right? I know.
The chips must be Nacho Cheese flavored. and they must be Doritos. Although you can substitute generic nacho cheese flavored chips in other Midwest recipes that call for Doritos, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Walking Tacos in anything other than that magnificent red bag. I’m thinking about making Walking Tacos using Cool Ranch Doritos someday. It will either be received magnificently, or I will get lambasted for breaking with tradition.
Speaking of tradition, you traditionally don’t open the bag from the top. Rather, you turn the bag to its side and slice it open with scissors. My brother-in-law will back me up on that.
I think that you are supposed to go through the extra effort of this step because the small-sized doritos bag is not exactly a square, and by turning it on its side, the distance one has to dig the fork inside the bag is minimized, thus facilitating faster/easier Walking Taco consumption. Or maybe it just makes it look more taco-like.
Thank you to my mother-in-law for making these.