Takoraisu: The Delicious Fusion of Japanese and Mexican Cuisines

It’s a weird thought combining tacos and rice to create a delicious marriage of two culinary favorites and end up with something so unique and delicious. Taco rice truly embodies fusion cuisine.

A taco is a traditional Mexican dish made from a wheat or corn tortilla that is either soft or crunchy, with fillings like chicken, beef, pork, seafood, vegetables, beans, and cheese. The tortilla is folded or rolled so as to eat it like a sandwich. Garnishes like avocado, salsa, cilantro, guacamole, lettuce, and onions add to the flavor and make the taco even more irresistible.

The taco predates the arrival of Europeans in Mexico.  Anthropological evidence indicates that indigenous people who lived in the lake region of the Valley of Mexico already ate tacos filled with tiny fish.

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Taco rice (タコライス takoraisu) is an Okinawan dish made of taco-flavored ground beef, and oftentimes, shredded cheese, lettuce, tomato and salsa, served on top of rice. Takoraisu is a favorite among many Okinawans and is often served for school lunches.

Taco rice. | t-mizo

Taco rice was created by Matsuzo Gibo in 1984 and was initially served at two of his cafes, King Tacos and Parlor Senri, located close to the main gate of Camp Hansen, the U.S. Marine Corps Base in Kin, Okinawa. Needless to say, takoraisu is a favorite dish among military personnel stationed in Okinawa. Taco rice is so popular that in 1996, KFC included it in their menu in all the branches in Japan. Yoshinoya, a popular Japanese gyudon fast food chain, also added taco rice to their menu in their branches in Okinawa since 2004.

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What makes taco rice Japanese is that, aside from the Tex-Mex flavor, mirin, sake, and soy sauce are added. This gives it the extra flavor that makes takoraisu even tastier. Sometimes it can be served with rice in a tortilla roll.

Taco rice. | goodmami

Another variant of the dish is called “taco rice ball” where all the usual ingredients like meat, rice, and cheese are combined, dipped in batter, deep fried then served with salsa or tomato ketchup. Oishi!