History of fish tacos and taco deals in Toronto

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The original fusion taco

Due to the rise of social media, vacation photos, and incessant ads for flights and holiday packages, we sometimes think that travel is a recent phenomenon. But humans have been travelling, exploring, and migrating for thousands of years.

When we travel, we take along with us our knowledge, our cultures, and our food. Sometimes it’s a comforting candy that reminds us of home, and sometimes it’s recipes from where we came from. As we share these things with other people, our food grows and adapts to the resources of different places. It evolves over and over with every person who makes it. So, it should come as no surprise that some of our favourite food adaptations may not have been invented in the place that we thought that they did.

fish taco

Fish tacos, the kind that’s filled with delicious and crispy, breaded fish, are actually an Mexican-Asian fusion dish. The dish was invented in Baja California, Mexico; roots that make sense, considering you can’t be more than 75 kilometers from a body of water when you’re in Baja California.

The first record of Asian immigrants in Mexico was in 1635, when Spain brought over slaves from the then Spanish-ruled Philippines. Later, in the 1930's, Chinese immigrants arrived and prodominantly occupied the banking and wholesale commerce space. Just as migrants today love to bring over their own sauces, spices, and cooking style, the Chinese immigrants introduced to the Mexican locals the art of deep-frying - and so the Baja style fish taco was born!

Fun Baja fish taco facts

  • The reason I’m making the ‘Baja’ distinction is because originally, tacos were also filled with fish. They just weren’t battered and fried like they are today.
  • The Baja fish taco was invented in the 1950’s, making them about as old as the first Mr. Potato Head toys (1952).
  • There is an ongoing debate between residents of the Baja California cities of Ensenada and San Felipe over which city is the true birthplace of the Baja style fish taco.

Taco deals in Toronto

Like ourselves and our ancestors, the Baja fish taco has also found itself well-travelled. You can find them in almost all parts of the world, sometimes with local adaptations that continues to evolve the dish.

Hungry for tacos in Toronto? Dealiem has compiled several restaurants with great daily specials and happy hour deals that you can take advantage of.

La carnita
La Carnita - 780 Queen St. E, Toronto

"Creative tacos & craft beer served in an edgy space with graffiti-style murals & hip-hop soundtrack." - happy hour available at multiple locations including John st, College st, and Eglinton ave.

Happy Hour, Everyday 4-6pm
  • $5 fish tacos
  • $5 select beers and Margaritas

  • La Chingada
    La Chingada - 1242 Dundas St W, Toronto

    "Mexican Stree food (Tacos, tortas & churros) dished out in a casual space adorned with vibrant, graffiti-style murals."

    Happy Hour, Everyday 4-7pm
  • $5 tacos, chips & guac, tostadas
  • 1/2 off Margaritas

  • King taps
    King Taps - 100 King St. W

    "Multi-level beerhall with 50 beers on tap, pub staples, sports & outdoor seating."

    Happy Hour, Daily 2-5pm, Sun-Thurs 9-close
  • $14 tacos x 3
  • $6 house wines
  • $5 King Taps Pale Ale

  • Anejo Mexican
    Anejo Mexican Restaurant - 600 King St W, Toronto

    "Warm, welcoming spaces, colourful art, fresh-made food - and of course, tequila & tacos." Check out their Donmills location for those of you further up north.

    Happy Hour, Everyday 3-5pm, after 10pm
  • $3 tacos
  • 1/2 off tequila

  • Craft Beer Market
    Craft Beer Market - 1 Adelaide St. E

    "Restaurant, bar, and beer garden with happy hour food and drink specials, and too many deals to list."

    Happy Hour, Mon-Saturday 2-5pm, 9pm-close, All day Sunday
  • $4.50 fish taco
  • $5.50 select beers (12oz), $6 sangria (5oz)

  • Dive Shop Toronto
    Dive Shop - 1036 Gerrard St E, Toronto

    "Beach vibes, live music, spinning DJs, an amazing backyard oasis, and oh... a wack load of $5 happy hour deals."

    Happy Hour, Daily 5-7pm
  • $5 tacos
  • $5 fries or nacho Supreme $5 Dive Sliders
  • $5 Poutine, $5 Dive Sliders, $5 Chips, Guac & Salsa

  • Fox on John
    Fox on John - 106 John St, Toronto

    "Spacious, casual alehouse offering draft beer & hearty pub grub, plus pool tables."

  • $4 tacos
  • $4 tequila

  • Union Social
    Union Social - 21 St Clair Ave W, Toronto

    "Cozy and lively neighbourhood joint with daily food specials."

    Tuesday, 2-5pm, 8pm-close
  • $8 tacos
  • $4.5 Sleeman Beers

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    Charlie L.

    Charlie L.

    Technical writer, Honours Bachelors in History, and Ph.D in finding sweet deals and eating tasty food.

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