If Netflix’s taco crawl through Mexico left you wanting more, another round is on its way. On Sept. 15, the food documentary series Taco Chronicles returns for a second season. This time, with an all-new entourage of tacos which, through characterized voice-overs, share their stories and boast about what makes them beloved members of their hometowns.
Just like the series’ first season, each 30-min. episode travels through Mexico, the Southwestern U.S., and Japan to highlight standout taquerias that specialize in various taco styles. Of course, it wouldn’t be a true follow-up season without a gratuitous amount of food porn packed into each episode.
From battered mahi mahi bubbling in oil at Baja’s fish taco stands to dripping birria tacos before a soccer game at Guadalajara’s legendary Estadio Jalisco, Director Carlos Correa’s camera captures loads of mouth-watering footage. Expect shot after shot of flames licking at meats, splashes of fresh salsa landing on tortillas, and intimate glimpses at the communities around each taco spot.
Although its focus is on tacos, season two of Taco Chronicles truly shines through its character features. Portrayed by a narrator, each taco has a personality based on its day to day lifestyle and history. Mexico City’s taco de suadero—made with the fatty muscle cap which covers a steer’s rib—featured in episode one, is a quick-tongued nighthawk who enjoys rowdy banter with the guys after a night of drinking.
It fancies itself a working class hero due to its presence in the Mexican capital’s barrios and its affordability. Meanwhile the cochinita pibil taco is portrayed as a steward of the Yucatan Peninsula’s culinary traditions—specifically, the Maya civilization’s tradition of cooking in earth ovens thousands of years ago. The personified cochinita pibil taco speaks in a very warm voice, reminiscent of the elder women who keep this craft alive, while dropping bombas yucatecas, the region’s folk rhymes, along the way.
Rather than have a historian dryly recount the tacos’ histories, the characterizations also make each backstory feel alive. Regional lingo and papercraft animations create a mix that is equal parts character development and taco history lesson.
In episode three, which highlights Northeast Mexico’s tacos de cabrito—made with goat kid flat roasted over coals—a norteño cowboy voice looks back on how goats from modern-day Iran arrived in Mexico. The tale shows us how these goats first landed in Spain during the Iberian peninsula’s Moor period and were then brought across the Atlantic by Spanish expeditions into Mexico.
Despite their characterizations, the tacos don’t hog the spotlight. A supporting cast composed of everyday people also share how their experiences shape the stories of these tacos, as well. Cookouts involving cabrito, for example, are treated as a form of communion among family and friends in Monterrey who gather around the coals with cold beers in hand.
Similarly, we see the buzz that surrounds tacos de suadero stands at 3 a.m., where tipsy crowds on their way home from the bar make one final stop for the night. Here we see how taqueros sling their specialty cut to patrons, help them sober down, talk out some problems, and keep them entertained through their quick knife work and even quicker wit. While they might be dealing with patrons other eateries would avoid, these taqueros thrive in this late-night scenario.
As much as we all miss hitting up our favorite taqueria for a quick midday lunch, or any time really, the second season of Taco Chronicles manages to capture everything that makes the taco such a special meal.
Season two of Taco Chronicles launches September 15 on Netflix.
Update, Sept. 15 at 10:00 a.m. ET: The director of this season was updated from Carlos Perez (SSN 1) to Carlos Correa.