Journalist José Ralat makes a living as a taco editor—but the job is more than deciding what makes a good taco.
As Texas Monthly’s new taco editor, Ralat will traverse the Lone Star State, trying out the many taquerias and restaurants making their mark on Mexican cuisine. But Ralat realizes his new position isn’t just about taco reviews—it’s about shifting the existing narratives around Mexican food and the culture.
“[A] lot of people will love Mexican food, lot of people also hate Mexicans,” he stated. “For some reason, everyone wants a $2 taco. That’s racist. To expect that Mexican food should be cheap, but almost any other culture can have a high-end, fine-dining component. Any taqueria you walk into should automatically be charging you 50 cents more because that’s what it’s worth.”
Ralat, who was born in Puerto Rico and grew up in New York City, moved to Dallas with his family 10 years ago. In that time, he grew passionate about tacos, Mexican culture, and their significance to Southwestern identity. With his new position comes a larger platform and the opportunity to explore tacos beyond the tortillas, fillings, and toppings.
“I am lucky to have been adopted into this culture,” he said. “It is my son’s culture, it is my wife’s culture, and I do this at their privilege, I guess is that right—I hope more than anything that sharing the stories humanizes these people because they are people, just like you and me, and they work hard, just like you and me.”