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Ordering Tacos and Chalupas in Spain

Caribean company

First it was Berlin getting real tacos, now it’s Paris. Soon, all of the European capitals will be rife with corn tortillas and salsa (and carrying on the fine tradition of websites that don’t do anything).

The Caribean Company, serving “ensaladas exoticas” and peculiar spelling, was in the mini mall only one block from my apartment in San Sebastián. I couldn’t justify a visit when only staying in town for one week. A few more days, though, and I would’ve caved– if only to see if they called tacos tacos.

Most of us know that tortillas are eggy potato omelets in Spain. I can deal with that. Tacos, it turns out, mean something very different, though.


Cross-sectioned slices of octopus tentacles are called tacos.

Borda berri taco de bacalao

This, a bacalao-based pintxo, is called a taco.

Best I can gather is that taco in Spain’s Spanish is akin to a plug.

Bergara txalupa & croquetas

Wait till Taco Bell finds out that the mushroom and langoustine fritter on the left is a txalupa, a.k.a. chalupa.

Naval museum

I also saw a chalupa in San Sebastián’s Naval Museum (my attempt at squeezing in culture–cheap, senior citizen culture–on the last day). It’s just Spanish for a small wooden boat, which isn't what's pictured on the ticket above.

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