The Best Fusion Tacos In The US

The beloved taco is one of humankind's greatest culinary achievements. Versatile, packed full of flavor, and easy to eat, tacos originated in Mexico in the 18th century and can now be found in various styles on menus all around the globe (via Bespoke Post). What started as a simple and practical way for Mexican miners to chow down some lunch has evolved into countless cultural interpretations that embrace the general form and spirit of the taco, while also adding unique, regional twists that push its boundaries. Purists may scoff and dismiss these modern manifestations as blasphemous — but we prefer to keep an open mind and cheer on any act of culinary experimentation that opens up new doors to deliciousness. 

In a very real way, by harmoniously converging distinct cuisines into a single handheld dish, fusion tacos reflect our potential for collective union despite our differences — and in our book, that's something always worth celebrating. Whether they're tapping into the smoky and succulent world of Southern barbecue or inspired by the bold flavors of Korean cuisine, fusion tacos can successfully blend some of our favorite types of food in truly amazing ways. But with so many different fusion tacos out there these days, how should you know which ones are worth trying? That's where we come in. 

So kick back, get comfortable, and prepare to see some tradition-defying cuisine-bending in its highest and most delicious forms. Here are some of the best fusion tacos in America.

Nashville hot chicken taco

Not Not Tacos is a fusion taco joint in the Little Italy neighborhood of San Diego founded by culinary guru and YouTuber Sam the Cooking Guy (via Not Not Tacos). As it stands, the menu offers nearly a dozen different fusion tacos that span cuisines across the globe, ranging from a Korean short rib taco with ginger garlic soy sauce and Japanese breadcrumbs to a smoky pork taco with a scoop of creamy macaroni and cheese. But it's the incredible Nashville hot chicken tacos that are truly love at first bite.

The Nashville hot chicken taco comes with buttermilk brined fried chicken, homemade hot sauce, red cabbage slaw, and a thin pickle slice. The tortillas at Not Not Tacos are cooked fresh every day and custom-made locally for the restaurant. The fried chicken has a perfect crunch, yet the chicken inside is still tender and succulent. The homemade hot sauce adds some pleasant heat, while the pickle adds a touch of briny tang. Combined with the freshness of the red cabbage slaw, this taco successfully pulls off all the flavors we love from Nashville hot chicken.

BBQ pork belly taco

When the tasty worlds of Southern barbecue and tacos collide, you know you're in store for something exceptionally flavorful. Matt's BBQ Tacos in Portland, Oregon specializes in this particularly delicious intersection, and to much acclaim, having won awards from The Oregonian for Food Cart of the Year and a spot on Bon Appetit's list of hottest restaurants in the country (via Bon Appetit). After learning how to smoke meat in the land down under at a cowboy-themed restaurant, the owner of the project, Matt Vicedomini, opened up his own BBQ trailer — then followed that up with a barbecue taco truck.

The menu at Matt's BBQ tacos has a lot to offer, from breakfast tacos with cheesy scrambled eggs, guacamole, and tortilla chips to smoked brisket tacos. But one of the real stars of the menu is the barbecue sliced pork belly taco, which features smoked pork belly that's seared and glazed with barbecue sauce, and then dolloped with fresh guacamole and pickled red onions. To maximize taste and freshness, all of the tortillas are made to order and infused with rendered lard. When the smoky succulence of the glazed pork belly mixes with the barbecue sauce and guacamole along with the fresh pressed tortilla, it's clear that Southern barbecue and tacos are a match made in heaven.

Smoked brisket taco

The menu at 4 Rivers Smokehouse offers another masterfully crafted example of Southern barbecue fusion tacos. Like most barbecue joints, the menu at Four Rivers mostly centers on sandwiches and platters — but it does have a section that strays from tradition with a bunch of creative signature dishes, that includes a barbecue quesadilla and smoked barbecue tacos. 

There's a reason that Southern Living gave the Winter Park, Florida restaurant the bold distinction of being one of the South's best barbecue restaurants. Innovative menu creations like these are a part of the reason why 4 Rivers is at the top of its game. And anyone who's been to 4 Rivers knows that one of the most prized meats on the menu is the smoked brisket.

Aged for 30 days, rubbed with a special seasoning blend, and then smoked for 18 hours, the brisket at 4 Rivers is highly tender and juicy with a beautiful, flavorful bark. The brisket is hand-cut to order, then placed into tortillas with queso fresco, pico de gallo, guasacaca (a Venezuelan version of guacamole), creme fraiche, and chopped fresh cilantro. The crispy, smoky bits of brisket are an ideal match for the acidic pop of the guasacaca, and the creme fraiche and queso fresco add a touch of cheesy smoothness. Combined with the earthy freshness of chopped cilantro, this taco checks all of the boxes for a well-rounded bite of carefully balanced flavors. Pro tip: give these bad boys a little drizzle of the restaurant's homemade hot barbecue sauce.

Korean tacos

Fusing Korean barbecue with tacos makes perfect sense. The bold flavors of gochujang (fermented Korean chili pepper paste) along with other unique marinades mixed with fire-grilled meats is so delicious that it was inevitably bound to break outside the confines of the rice bowl and spill over into the realm of the taco. And what a glorious union it is to behold — especially at Seoul Taco a chain with Illinois and Missouri outposts, which offers a streamlined menu that offers inventive dishes like the "munchwrap seoulpreme" — a clear nod to Taco Bell's iconic Crunchwrap Supreme  — except this one adds a few tasty twists like kimchi and gochujang sour cream.

But it's the simple taco dish that really stands out. Served with greens dressed in sesame vinaigrette, green onions, crushed onions, and a drizzle of zesty homemade "seoul sauce", you can choose from four different Korean-inspired proteins. With a choice of bulgogi steak, chicken, spicy pork, and tofu, there's no shortage of delicious options to choose from. We'd recommend going with the spicy pork, which delivers the complex flavors of jeyyuk bokkeum in taco form. The end result: a vibrant punch of flavor so delicious that it's bound to trigger future cravings. It's no wonder that Seoul Taco won a spot in Food Network's best burritos in the country (via Food Network).

Cheesesteak taco

Cheesesteaks are one of the most delicious and filling sandwiches out there. After all, you can't go wrong with thin slices of freshly grilled steak smothered in melted cheese along with sauteed onions and peppers. But what happens when instead of piling all of that onto a hoagie, it gets wrapped up in a tortilla for tacos? Capital Tacos – with several Florida locations – has taken it upon itself to answer that question.

And from the moment of your first bite, it's clear this is a match made in heaven. Shaved steak is grilled and mixed with a three-cheese blend along with onions and peppers, then topped with garlic mayo, cilantro, and cotija cheese. The end result tastes like a perfect mix between a traditional carne asada taco with a Philly cheesesteak, making it a fusion that manages to successfully honor the flavors of both cuisines simultaneously. The garlic mayo adds a pleasantly pungent layer of creaminess, while the fresh cilantro and sauteed veggies add some herbaceousness and texture. All things considered, the cheesesteak taco is one of the tastiest fusions we've encountered.

Salmon pakora taco

Based in New York City, Taco Mahal fuses the vibrant flavors of Indian cuisine with tacos in refreshingly inventive ways. Instead of using traditional flour or corn tortillas, Taco Mahal uses roti — a type of flatbread commonly served with Indian food — and also provides another option with freshly baked naan. Roti's texture and density mimic the consistency of a tortilla very closely, making it an excellent substitute and the perfect vehicle for tacos. On the other hand, naan's billowy airiness and light char from the oven add a considerable level of flavor — and because it's a little thicker, naan tends to nicely absorb extra sauce, making it another great choice for tacos.

Taco Mahal offers a wide variety of protein choices for its naan and roti tacos. Some highlights of the menu include paneer tikka masala and chicken curry tacos. But the real star of the menu is the salmon pakora taco. The genius of this dish lies in the choice of the pakora batter. Pakora is a common deep-fried snack in India similar to what we call fritters here in the United States. Fresh salmon is coated in pakora batter and deep-fried until perfectly crispy. The crispy salmon is then topped with a special slaw made of cucumbers, chili peppers, cilantro, red onions, lime juice, and sour cream. The homemade slaw tastes like a Mexican-inspired tzatziki sauce that perfectly ties everything in this taco together. Taco Mahal's creative impulses and flawless flavor combinations prove that it's at the top of the game.

General Tso chicken taco

Tacos are probably one of the last things that come to mind when you think about Chinese food. But the truth is, that its bold, contrasting sauces combined with the crispiness of deep-fried chicken and the tender char of stir-fried vegetables make surprisingly excellent filling to make some killer tacos. Chinitas Tapas in Henderson, Nevada has made it the company's mission to thoroughly explore this particular culinary intersection — and it's produced some spectacularly delicious results. Case in point: General Tso chicken tacos.

The General Tso chicken tacos at Chinitas Tapas come with fried chicken tossed in a sweet and spicy sauce, cabbage slaw, yuzu mayo, sesame seeds, and scallions. The sauce strikes a nice balance, riding the line down the middle — not overly sweet, yet not too spicy either. The cabbage provides some extra crunch, the yuzu adds a little pop of citrus, and the chicken is crispy yet tender. All of the flavors here definitely capture the taste of General Tso, yet in taco form — and it works amazingly well.

Fish and chips taco

Crispy fried fish is always a popular favorite. And while it's fairly common for fried fish to appear on tacos from time to time, it seldom graces the menu as a creative riff on fish and chips. Taco chain Velvet Taco has a fish and chips taco that's so good that once you try it, it just might become your new favorite method of devouring this classic dish.

The fish and chips taco at Velvet Taco comes with beer-battered Atlantic cod, curry mayo, malted french fries, shredded cabbage, and fresh micro greens on a flour tortilla. The addition of French fries on a taco may strike some as strange at first, but the reality is that this isn't really all that different from a California burrito, which typically features steak and French fries. 

Between the taste of freshly fried filet of Atlantic cod and the crunchy zing of malted fries, the flavors of a classic fish and chips truly sail in this taco. The beer-battered fish is fried to a golden brown, perfectly crispy, providing a nice contrast to the soft tortilla. The curry mayo also adds a unique twist of spice that's unexpected but highly welcomed.

Lobster roll taco

Based in Portland, Maine, The Highroller Lobster Company started as a food cart in 2015. After years of dishing out some of the best lobster rolls around, the company eventually expanded its operation and now has its own brick-and-mortar shop where it sells popular favorites like lobster rolls, corn dogs, and fried fish sandwiches. But what really sets The Highroller Lobster Company apart from its peers is how the restaurant allows diners to choose from a variety of different flavorful sauces for its lobster salad. Charred pineapple, jalapeno, lime, and sweet red pepper are just a few of the different mayos to pick from to be mixed with fresh pieces of local lobster meat.

While there are plenty of tasty items on the menu, the lobster cheese crisp taco is the real crown jewel. Rather than using a traditional tortilla, this taco uses a bacon cheese crisp. According to the founders, this creation was somewhat of a happy accident: after extra cheese spilled over from sandwiches on the grill, it crisped up into a disc, inspiring them to try it out as a tortilla (via Thrillist). 

The result was indulgent but undeniably delicious: sweet, tender lobster meat encased and balanced out by a crispy shell of cheese and bacon, topped with fresh greens and lightly drizzled with homemade red pepper and jalapeno mayo. The end result is a uniquely delicious taco from a refreshingly creative restaurant that genuinely lives up to its hype.

Chicken and waffle taco

Chicken and waffles itself is a fusion of sorts, brilliantly blending the flavors of Southern fried chicken with the sweet flavors of fresh waffles and maple syrup. The contrast of the seasoned, crispy skin of the fried chicken with the delicate richness of the maple syrup and waffles combines in a way that's outrageously satisfying and flavorful, revolving between sweet and savory with each irresistible bite. Velvet Taco's interpretation of the dish is a stroke of genius that adds a few surprising touches.

The chicken and waffle taco comes with crispy fried chicken tenders, bacon, peppercorn gravy, green apple slaw, maple syrup, red chili aioli, and chives on a waffle tortilla. The green apple slaw is a unique addition and a clever way to introduce some tartness to cut through the richness of the fried chicken. The creamy peppercorn gravy adds a deep, luxurious layer of flavor with just a sparkle of bite. The red chili aioli and chives bridge these two distinct cuisines together with a mild level of spice and herbaceousness that we've come to expect from some of our favorite tacos. 

The waffle tortilla is a great vessel for this venture — we actually much prefer this to the traditional knife and fork method served on a plate. Everything is made from scratch at Velvet Taco and they have a lot to offer, so if chicken and waffles aren't your jam, you might want to take a peek at their other deliciously creative offerings (via Tulsa World).

Eggs benedict taco

A classic dish adored by brunch-lovers the world over, eggs Benedict comes with Canadian bacon and tender poached eggs smothered in hollandaise sauce over toasted English muffins. A big part of the joy in eating eggs Benedict is mopping up the eggs with the bread — but depending on the consistency of the hollandaise and the doneness of the yolks, sometimes the whole affair can be quite messy, considering English muffins aren't as thick and absorbent as other breads. Houston's Fusion Taco has a creatively delicious solution: package the dish as a brunch taco and wrap it up on a fluffy piece of grilled naan.

For brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, Fusion Taco offers a special brunch tacos menu with five different offers — one of which is the eggs Benedict taco. The taco comes with two free-range eggs and hollandaise sauce, but swaps the Canadian bacon for pork belly. The trade-off works wonders: the pork belly has a complex smokiness and tenderness that far surpasses the slightly firmer texture and processed flavor of Canadian bacon. But beyond that, the grilled naan does a great job of cradling the eggs and the hollandaise since it's absorbent enough to soak up some extra drippage. Altogether, this brunch taco works on every level, honoring the flavors of the dish that inspired it, but also pushing its boundaries into new, tasty territory.

Thai tacos

The delicious union of Thai food and tacos feels like it was meant to be. Thai food, known for its fresh and complex swirl of spicy, sweet, and sour flavors, offers a wide range of meats and sauces that work in harmony. Packaging these flavors in the form of a taco still captures everything we love about Thai food — it just reimagines it in a different vessel. Anajak Thai is a restaurant that's become well-known for showcasing some of the best Thai in Sherman Oaks, California, but all the buzz is really about the Thai taco Tuesdays that it's been hosting since the early days of the pandemic.

While the menu changes from week to week, there have been some amazing creations coming out of the kitchen. There's the Thai pastor tacos — a merging of Thai food and al pastor (which is a fusion itself that blends Mexican food and Middle Eastern cuisine). There's also been dry-aged striped bass tacos. Considered one of the most unique offerings on the menu, the striped bass for these tacos is hung and aged for about a week, lightly fried, and seared to develop a smoky flavor profile (via LA Taco). The chili mayo that it's paired with adds a touch of heat and brings out the dry-aged fish's inherent fruitiness, paying homage to the dish's roots of Thai flavors. Tasty and refreshingly inventive, there's no doubt that Anajak Thai is making some of the best fusion tacos on the scene.