When Austin and San Antonio fired up their taco war of words last year, I imagine folks in the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas looked up and smiled or smirked, if they noticed at all, and went back to their lives.

Tacos have been part of the fabric of the small border towns south of the capital and its I-35 sibling for decades, the traditions coming across the border with immigrants. And if Austin and San Antonio have anything to brag about, it’s likely nothing new to the residents of South Texas.

Taco culture throughout South Texas has its own language and a host of variations, many direct influences from their antecedents. While the taco has evolved and mutated over the years in parts of Texas, with some gimmicky fusion and gourmet tacos finding their way onto menus in bigger towns, if you want to get a real taste of Mexico and the origins of tacos, head to the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas towns like Laredo.

Follow along with Matthew Odam’s taco tour of South Texas on MyStatesman.com.