What Does Lengua Taste Like? A Strangely Underrated Meat

If you’re a Mexican food lover, you know that they don’t leave any meat section behind. Some famous Mexican dishes like Menudo (stomach soup), tacos de Cabeza (cow head tacos), tostadas de pata (cow feet), and Lengua tacos prove the flexible ability of Mexican chefs to utilize any parts of meat and turn them into delicious dishes. 

Lengua tacos or tacos de lengua is a fantastic dish using lengua as its main filling. The small dice with a distinctive flavor and strange texture is favored among Mexican recipes. So, what is Lengua, and what does Lengua taste like? The answer is in my post below.

What Is Lengua Tacos?

The name ‘lengua’ is a Spanish word for cow tongue. To make this dish, people shred the cow tongue and dice it into small blocks. After that, the regular corn tortilla wraps the meat with onions, lime juice, cilantro, and some salt. 

The combination of the soft beef tongue, crunchiness of the tortilla, freshness of vegetables, and sourness of the salsa verde is such a mouthwatering experience that anyone should try once. 

If you still want to find out, “What does beef tongue taste like?” The next part will tell you more about this strange meat.

What Does Lengua Taste Like?

What Does Lengua Taste Like

Lengua might not be what you usually think of when mentioning beef. However, when cooked right, the tongue meat is absolutely a hidden gem for your recipe. 

Then, what does cow tongue taste like? Overall, the beef tongue has a meaty and springy texture similar to standard beef steaks. When it is cooked, the lengua has a distinctive flavor of cow meat. But what exactly does lengua taste like? Here is the detailed description.

Like porcupine and snail, raw lengua may not look so appetizing for many people at first as it is basically a gigantic tongue. You can find different muscles, connective tissues, and taste buds visibly on the meat. The tongue comes with a thick black skin which you can strip off easily after blanching.

As the tongue is one of the strongest muscles, the texture of lengua is significantly tougher than beef steaks. That’s why people tend to braise lengua for hours to soften the muscle fibers and connective tissues. Once they are broken down, the crooked tongue becomes amazingly soft and tender meat. Cow tongue usually is diced or thinly sliced for serving. When taking a bite, you can feel beef’s rich and umami taste with a soft yet springy texture. 

What Are The Nutritional Factors Of Lengua?

Lengua is a rich and meaty piece of meat with great content of healthy nutrition. If you’re on a diet, you should consider adding lengua to your recipes. 

Springy beef has a great source of calories for your daily meal. With only 3 ounces, you can get around 240 calories. It also contains a lot of healthy fats with a small amount of saturated fat.

Moreover, the cow tongue holds an abundance of minerals and vitamins. You can find the zinc, which is essential for your immune function and cell growth, accounts for 44 percent of your daily zinc intake. There is also some potassium, iron, and phosphorus content in a piece of lengua.

Regarding vitamins, there are a lot of B vitamins inside the fresh lengua. This vitamin improves your metabolism by converting all the fats and proteins into necessary energy. With 3 ounces of beef tongue, you can receive up to 2.7 micrograms of Vitamin B-12, meeting your daily intake range.

How Do You Eat Lengua?

Lengua is tasty meat, but not many people know how to enjoy it. Because of their gory look and tough texture, it is not so common in American kitchens. However, their use in cooking is widely known in the world, especially in Mexican cuisine.

Lengua needs to be peeled and braised for a long time in order to have its soft and tender texture. You can serve lengua alone with some slices on the plate, a sprinkle of salt, with a glaze of sauce on top. This way, you can enjoy the most out of its gamey, rich, and beefy taste with a buttery and crispy texture.

A common way you can eat lengua is using it as a filling for tacos or sandwiches. The distinctive taste of lengua can be blended out with other flavors from cilantro, salsa, red onion, and queso casera. The springy and meaty texture fit surprisingly well with the crunchy tortilla.

In many parts of the world, there are also different lengua-based dish varieties with a wide range of cooking methods. The beef tongue, cooked in the traditional Chinese approach, is cooked overnight with soy sauce and fresh herbs like cloves garlic, cinnamon, Sichuan peppercorns, etc. Then, it is served cold with sauce.

Boiled beef tongue is also a famous dish in France and Belgium. The boiled beef is served with vinaigrette and mushroom to remove the raw flavor. You can also grill the tongue and do it as gyutan.


1. Is Lengua gamey?

Lengua has a rich and meaty texture which can hold a flavorful gamey taste. Depending on how it is cooked and served, the cow tongue can range from mild to strong beefy taste. 

If you prefer a less gamey and meaty flavor, you should combine the lengua with sharp flavor ingredients like lime, cilantro, and salsa.

2. Is cow tongue delicious?

Depending on how you cook the cow tongue, the flavor can be varied when you combine it with different ingredients. Cow tongue alone is bland with a gamey and robust beefy flavor. When appropriately braised with a great sauce, you can have a delicious Lengua dish.


Lengua is not the most common type of meat, with a scary look when it is raw. However, when you know how to cook it correctly, the beef tongue is undoubtedly great meat, even better than steaks. Therefore, finding out “What does lengua taste like?” is the first step for you to have a better look at this strange beef meat and try it out for many of your recipes.

Kevin Richard

Hi all! I’m Kevin. I spend plenty of time in the kitchen every day because I love cooking healthy and delicious foods for my family and friends. Cooking gives me a chance to be creative and fun. It’s also one of the most meaningful ways to express my love and take care of my little family.

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