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Fry Bread & Indian Tacos – Rapid City, SD

What is an Indian Taco? Is it a taco shell filled with curry? These were my thoughts as I saw a handmade sign outside the Minneluzahan Senior Citizen’s Centre, near where our car was parked.

Rapid City, WY - Indian Taco sign 2

We could see people coming in and out of a side door with takeaway containers so I just had to go and have a look at what was going on. The handmade signs and location suggested there was some type of fundraiser happening and this indeed turned out to be the case. As we entered the building, there was a table set up to one side with a cash box and a few tables with locals tucking in.

Hard To Pronounce, Easy To Understand
Before we move on to Indian Tacos, a word on the hard to pronounce ‘Minneluzahan’. Go on, try saying it out loud. Difficult huh? Minneluzahan is the Lakota Sioux word for Rapid Creek. ‘Minne’ means water (like Minnesota), ‘luza’ means swift and ‘han’ means continuing and good. As the centre sits on the edge of a creek that created a large and tragic flood in the 1970s, it is very appropriately named.

Also before we move on to Indian Tacos, a word on the word ‘Indian’. I noticed on this trip to the US that the word was being freely used in the Midwest to describe the Native American or First Nation people. I was curious to learn more about this as my understanding was that many saw the word Indian as derogatory and not a preferred term. At the Plains Indian Museum in Cody, part of the esteemed Smithsonian, I learned that whilst some tribes and peoples find the word demeaning, others use the term without offence. In fact, some find the term Native American to be ‘government speak’. It would appear that for the most part in the Midwest at least, the term Indian is acceptable. If the Indian’s are calling their menu items Indian Tacos, then who am I to argue?

It’s On The List
But back to the tacos. There were 3 different taco options as well as a couple of different items. I thought $7 was a bit steep for a taco but had no idea what the alternate ‘menudo’ was, so ordered a beef and bean taco for each of us. A few minutes later we were handed styrofoam takeaway containers (SO much styrofoam in the US!) and plastic cutlery. We took our containers into the park and opened them to get a look at our Indian Tacos.

Indian Taco Trio
I had a grin from ear to ear when I saw that Indian Tacos were the fixings for Tex-Mex tacos on Indian Fry Bread. This was one of the items on my ‘must find and try’ list for this US trip. Originally created by the Navajo to sustain them on and after their ‘Long Walk’ from Arizona to New Mexico as part of a government forced relocation, Fry Bread has become a staple on Indian tables and is hugely popular at State Fairs and other community events. Indian Fry Bread is a simple mixture of flour, water, salt and sometimes soured milk that is formed into a dough and fried in hot oil or lard, then covered with jam, sugar or savoury toppings. Not exactly healthy but enjoyable in moderation and certainly delicious topped with re-fried beans, salsa and sour cream.
Indian Taco w Sauce
Indian Taco interior

In 2005, Fry Bread was declared the State Bread of South Dakota. Yes, State Bread is a thing. I’m glad I didn’t go for menudo as a quick internet search later revealed that it’s a tripe based soup. Deliciously puffy Indian Fry Bread was a much more appealing option on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

14 comments… add one
  • Lizzy (Good Things) February 6, 2015, 6:42 pm

    Fascinating piece of writing, Fiona. Very interesting indeed.

  • David February 6, 2015, 6:57 pm

    Looks delicious.

    Thanks Fiona!

    • Fiona Ryan February 9, 2015, 8:38 am

      It would be a lot of extra paddle boarding though!.

  • Jan Rhoades February 6, 2015, 7:01 pm

    Mmmm Mmmm. Sounds and looks delicious.

    • Fiona Ryan February 9, 2015, 8:40 am

      It was but now I’m sated and there’s no need to try it again.

  • Anne February 6, 2015, 11:30 pm

    Well, that wasn’t what I was expecting from the first photo! Who knew there was such a thing as State bread?
    Interesting about the terminology – giving people the correct name seems a bit of a minefield and easy to give offence when you’re just trying to get it right.

    • Fiona Ryan February 9, 2015, 8:43 am

      You know those Americans Anne – they love a title. Some have a State Cookie or Muffin and even a State Bean (because that’s a hugley competitive market…beans). Thanks for stopping by. xx

  • Tandy | Lavender and Lime February 7, 2015, 2:38 pm

    I suppose your seven dollars went to a good cause!

    • Fiona Ryan February 9, 2015, 8:45 am

      It did indeed. I was only sorry that they didn’t have their regular charity shop open as well.

  • Glenda February 9, 2015, 1:14 am

    It sounds and looks delicious.

    • Fiona Ryan February 9, 2015, 8:46 am

      It was, but one was enough. If I’m ever in Rapid City, I would have another but I think it unlikely. cheers!

  • sherry from sherrys pickings April 27, 2015, 4:17 pm

    wow this looks so amazing. and fried in lard? i find it quite amazing that the Indians don’t mind being called Indians:)

    • Fiona Ryan April 27, 2015, 7:33 pm

      This was unbelievably delicious but is often earmarked as one of the single biggest contributors to obesity in Indian (Native American) communities in that region.

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