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Salma Hayek was very confused when she tried Taco Bell for the first time

"I've never seen that in my life," she said about the hard-shell taco she was served.
Salma Hayek spoke to Kelly Clarkson about the first time she ever visited a Taco Bell as a teenager.
Salma Hayek spoke to Kelly Clarkson about the first time she ever visited a Taco Bell as a teenager.TODAY Illustration / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Salma Hayek's first Taco Bell experience didn't shape up quite the way she expected it would.

In a new interview with Kelly Clarkson, the actor shared a story about a disappointing Taco Bell trip from her teens, admitting that American tacos are a tad bit different than the ones she grew up eating in Mexico.

Hayek, 54, was born and spent much of her childhood in Coatzacoalcos, Mexico, but spent a couple years as a teenager living with her aunt in Houston, Texas. During this time, she said, she had a hankering for tacos and decided to visit a local Taco Bell. But when she got her meal, she was surprised to see that the tacos looked … unusual.

"They gave us the (hard) shell tacos. I've never seen that in my life; they don't exist in Mexico. It's always with the soft tortilla," she explained.

Hayek then tried to tell the staff that they wanted tacos — aka soft-tortilla tacos — not what they'd been served.

"We're asking each other, 'How do you say tacos in English?' I don't know, the name of the place is Taco Bell,'" she told Clarkson.

"I'm like, 'OK, taco, taco, taquito. You roll it. Yum, yum, yum. This is hard, it's not like this,'" she recalled while mimicking how she would hold and eat a taco.

Ultimately, Hayek would learn that Taco Bell offers both hard and soft tacos.

"Turns out, that's a Texan taco, like Tex-Mex," she said.

Where did hard-shell tacos originate?

At this point, you're probably wondering, where did hard-shell tacos come from, if not Mexico? Long story short, the hard-shell taco as we know it — the U-shaped, crisp-fried corn tortilla — is a Mexican food developed in the U.S. and popularized by Taco Bell.

Te Quiero Taco

Te Quiero Taco

Ryan Scott

According to a MEL magazine article, "An Oral History of Hard Shell Tacos," the folks at Taco Bell didn't invent hard-shell tacos. Jeffrey Pilcher, professor of food history at the University of Toronto Scarborough, said hard-shell tacos were inspired by tacos dorados (fried tacos) from Mexico, which date back to the 1890s.

Another story from Taste reports that crispy tacos were popular in Texas and California in the early 1940s. Glen Bell, who would later become the founder of Taco Bell, started selling the savory treat in the 1950s at a chain of restaurants called Taco Tia, which would later become Taco Bell.