Note: The Naked Egg Taco was also voted the Best Fast Food Breakfast of 2017.
It started in April. Taco Bell began testing a strange new breakfast option: the Naked Egg Taco. The Naked Egg Taco is self-explanatory: breakfast taco fillings folded into a (weirdly solid and circular) fried egg. As Taco Bell stated in their description of the dish, the Naked Egg Taco is the fast food chain’s “first taco made entirely of classic breakfast ingredients, both inside and out.” A similar Frankenfood to Taco Bell’s Naked Chicken Chalupa, which featured a pounded chicken breast that was breaded, fried, and bent into a taco shell, the Naked Egg Taco launched on April 18, 2017 in Flint, Michigan, and in the rest of the US on August 31.
The dish begins as a head-scratcher. To start, as is the case with the majority of Taco Bell tacos, it’s modeled in the image of the Americanized hard-shell taco. In my opinion, a hard shell is at the same time sharp and structurally weak. Even if bitten with extreme care, these types of tacos crumble in an instant, sending toppings down my shirt instead of into my mouth as a proper corn or flour tortilla would. While the U-shaped shell may hold nostalgia for some, the Naked Egg Taco of course throws anything you thought you knew about hard-shell taco architecture out the window. The shape remains, but the shell is replaced with an egg. While the Naked Egg Taco’s “shell” may be bendier than a hard shell, it’s thick and vaguely rubbery, which is similarly off-putting.
I have to address the elephant in the room. The “egg” part of the Naked Egg Taco is not really a fried egg. Of course, it has to be sturdy enough to support its fillings, so the white part of the “egg” is mixed with emulsifiers like cornstarch. The egg-taco shell is much more of an omelet made to mimic the shape and color of a fried egg.
The contents of the Naked Egg Taco aren’t necessarily offensive. The aforementioned “classic breakfast ingredients” included are bacon or sausage, seasoned potatoes, shredded cheddar cheese, and mustard-yellow nacho cheese sauce. I don’t know how regularly I find molten cheese product in my breakfast, but I guess I’ll let Taco Bell get away with that one.
To be fair, the Naked Egg Taco is also wildly creative. Before the release of Taco Bell’s “naked” tacos sufaced, a shell-less taco was just a taco salad. The naked tacos do resemble the pliant low-carb taco shells made of shredded and baked low-fat cheese—these tend to show up on wellness-focused recipe blogs, but similarities among them and the Naked Taco portfolio end there. Ignoring the possibility that kids with the munchies may have also thought up something similar in some late-night kitchen setting, the Naked Egg Taco is unique in its peculiarity.
Unfortunately for those who have yet to try the Naked Egg Taco, it appears that it was indeed only available for a limited time, as was said in original press releases announcing the dish. Twitter users took to the platform to note their discontent at the Naked Egg Taco’s disappearance in the past month. Guess you’ll have resort to making it yourself.
My dislike of the naked Egg Taco may simply stem from the fact that I don’t really think this concoction is a taco at all. Because the Naked Egg Taco is shell-less, is it still even a taco? Would you call a patty melt a burger? Is a rolled omelet filled with bacon and cheese a burrito? Is a hot dog a sandwich? I’ll leave it at that.