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Does pico de gallo (the type of salsa) literally translate as "rooster's beak"? If so, where did it get that name, and how does that describe the salsa?

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My guess is that it's related to the fact that the salsa resembles something that has been pecked by a rooster. That is, small bits of stuff. –  Flimzy Jan 12 '12 at 4:27
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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Wikipedia has two possible explanations:

  • (...) it is so called because originally it was eaten with the thumb and forefinger, and retrieving and eating the condiment resembled the actions of a pecking rooster
  • (...) the name could be a simple allusion to the bird feed-like minced texture and appearance of the sauce

So it seems that the origin of the name is not very clear.

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Fighting Cocks are calmed by their handlers by placing the rooster's head in the mouth. Darkness causes birds to immediately begin the sleep cycle. It was explained to me (by a great Restaurant ower in Acuna, Mex.)that often as soon as the handler put the bird's head in his mouth he would often be pecked on the tongue. The spices in the salsa gives the same feeling, hence "pico de gallo" is the beak of a fighting rooster biting your tongue! Much better explanation..

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Me interesa que la salsa vietnamita también se llama "rooster sauce". –  Chuck Krutsinger Jun 25 '13 at 21:18
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I'm from Northern Mexico and "pico de gallo" translates to pico (pecked) de gallo (from a rooster) so in the culinary industry it is a relish but in Mexico it is a tradition (it's something that a rooster pecked).

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A "minced-texture" concoction would also explain why "pico de gallo" is used by some in Northern Mexico not as a name for salsa but as a name for a chilled side dish of finely chopped jicama, orange juice and plain Tapatio-style sauce.

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Thanks, and welcome to the site! –  jrdioko Aug 9 '12 at 22:00
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