Not too long ago, we discussed the core ingredients of a Tex-Mex meal. And in that post, we acknowledged that many Tex-Mex ingredients are much more common in America than they are in Mexico. Well, some Tex-Mex foods are entirely American inventions—though they may have been inspired by traditional dishes, they’ve wandered pretty far from their roots! Here are four “Mexican food” entrées that you probably won’t see in Mexico:
There’s a good chance that many of our readers immediately thought of Taco Bell when they read the name of this entrée. Though plenty of copy-cat and/or “healthified” recipes for Mexican pizza can be found online, most of us probably remember seeing (or at least hearing about) the original version of the dish in fast food restaurants across the country. Now, obviously, anything with the word “pizza” in the title is not going be authentic Mexican food. But it’s probably worth mentioning that Mexican pizza does share some similarities with tostadas, which are fairly common in Mexico.
There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the “true origins” of chimichangas. Like Margaritas, more than one person claims to have invented these fried snacks, and there’s multiple stories floating around as to how the dish was conceived. Was it an accident involving a deep-fryer and a wayward burrito, or was it simply a stroke of culinary genius? What most folks can agree on, though, is that chimichangas come from America—specifically, the state of Arizona. Interestingly enough, chimichangas are one Mexican-American dish that has gained some popularity in Mexico; they’re occasionally enjoyed in the northwestern states of Sinaloa and Sonora. Oh, how the tables have turned!
Sour Cream Enchiladas
Here’s a fun fact: statistically speaking, people of Anglo and European descent are significantly less likely to be lactose intolerant than folks of other ethnicities. An estimated 50-80 percent of Latino people have issues digesting dairy products, and in indigenous populations, that number can be as high as 80-100 percent! It should come as no surprise, then, that a dish involving copious amounts of a sour cream sauce did not originate south of the border. Of course, that’s not to say that cream and dairy products are never featured in Mexican cooking; they’re just not as prominent as they are in Tex-Mex fare.
Yes, as crazy as it sounds, genuine Mexican tacos are not served in hard, crunchy shells! They’re usually also not stuffed to the brim with lettuce, tomato, ground beef and cheddar cheese, as that’s the Tex-Mex way of doing things. If you order a taco in Mexico, you’re far more likely to receive a small amount of cubed or shredded meat that’s been topped with onions, cilantro and salsa all wrapped up in a warm, freshly-baked corn tortilla. Now, some Tex-Mex connoisseurs actually prefer “soft tacos” to their hard-shelled counterparts, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But many of us would probably be surprised (and maybe a bit puzzled) if we were given a taco that lacked the crunchy exterior that tacos are so famous for.
Whether you prefer true, authentic Mexican food or are a diehard Tex-Mex fan is really a matter of personal taste and opinion. One isn’t necessarily “superior” to the other. Food is an amazing vehicle for the sharing of cultures and traditions, and the proverbial table has room for everyone. Mexican, Tex-Mex, Mix-Mex…regardless of which one you choose, no one is leaving with an empty belly!