The Americanization of Mexican Food

Posted in Food and Fun

Take a look down just about any main thoroughfare in any American town and you’re bound to see at least one Mexican restaurant.

From Alaska to Maine, from North Dakota to Louisiana, Mexican food is embraced by just about every person who lives in the U.S.


But a lot of what we eat isn’t true Mexican food, at least not as it is served in Mexico. Read below to learn more about how Mexican food has been modified to cater to American palates.

    • Fajitas don’t exist in Mexico! In fact, they didn’t even exist in the U.S. until the 1960s. Fajitas are named for the cut of meat (skirt steak) used when making the dish. Those who created the fajita thought “fajita” would be easier to say than the actual Spanish word for skirt steak: Arrachera.
    • American Mexican food has gobs – and we mean gobs – more cheese on dishes than the food eaten in Mexico. Mexican dishes served in Mexico use cheese as an ingredient, not a topping.
    • Fruit-flavored margaritas are not a true Mexican creation. Yes, the margarita hales from Mexico – but we’re talking about a drink made of lime and tequila and maybe a bit of sweetener. But when it’s served in a bowl-sized glass and blended with a lot of fruit, you’re looking at an Americanized margarita.
    • Combination platters are a U.S. construct. Mexicans eat tacos or they eat a chile relleno. They don’t combine them.

  • Real burritos in Mexico aren’t stuffed with rice and beans as well as meat. Mexican burritos are really just rolled tacos – meat, tomatoes and lettuce – but with a rolled tortilla.
  • Meat – beef – isn’t used as much in Mexican dishes. The main ingredients of most Mexican meals are beans, corn and rice. More and more beef started being added to “Mexican” food north of border due to Texans’ love of beef.

If you’d prefer a more “Mexican” dish than is usually served here at Mattito’s just let us know. We’re happy to substitute beans and rice for beef, to go easier on the cheese and to serve you a tequila and lime margarita in a small glass. Stop by and be our guests today!

Image courtesy of Grant KEKO64/