There’s no question that Mexican food is big business in America, and a quick trip to Hooters or other casual diners and you’ll see several Mexican inspired dishes available. Now if you’re among the few who haven’t tried their cuisine, then it’s time for an introduction.
Nachos are usually served as snacks in restaurants but sometimes their ingredients are modified so it fills you up like a full meal. Different types of nachos are available, but the most common are tortilla chips layered with melted shredded cheese or tortilla chips with cheese dips. The nacho was invented around 1943 by Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya, and his original recipe consisted of corn tortillas fried with sliced jalapeno peppers and melted cheddar cheese.
Along with nachos, burritos are staples in Mexican American restaurants. While tacos are formed by folding a tortilla around the filling, burritos use wheat flour tortilla and wrap or fold it in a cylindrical shape to cover the filling. Through the years different types of burrito fillings are used, with the most popular being Mexican style rice, sour cream, cheese, guacamole and meat. Other kinds of burrito filling such as salsa, lettuce and beans are also served in restaurants. There are some differences between the traditional Mexican burrito with their American counterpart, the most important being American burritos tend to have more vegetable or meat filling.
Fajitas can refer to any kind of grilled meat, and diners usually serve them as tacos. There are several kinds of meat used with fajitas though the most popular are shrimp, pork, chicken and different kinds of beef. To add flavor to the dish, most restaurants serve their fajitas with bell peppers and onions, and an assortment of condiments including tomatoes, cheese, pico de gallo, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, shredded lettuce and more are added.
Chili Con Carne
Chili con Carne (chili with meat) is a Mexican American stew consisting of beans, tomatoes, peppers and meat (typically beef). There are also several seasonings used such as cumin, onions and garlic, and different types of meat may be used depending on the restaurant. Another variant is Chili Verde, which can be mild or very spicy and made with slow cooked pork with roasted green chili, tomatillos, garlic and chicken broth. Sometimes tomatoes are used, and the spiciness of the dish is determined by the number of jalapeno, poblano and Serrano peppers used.
Chimichanga is a classic Mexican burrito and is especially popular in restaurants and diners in the southern US, Tex-Mex cuisine and other parts of the country. These dishes are usually made by filling a tortilla with shredded chicken, carne adobada, machacha, cheese or rice. Once all the ingredients are set the tortilla is fried and served with cheese, sour cream, guacamole or salsa.
These are among the most popular Mexican dishes today, and it’s hard to go to a restaurant without coming across a variant. If you plan to go Taco Mac or a Mexican themed diner, don’t forget to ask for these.