Mexican Food Influence in American Culture
Mexican food has a wide-reaching influence in American culture. In fact, Borracha’s Mexican-inspired dishes and drink menu are just one instance of how Mexican flavors and traditions are celebrated here in the United States.
Emergence of Mexican Restaurants
It’s no secret that foods like tacos, nachos, and guacamole are a huge hit here in the United States. If you sit down at any restaurant, you can probably find a dish on the menu that has been influenced by Mexican food. But it may be easiest to see the wide-reaching influence of Mexican foods here in the US simply by looking at the number of Mexican restaurants in the country.
In 2017, there were an incredible 59,800 Mexican restaurants in the United States, making up almost 9% of all of the restaurants in the country. Clearly, Mexican food has made quite an impact on the country.
Food Trucks and Farmers Markets
Mexican food has influenced American culture so greatly that you may not even be aware of traditions that actually originated in Mexico. Between the 1870s and the 1940s, tamale men sold their goods on street corners. In Los Angeles, though, these men started to use 8-foot-long wagons to sell not just tamales, but also Mexican stews and tacos.
A few decades later, these wagons had evolved into trucks. At first, people looking to sell their food used old ice cream trucks, and then the more traditional food truck was born.
Did you know that farmers markets are also a part of Mexican culture? Called mercados or tianguis, farmers markets in Mexico are rich sources of local culture. Filled with bright colors, delicious foods, and countless vendors, these markets bring together a great sampling of Mexican foods, arts, and crafts.
Vegan and Vegetarian Dishes
Many vegan and vegetarian dishes here in the United States have also been influenced by Mexican food. Vegans and vegetarians avoid meat dishes, and vegans also avoid dishes containing eggs, dairy, and honey. Many Mexican dishes contain popular ingredients like rice, beans, and fruits, making them naturally vegan. They also make use of strong spices to create an appealing flavor.
With many Mexican dishes being naturally vegan, it only made sense for American vegans and vegetarians to adopt these dishes, or to create varieties of them.
While Mexican food has certainly influenced American culture, American culture has influenced the food, in turn. American versions of dishes like fajitas, quesadillas, burritos, chili, and salsa are all altered a bit with our own flavor preferences, so they aren’t quite the dishes that you would actually find in Mexico. For instance, American dishes tend to be fired up with hot peppers, whereas in Mexico, the dishes aren’t served with so much of a kick. Americans also tend to put lots of cheese and sauce on every dish, where Mexican tradition is a bit more restrained.
If you’re looking to have a Mexican dish that’s close to the real thing, guacamole is a safe bet. Mexican chefs prepare guacamole with a traditional lava stone mortar and pestle. While you may not find that attention to detail here in the United States, the ingredients and consistency should be pretty close – especially if you go to a restaurant that stays true to its Mexican heritage, like Borracha.
With Mexican food being such a popular choice in American culture, these influences don’t just show up in local restaurants or at the supermarket checkout. Mexican food has become imbued in American snacking habits, and it’s now reflected in a truly American tradition – Super Bowl snacks. The Snack Food Association states that Americans consume about 8.2 million pounds of tortilla chips (paired with cheese, beans, onions, and more to make delicious nachos) on Super Bowl Sunday alone. It’s hard to picture Super Bowl Sunday without a massive plate of nachos, after all, and we now enjoy traditional Mexican foods without them feeling exotic. In fact, they feel like just another part of our culture.
But Mexican food is present in American culture in other ways, too. A quick glance at social media reveals that Mexican foods are revered here in the US. Just think of the hashtags like #MargaritaMonday, #TacoTuesday, #TequilaTuesday, or #FajitaFriday. Plus, we celebrate National Taco Day in the US. Mexican food is a common thread here in US culture, and – lucky for us – this delicious influence is here to stay.