Are There Different Kinds of Mexican Food?

[¡Ask a Mexican!] And how can I get a copy of 'Taco USA'?

DEAR READERS: Talk about a lazy Mexican—nearly four years after promising ustedes I was going to write a book about the history of Mexican food in the United States, my Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America is being released on April 10! More than 300 pages of astounding history (Did you know the first famous Mexican-food restaurateur was Buffalo Bill Cody?), delicious food (Bacon-wrapped hot dogs are Mexican? You know it!) and avaricious gabachos making millions off the foodstuff of anonymous Mexis! I'll most likely be invading your town soon with a trunkful of books; find more book-signing information at my website or in this column. In the meantime, buy Taco USA at your favorite local bookstore, your finer online retailers, your craftier piratas, wherever, but do buy it: My libro editor has already promised to deport me from the publishing industry if we don't sell enough copies!

In honor of this momentous occasion, we turn the columna over to comida.

 

DEAR MEXICAN: Am I the only one who gets ticked off when I see all these food trucks selling Korean, Chinese, Brazilian, etc., food, yet all I see when I look at the menu is Mexican food? They all mostly sell burritos, tacos, quesadillas, etc. They just change the fillings and don't even give credit to Mexicans! For example, Kogi Korean BBQ? Why not call it Kogi Korean BBQ Tacos and Burritos, or something like that? Even better: Kogi Mexican-Korean Food! Its whole menu revolves around Mexican food! I thought whites were the only ones who appropriate Mexican food when they try to claim chili (con carne) as their own. Now Koreans and others are getting into the act.

Lonchera Lover

DEAR WAB: What did Koreans ever do to you, güey? Did some hot-ass chinita reject you because her parents thought you were a cholo, damn your master's degree (happened to the Mexican—true story!). If the luxe loncheras that now dominate America's big metro regions really wanted to disappear the Mexican roots of their comida, they wouldn't be serving burritos, tacos or quesadillas—they'd call them "wraps," "cornmeal pinchers" and "cheese turnovers," respectively. Instead, all I ever see them do is change the first part of the name but keep the Mexi vessel—and Mexican food, just as Mexis themselves, is fundamentally malleable and no le vale madre about strict taxonomies. The only problem you should have with these luxe loncheras is the effort by bureaucrats and wimpy brick-and-mortar restaurant owners to shut down them and their Mexi hermanos—other than that, if you don't like gabas going Mexi with their food, leave them to their $8 "gourmet" tacos and find the lonchera with the two-tacos-for-a-buck-plus-a-free-drink deal.

 

DEAR MEXICAN: Various regions of the U.S. are known for specific styles of food—Cajun cuisine, Texas barbecue, New York or Chicago pizza, etc. Seeing as how Mexico is a pretty expansive nation as well, I wondered how wildly regional specialties might vary in different areas, and if you could name any tasty treats those regions claim to do best.

Looking for More Than a Combo Plate

DEAR GABACHO: Space doesn't permit the Mexican to list the multitude of regional varieties from the motherland, so I'll instead give a shoutout to my compa, Bill Esparza, a professional musician by trade who moonlights as America's greatest expert on regional Mexican treats on his blog, Street Gourmet LA (www.streetgourmetla.com). This man has been smuggling gabachos into Baja California to eat the dazzling food of that region since long before Rick Bayless and his ilk knew the difference between aguachile and chile con carne. In the meanwhile, make sure to check out Taco USA for the many regional styles of Mexican food in this country, from Tex-Mex to Cal-Mex to Sonoran, New Mexican and . . . Den-Mex?! All in the book, cabrones—buy it!

 

MEET THE MEXICAN! The Mexican will sign copies of his book at the Fullerton Public Library, 353 W. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, (714) 738-6333. April 12, 7 p.m. Lecture, FREE; books, BARATO!

 
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8 comments
Luna
Luna

YOU GUYS TALK ALOT OF SHIT. YES, THERE ARE DIFFERENT REGIONS IN MEXICO AND THEY MAKE THEIR OWN FOOD AND IT HAS ITS OWN NAMES. I DON'T EAT MEXICAN FOOD EVERYDAY NOT THAT I DON'T LIKE IT ITS JUST I EAT TOO MUCH AMERICAN FOOD. BUT I LOVE THE TACOS, TAMELES THATS LIKE MY FAVORITE FOODS WHEN I GET A CHANCE TO EAT IT AND USUALLY I GO TO TACO BELL. I LOVE CHULLUPAS.

Jon Rogan
Jon Rogan

Hey Mexican:I am one of those gabacho product development chefs you are ridiculing in your book Taco USA. Just finished it, and must say I find myself recommending it to industry colleagues. It was cool to see the industry niche chronicaled in such detail, repleat with pithy social commentary.good work! can't wait for the sequel. If need some juicy insider restaurant info you should speak to me

Gracias,Juan Gabacho

909Jeff
909Jeff

Well Hell...

I posted already but its not here... Here's a 2nd try!

If you were to bother to look at Kogi's menu you would see where it clearly says BURRITO'S and TACO'S and QUESADILLA'S.

http://kogibbq.com/category/me...

Don Alberto Doyle
Don Alberto Doyle

As a gabacho who's lived in mexico several times and seen it from end to end, I think it's fair to say that Oaxaca, Puebla (anything described as poblano), Veracruz, and Tabasco/Chiapas (Yucatan) all have particularly delicious regional food. Not to say that there aren't twenty other great variations across the states, but those four stand out to my palate. I also admire how the Queretaranos cook so commonly with fruit -- mango, tamarindo, blackberries, aceruela, guava, etc., just mash 'em up with vinegar, garlic, onions, and a splash of orange juice, sautee and poor over pork, chicken, fish. Man oh man, I gotta get back there.

R
R

Ese -- you should have asked for a mitochondrial check of your Korean ruca....for the most part their, Koreans, mitochondrial DNA is the same as a big chunk of the plebe de el ombligo de la luna.....

Karelys Beltran
Karelys Beltran

I have no idea what this means but Mexico does have pockets of Korean and other Asian populations down south. Well, more like Pacific South by Puebla.

 
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