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The Most Popular Mexican Food Ordered At Restaurants

Most Popular Mexican Food At Restaurants

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Mexican food is incredibly popular in the United States. In fact, many dishes with origins in Mexican cuisine have become so common that they’re served alongside hot dogs and hamburgers at sporting events, festivals, amusement parks, and more.If you are planning to open a Mexican restaurant, it is important to understand what food will sell – which often means including your customers’ favorite dishes. While top foods can vary significantly by region, there are some Mexican foods – like burritos, nachos, and guacamole – that can be found on almost any menu. In this post, we’ll explore some of these dishes so that you can incorporate them into your own menu.

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Is Mexican Food at American Restaurants Authentic?

When most Americans think of Mexican food, our minds probably go to heavy dishes that are often fried and smothered in cheese and sour cream. However, these dishes generally aren’t a good representation of the foods that are traditionally served in Mexico, which are often simpler, lighter, and healthier.What most of us think of as Mexican food is actually more “Tex-Mex” than authentic Mexican cuisine. When settlers arrived in Texas (which was part of Mexico until the early 1800s) and experienced Mexican food, they started to adapt recipes using ingredients that were more commonly found in Texas. People of Mexican heritage living in Texas – known as Tejanos – further adapted common recipes to meet American tastes.

There are many differences between traditional Mexican fare and what you will find at most Mexican restaurants in the U.S. A few key examples:

  • Hard shell tacos are more common in the U.S.
  • Mexican people tend to use fresh, tangy white cheese like queso fresco instead of heavier cheeses like cheddar and monterey jack
  • Corn tortillas are used more often in Mexico, in comparison to flour tortillas that are common in the U.S.
  • Mexican cuisine often features more complex flavors, instead of just being spicy

Of course, American Mexican restaurants still feature absolutely delicious food – and they are beloved across the United States. If you want to open up a Mexican restaurant, read on to learn more about some of the most popular dishes in the U.S.

Most Popular Mexican Foods Ordered in Restaurants

Let’s face it: when it comes to running a restaurant, you often have to make tough choices. Profit margins in the industry are notoriously tight, which means that your menu should include options that are broadly appealing – along with any other dishes that you love and want to include. Below, we have listed some of the most popular Mexican foods that are ordered at restaurants in the United States.burrito

Burritos

Burritos come from the border town of Ciudad Juárez. While burritos are generally considered an Americanized version of Mexican food, they do hail from this region of Mexico. Traditionally, a burrito is made from a large flour tortilla filled with a few ingredients like beans or barbacoa. In the United States, however, burritos tend to be MUCH larger and filled with everything you could want, such as rice, beans, protein, cheese, shredded lettuce, salsa, sour cream, and guacamole.mexican rice

Mexican Rice

Also known as Spanish rice, this dish is a staple in Mexican households – and on menus at Mexican restaurants! It is often served alongside refried beans as part of a combination plate. The main ingredients are long grain rice, tomatoes, tomato paste, and chopped onions, all simmered in a broth.enchiladas

Enchiladas

There are many styles of enchiladas and many filling combinations. The basic recipe for enchiladas involves filling soft tortillas with savory ingredients. The enchiladas are then covered in a sauce and topped with melted cheese.elote

Elote

Elote is a classic Mexican street food that has become incredibly popular in the United States. In fact, elote is so popular that Trader Joe’s created a spice blend to mimic its iconic flavors! The dish is made by grilling corn on the cob and then slathering it in mayonnaise, cheese, chile powder and lime. If the corn is cut off of the cob, it is referred to as esquites (with the same ingredients on top).soft tacos

Tacos

Tacos are probably the most iconic Mexican food, and come in as many styles as there are sandwiches at an American deli. Many people are familiar with basic tacos – beef or chicken served with shredded cheese, lettuce, salsa, and sour cream in a hard or soft taco shell. However, there are tons of variations, such as tacos al pastor, which feature slow-cooked meat, freshly chopped onions, cilantro, and delicious add-ins like grilled pineapple.tamales

Tamales

Tamales is a dish that is traditionally prepared around the Christmas holiday. However, in the U.S., you can often get tamales year-round at Mexican restaurants. While recipes vary, tamales are made by spreading a bit of masa over a corn husk or banana leaf. A protein is then spread on top of the masa, and the package is wrapped tightly and cooked.Guac

Guacamole

In the not-too-distant past, many Americans may have considered guacamole to be an exotic food. Now, it is a staple for picnics, parties – and at Mexican restaurants. The dish consists of avocado, lime juice, jalapenos, salt, garlic, red onions, and cilantro, although variations may include tomatoes and other ingredients.queso

Queso

Queso means “cheese” in Spanish, but in the United States, it is often used as a shorthand for a specific type of cheese dip. There are many different types of queso, from the bright orange sauce that comes in a jar or can to white queso made with white American cheese and chiles, or even queso fundido, which typically contains meat. It is a great option to have on your menu for an appetizer or to serve with other dishes, like nachos.torta

Torta

A torta is essentially a Mexican sandwich. It consists of crusty white bread (bolillo) that is cut in half and stuffed with fillings. A torta often includes a marinated protein, refried beans, avocado, lettuce, and tomato. mole

Mole

Mole is considered an iconic dish in Mexico, and it can often be found on the menu in many Mexican restaurants in the United States. It is a sauce that often includes Mexican chocolate, along with dozens of other ingredients that are combined into a paste using a pestle and mortar before being thinned out into a sauce. It is often served on top of a protein or even used as a base for enchiladas.fajitas

Fajitas

Fajitas are hugely popular in Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants, often brought to the table on a sizzling platter. It consists of flour tortillas that are then filled with a protein of choice (typically, chicken, beef, or shrimp) and fried peppers and onions. Shredded cheese, salsa, sour cream, and guacamole are served on the side.barbacoa

Barbacoa

Barbacoa is a style of barbeque that involves slow-cooking meat over an open flame or in a hole that has been dug in the ground. In the U.S., it is usually made with beef. The finished product may then be added to tacos, burritos, or other popular dishes.quesadillas

Quesadillas

A quesadilla is a popular snack that is commonly found on Tex-Mex and Mexican restaurant menus. It is similar to a sandwich, but made with tortillas and stuffed with common Mexican ingredients like spicy chicken or beef, beans, and cheese, served with sour cream, guacamole, and salsa on the side.nachos

Nachos

Nachos are a ubiquitous dish across the United States. Created in Piedras Negras, Mexico (on the Texas border), the dish consists of tortilla chips covered with cheese (or cheese sauce) and other toppings. Common toppings include meat, jalapenos, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, beans, salsa, guacamole, and sour cream. Because nachos can be personalized, they are a great item to have on your menu to meet the needs of almost any diner.Chilaquiles

Chilaquiles

Chilaquiles is a dish that is usually consumed at breakfast. It is made with stale tortillas that are cut into strips before being fried and tossed in a red or green sauce. The tortilla strips are usually then topped with some queso fresco, crema, and/or a fried egg.huevos rancheros

Huevos Rancheros

Another popular Mexican breakfast dish, huevos rancheros has long been enjoyed in Mexico. It is made of fried eggs on top of tortillas, with pico de gallo and cheese.Paletas

Paletas

Paletas are a summertime treat that is similar to popsicles. They are made with cream or water combined with berries, cookies, nuts, or tropical fruits before being frozen on a stick. They may even be dusted with chile powder. You can often find them on food trucks or carts at festivals, farmer’s markets, and other events.fried ice cream

Fried Ice Cream

While there are some disputes as to its origin, fried ice cream is often associated with Mexican restaurants. It involves deep freezing balls of ice cream before coating it in a combination of cornflakes, nuts, cookie crumbs, or tortillas and deep frying it. Fried ice cream is often served with cinnamon and honey or chocolate. While it may not have its roots in Mexican cuisine, it is a very popular dish in Mexican restaurants.

How Budget Branders Can Help

While Mexican food is very popular in the U.S., you will still need to do some marketing and advertising to ensure that your customers know about your restaurant. A well-crafted strategy should include both digital advertising as well as more traditional forms of marketing such as billboards or sponsoring special events. You can also add branding to the disposable products that you already use to boost your marketing efforts. Adding your logo to custom paper cups, custom stadium cups, custom dessert bowls, custom soup bowls, custom sandwich bags, custom deli bowls, custom wax deli paper, and more can help you deliver a great product while also driving increased brand recognition and loyalty. At Budget Branders, we know how challenging it can be to run a small business. We work with all types of food and beverage operations to help them get the custom-printed disposables that they need. All of our products are available in smaller quantities and are priced fairly to ensure that they are affordable to restaurants of all sizes.

To learn more about our products, submit a contact form or a quote request. Our branding experts are always available to answer questions. Simply press the live chat button to get started.

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