For those who are not acquainted with the word, “Tex-Mex food”, “Tex” has been derived from the word “Texas” and “Mex” comes from the word “Mexico”. It is the Texas version of regional Mexican food with a spicy twist and a subtle hint of Texas’ Spanish colonial past. Also, unlike northern Mexican food, it contains oodles of sour cream, cheese, cumin, tomatoes and chillies. Apart from the local flavours of the region, it also bears resemblance to the food of Canary Islanders who the Spanish had brought to San Antonio in Northern Mexico to establish their colonial empire there. The Canary Islanders brought their unique flavours from their Moroccan cuisine that includes a substantial portion of garlic, chillies and cumin. That’s how these ingredients, which were till then alien to the indigenous food, enter into north Mexican Tex-Mex food. Fast food entering the orbit of Tex-Mex cuisine is usually attributed to California.
However, it is difficult to clearly define this complicated concoction of tastes, flavours and different places of origin due to the wide differences of opinion regarding the authenticity and the place of origin of this cuisine. Some food aficionados believe that the regional cuisine of Texas that has existed since their Spanish colonial days is now referred to as Tex-Mex. It is an amalgamation of their tradition, culture and different influences and, therefore, there is no confusion that the latter is authentic north Mexican food. But there are others who greatly differ from this point of view and opine that Tex-Mex is merely hybrid American fast food.
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Mexican food is diverse and dates back to the Aztec Empire. Yet, a substantial population of the world attribute only Taco Bell and Chipotle to Mexican cuisine and completely overlook nachos, burritos and tacos, which is Tex-Mex food, as being integral to the traditional food from Mexico.
A Mexican preparation, like Taco, widely differs in the way it is prepared in different parts of Mexico, due to the varied ingredients and condiments that are added to it. Unlike the steamed or slightly grilled version of the soft and small Tacos and one’s own choice of meat, like chicken, beef, pork or seafood that is typical to the other parts of Mexico, North Mexican Tacos are hard-shelled with tomatoes, avocadoes, iceberg lettuce, chopped onions, home-made salsa dip and spiced beef added to it and then garnished with cilantro and fresh lime juice. In sharp contrast to the fresh white cheese or cream that is preferred for the taco in most parts of Mexico, Tex-Mex food is incomplete without several scoops of sour cream.
If you are a food enthusiast who is yet to dunk your hands in the hot, crunchy and refreshingly gooey flavours of Tex-Mex cuisine, you cannot be far behind. It’s time to indulge in a gastronomic Tex-Mex meal, right?