Taco Bell: 5 Dishes From America’s Favorite Mexican Restaurant That Would Be Unthinkable In Mexico: One of the things that we Mexicans who live in another country miss the most is food. Unless we live near a large community of countrymen, where the right foods and condiments are available, we are limited to what Mexican food restaurants offer us.
In America, there are thousands of options, but a poll by The Harriss Poll published this month indicates that the favorite of Americans is Taco Bell. Although this fast-food chain does not declare itself “Mexican”, but “inspired” by the wide gastronomy of that country, for many US inhabitants it is a reference to our culture.
Proof of this is that The Harriss Poll, the firm that has produced this survey for 30 years, places Taco Bell in the category of “Mexican” restaurants. Leading that index. “Taco Bell has gained ground with innovative product offerings, serving breakfast and creative selections such as the Mexican Crispy Chicken Pizza and the Naked Egg Taco,” said the American consultant.
Reading that in the statement, “innovative products”, was what caught my attention. Because any stomach connoisseur of Mexican “antojitos” – the traditional dishes sold in both expensive restaurants and street stalls – knows that many dishes on the Taco Bell menu would never be found in Mexico.
The “innovation” and “reinvention” of its menu, as a spokesperson for the chain told BBC Mundo, is very peculiar. That is why we decided to try some of their culinary proposals and we verified that the creation of “Mexican” dishes is, let’s say. .. remove imaginative.
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1. Crunchy Tacos
In Mexico, there may be hundreds of varieties of tacos, but there is something that would hardly be among your options: a “crunchy” tortilla. Taco Bell offers traditional tacos with tortilla (which they call “shell”) made of “soft” flour, the most similar to that of a Mexican taco.
But the favorite is not that, but the Crunchy Taco. “Of the 2,000 million tacos and 1,000 million burritos called for in Taco Bell every year, the most popular dish menu is the Crunchy Original Taco,” said a spokesman for Taco Bell told the BBC.
Content aside, perhaps the most unusual thing about Taco Bell’s flagship product is the tortilla. Its “shell” is crunchy, what Mexicans would call a tostada.
The company says its popularity with Americans is because it is “constantly reinventing” its menu. And in that they distance themselves from us: a taco made with a folded toast is something that simply does not exist in Mexico.
2. Cheesy Chubby Crunch
The menu at Taco Bell restaurants is closer to “Tex-Mex” food, such as ground beef, chili as salsa, flour tortillas, heavy sour cream, and the use of cheddar cheese, than to Mexican cuisine. But it certainly takes some Mexican “antojitos” and fuses them, like the Cheesy Gordita Crunch.
It is an imitation of Mexican gordita -although it has a resemblance and taste more similar to pita bread than to a thick corn tortilla- folded, which serves as the base to keep a crunchy shell taco inside. A gordita is the Mexican cousin of arepas, a dough made with cornmeal with a circular shape, which keeps cheese, beans, meat, or another filling inside.
“Culinary innovations don’t always completely transform the way we eat, yet Cheesy Chubby Crunch has become a staple of our personality at Taco Bell,” reads the description of this dish.
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Without a doubt, this “specialty” is one of the most extreme innovations on the menu and the furthest from Mexican culture, since in Mexico a chubby girl does not bend, much less is it used to contain a taco inside. The chubby girl has her own personality, she doesn’t need to marry a taco.
3. Chalupa Supreme
The Taco Bell menu shows that most of its dishes seek to be in the shape of a taco or burrito, and the Chalupa Supreme did not escape the trend. In Mexico, a chalupa is a thick fried corn tortilla on which a base of sauce or beans is added and on top a variety of vegetables with chicken or meat.
Finding the Chalupa Supreme at Taco Bell was a great surprise. And it is that the restaurant itself says that it is a “flatbread”, that is, it is not properly a tortilla but something closer to pita bread or naan, which is folded to form a taco.
The concept of this dish is “magic” according to Taco Bell: “Once the flatbread is fried, suddenly you have a shell that mysteriously makes a chewy and crunchy pairing. Witchcraft and pure perfection.” For the Mexican palate, this dish is certainly witchcraft and it gives us to reflect on whether it is white or black magic.
4. Mexican pizza
Pizza is not a dish originally from Mexico, but many pizzerias in the country do offer different varieties with foods from Mexican cuisines, such as jalapeños, avocado, beans, and even taco meat as “pastor”. The alternative version of Taco Bell, the Mexican pizza, is … eye-catching.
It is a flour tortilla with meat and beans, with another flour tortilla on top, which supports a layer of gratin cheese and chopped tomatoes. For the restaurant chain, this recipe is a “loving and delicious child of Italian and Mexican cuisine.”
The truth is that the invention has the flavor of nachos and is more reminiscent of a synchronized one (two tortillas with cheese and other side dishes inside) than a pizza.
5. Triple Double Crunchwrap
Taco Bell is not a newbie in the business. Entrepreneur Glen Bell opened the first of these restaurants in California in 1962, and today the chain has more than 7,000 locations throughout the United States, plus 250 in 10 other countries.
The reinvention of its menu over the years is something that consultancy The Harriss Poll highlights about this fast-food chain. And the Triple Double Crunch wrap is perhaps one of the most striking “innovations”.
Burritos (” wraps “, its American equivalent) are one of the foods geographically closest to the United States, as they are a traditional dish of the border states of northern Mexico. Taco Bell joined the burritos with toasts, more consumed in central and southern Mexico, to create the Triple Double Crunchwrap.
They are two inverted floors of tostadas -fried tortilla- with meat and cheese, with the third floor of lettuce and chopped tomato and cream, all wrapped in a flour tortilla that forms a burrito. Something unimaginable and perhaps impossible to find in a restaurant or street stall in Mexico.
Asked by BBC Mundo about these gastronomic combinations, the Taco Bell spokesperson explained that the chain always tries to find “ways to innovate and flavor traditional Mexican-inspired food with a touch of Taco Bell .” Stay connected with Tellthebell.ninja for the latest news on the taco bell store.