Tex-Mex, Cal-Tex, or Mexican Food: Where is Real Mexican Food?

mexican restaurant San Diego

Of all of the things that people might worry about, many folks have very strong opinions about the state or region that produces the best version of Mexican food. This argument is kind of ironic. After all, any of these versions of the cuisine of Mexico are usually only loosely based upon the original blend of Spanish and native American food.

mexican restaurant San Diego

The original native Mexican food did include familiar items like beans and peppers. However, the Spanish contributed meat and cheese to the menu. But still, the debate rages on about people’s preferences for enjoying their dinner at a mexican restaurant San Diego or in San Antonio or in Saltillo. Some folks are even offended when they see Cal-Tex or Tex-Mex dishes on the menu right beside original dishes from one of the regions of Mexico.

What’s the Difference Between Tex-Mex and Cal-Mex?

mexican restaurant San Diego

It might surprise some American fans of this cuisine that many of their favorites were invented in the United States and not Mexico. Some popular examples are fajitas and nachos. Actually, these dishes might be found in Mexican restaurants that are actually in Mexico, but that is because they migrated south and not north. This is mostly important because some Californians, for example, claim that their version of Mexican food is more authentic than the Texas version.

mexican restaurant San Diego

Of course, Mexicans should be able to claim that their own local food is the most authentic. However, even different regions of this country have their own local cuisine. In fact, some authoritative cookbooks on regional variations of Mexican food include the Southwestern United States as a region. Some break that up even further into Texas, California, and other southwestern states.

So, even many experts on different regional cuisines in Mexico will say that the lines are beginning to blur. Many popular inventions, including¬†chimichangas and fajitas, were invented in Texas. Technically, these are Tex-Mex and not Mexican dishes. However, most of them were invented by chefs and cooks of Mexican descent who were well schooled in the cuisine of their parent’s or grandparent’s country. Food has also evolved inside of Mexico over time, so it does not seem like the debate should be about authenticity but just about what tastes good.

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