Nov 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

The growing global reach of Mexican food

England, London, Shoreditch, Spitafields Market, Mexican Food Stall
Mexican food stall, Spitaields Market, Shoreditch, London Photo: Dukas/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Over the last decade, the reach of Mexican food and Mexican restaurants has grown globally thanks to its popularity and social media.

Why it matters: Mexican food, with its diverse cuisine from different regions of the country, has always adapted wherever people from the diaspora land, but the foods' latest evolutions are giving clues about Mexican global migration.

Details: In recent years, Mexican restaurants with Mexican or Mexican American chefs have popped up in London and France.

  • Mexican food trucks have been spotted in Berlin, while Tokyo has seen a jump in fusion Mexican restaurants.
  • The food arrival coincides with new Latino American migration to areas like London's Elephant and Castle, where Latinos are starting businesses in places where they previously have not been.

Yes, but: Sometimes restaurants and food enthusiasts don't have access to traditional ingredients, cheese or meats.

  • Restaurants must improvise with other local cuisines or those from other nearby immigrants, giving birth to new foods, José R. Ralat, taco editor at Texas Monthly, told Axios.
  • "This is the story of Mexican food. It evolves and shapeshifts."

But, but, but: That evolution sometimes draws angry responses from purists who complain the food is losing its authentic roots.

The intrigue: Mexican food in the U.S. is also experiencing its own evolution as creators experiment with fusing Indian, Korean and African American cuisine.

  • The popular Blacxican Cocina food truck in Albuquerque, N.M., combines Mexican and Soul food that mixes spices from the American South with those from Mexico.
  • “Deli-Mex” restaurants in Los Angeles and Brooklyn produce kosher tacos —peppery barbecue brisket pastrami charred with green salsa.
  • One can also find Indo-Mex, or Desi-Tex, tacos in Houston, where restaurants use aloo tikki, sag paneer and curries.

Don't forget: Some early Mexican immigrants to Texas in the 1900s didn't have access to ingredients for enchiladas or other dishes familiar in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosí.

  • They instead used cheaper yellow cheese and incorporated cuisine from African Americans and German immigrants to create Tex-Mex, a working-class immigrant version of Mexican food in Texas.

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