6 Myths about Mexican Food – and Why You Shouldn’t Believe Them

Published on April 7, 2021

Mexican food is becoming increasingly popular across the globe. While many people like Mexican food, not a lot of people are familiar with some basic facts about it. This has led to some common misconceptions that stop people from fully appreciating the rich cultural heritage and traditional methods that are the backbone of Mexican cuisine. 

If you’ve always wanted to learn more about Mexican food and better understand the background and history of various Mexican dishes, you’ve come to the right place! Read on to see why some common myths about Mexican food simply aren’t true.

1. All Mexican food is spicy

Do you know someone who avoids Mexican food because “it’s too hot”? Well, you can let them know that not all Mexican food is in fact spicy, and it’s quite easy to find dishes that are not hot at all. It’s true that Mexican cuisine uses chilis a lot, but not all chili peppers are spicy, and not every dish includes them. Poblano peppers and bell peppers, for example, are not spicy at all.

Many Mexican restaurants are aware that not everyone can handle spiciness – and take care to serve dishes that aren’t spicy at all. If someone does one to make their dish hot, they can opt to add salsa. Most restaurants have several types of salsa with varying spiciness levels, so you can ask your server what they recommend. At Quesada you can find three types of salsa on our menu: chipotle-tomato (mild), salsa verde (medium), and salsa roja (hot) – so you can pick one of those, or just avoid salsa altogether.

2. Hard-shell tacos are Mexican

Did you know hard shell tacos were an American invention? In 1954, Glen Bell, the founder of Taco Bell, developed an original take on regular Mexican tacos, and invented the hard shell taco, thinking that it would appeal to American lovers of Mexican food. And he wasn’t wrong – hard shell tacos are popular to this day. At Quesada we offer both soft shell and hard shell tacos, so you can choose the type you prefer.

3. All Mexican food is tortilla-related

It may sometimes appear that a lot of Mexican dishes include tortillas (burritos, tacos, quesadillas and so on), and it’s true that many of them do – but not all Mexican cuisine is based on tortillas. Mexican cuisine is incredibly rich and diverse, and every region in Mexico has its own unique dishes. Some tasty Mexican dishes that are not tortilla-based include chili con carne, tamales, lima soup, torta ahogada (spicy pork sandwich), elote (Mexican corn on a cob), pozole (a pork or chicken stew), chicken mole – and the list goes on.

4. All Mexican food is street food

Is all Mexican food street food? Absolutely not! A lot of Mexican fast food is inspired by street food, that is true. Many of the Mexican food items that have become popularized worldwide  like burritos, tacos, tamales, tostadas, empanads, etc. originate from street vendors and roadside carts in Mexico. However, many traditional recipes are elaborate creations using unique ingredients, and are served in upscale Mexican restaurants. 

5. Nachos are an authentic Mexican food

This might come as a shock, but nachos are not, in fact, authentically Mexican. If you travel to Mexico, you would not find nachos in authentic Mexican restaurants – but you might find them in movie theatres and Tex-Mex restaurants. The history of the invention of nachos is quite fascinating. They were invented in Mexico – but targeted at American diners.

In 1943, a Mexican restauranteur in the village of Piedras Negras by the name of Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya, needed to whip up a quick snack for a group of US military wives who were visiting. So he fried some tortillas and served them with jalapeno peppers and grated cheese. With Pedras Negras being just across the border from Texas, nachos quickly became popular in Texas, and from there spread to the rest of the US. Eventually, nachos evolved into the corn chips we all know and love and are served with a variety of delicious toppings.

6. Mexican food is fat and greasy

Perhaps the most frustrating myth of all is that Mexican food is high in fat and unhealthy. While dishes like burritos and nachos can easily become calorie-rich (depending on the toppings and fillings added), it is also fairly simple to make them healthier, by opting for lots of veggies and going easy on the cheese and sour cream. Also, Mexican cuisine has plenty of very healthy dishes, like soups, salads, dishes based on steamed fish, and more. 

In Quesada, we want to make it easier for you to make healthy choices while enjoying the flavours of Mexican cuisine. When choosing a meal on our menu, you can use the nutritional calculator to get the complete nutritional info for that meal. You can also easily view the ingredients in each component of the dish – whether it’s black beans, spicy chicken, guacamole or one of our sauces.

Has reading this post made you hungry? Maybe it’s time for you to order your favourite Mexican dish!