Authentic Mexican Menus, Decoded
Truly authentic Mexican food is an important feature of the menu at Benito’s Mexican Restaurant. In order to make your experience as genuine as possible, we use many Spanish words that are often used when referring to traditional Mexican food.
In this article, we translate many of these Spanish words for native English speakers. In addition, we give a brief explanation of some of the more popular dishes within each menu section.
Ensalada Menu Section
The Spanish word ensalada means “salad” in English. While traditional salads emphasize vegetables, Mexican salads tend to focus more on the inclusion of beans, cheese, and meat.
All of the salads at Benito’s come with Monterrey Jack cheese, black beans, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, and avocado slices. Customers have the option of choosing either shredded or ground beef, a beef or chicken fajita option, and a shrimp or ceviche option.
The term “fajita” stems from the Spanish word faja, which means “strip” in English. Thus, fajitas are strips of meat that are served on a tortilla.
The term “ceviche” is thought to stem from the Latin word cibus, which translates to “food.”It is commonly spelled cebiche in Mexico and usually refers to raw fish that has been cured in citrus juices and topped with chili peppers.
Enchiladas Menu Section
The Spanish word “enchilada” is a variation of the Spanish verb enchillar which means “to season with chili.” It refers to a corn tortilla rolled around a filling and then drizzled with chili pepper sauce.
All of the enchiladas at Benito’s Mexican restaurant come with pico de gallo, which translates to “rooster’s beak.” This is because people initially ate it by pinching pieces of this Mexican food between their thumb and forefinger.
There are several terms in this section of the menu that are in Spanish. We have included translations below.
1. chili con carne – “chili with beef”
2. con mole rojo / verde – “with red / green mole” (a sauce usually containing a fruit, nut, spices, and a chili pepper)
3. enchiladas suizas – “swiss enchiladas” (referring to the extensive use of dairy)
Tacos Menu Section
This section of the menu at Benito’s Mexican restaurant contains many terms that we have translated below.
1. Tacos de carne deshebrada en harina o maiz – “shredded beef tacos in flour or corn (tortilla)”
2. Tacos de picadillo – “minced (meat) tacos”
3. Tacos de barbacoa – “barbecue tacos,” referring to slow cooked meat with strong flavor and high-fat
4. Tacos de pollo – “chicken tacos”
5. Tacos de puerco en salsa verde – “pork tacos in green sauce.” Salsa verde refers to a sauce centered around tomatillos, as well as the traditional onions and chili peppers
Comidas Corridas Menu Section
The term “corridas” translates to “run.” Thus, the term comidas corridas refers to a Mexican, late afternoon meal of small dishes that are usually cheap and quick.
In addition, this section of the menu at Benito’s Mexican restaurant features many Spanish words which we have translated or explain below.
Tamales – stems from ancient Aztec language. It refers to a dish made from dough that has been steamed in a corn husk or banana leaf. Fillings vary.
1. Milanesa – “breaded”
2. Codorniz a la Mexicana – “Mexican quail”
3. Frijoles – “beans” – Charro is a traditional Mexican horseman, so frijoles charros is a dish named after these horsemen.
4. Camarones – “prawns”
5. Tamal Oaxaqueno – Oaxacan tamales, referring to the Oaxaca state of southern Mexico
6. Adobo sauce – a spicy sauce
Pescado Menu Section
Pescado translates to “fish.” Most of the Spanish words in this section, like Veracruzana and Yucateco refer to regions in Mexico, specifically Veracruz and Yucatan.
Guisados Menu Section
Guisados translates to “stew”. We have translated some Spanish words from this section of the menu below.
1. Res – “beef”
2. Calabacitas – zucchini
3. Pechuga de pollo frita – fried chicken breast
4. Higado – liver
Caldos Menu Section
Caldos translates to “broths” while sopa translates to “soup.” Some Spanish words from this section are translated below.
1. Pozole – “hominy,” typically served as a celebratory dish
2. Menudo – a kind of soup made with beef stomach
Desayunos Menu Section
Desayunos translates to “breakfast.” Some Spanish words from this section are translated below.
1. Chuletas de puerco – “pork chops”
2. Huevos rancheros – “rancher’s eggs,” referring to a traditional breakfast served on rural Mexican farms
3. Chorizo – “sausage”
4. Chilaquiles – traditional Mexican dish stemming from Nahuatl word
5. Papas – “potatoes”
6. Migas – “crumbs,” refers to traditional breakfast dish featuring crispy corn tortillas with scrambled eggs
7. Machacado – “shredded”
We hope this article has made the menu at Bonito’s easier to understand. Ultimately, the only way to truly understand these dishes is to come in to our Mexican restaurant and try them yourself. We guarantee that you will leave feeling satisfied, full, and culturally enlightened due to our many Mexican food options.
Come into Benito’s Mexican restaurant for authentic Mexican food today!