How Different Is Mexican Food in America

It’s easy to fall in love with Mexican food. The fresh, flavorful ingredients offer an exciting cuisine. With the touch of spice, Mexican food is easily a popular favorite for many. However, Mexican food involves more than just tacos and salsa. 

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the differences between authentic Mexican food and Mexican food in America.

Traditional Mexican Food vs. Tex-Mex

Many dishes which are classified as authentic Mexican dishes are in fact, Tex-Mex. The list includes burritos, hard shell tacos, Mexican cheese, salsa in jars, and fajitas.

The American variants use many ingredients you won’t find in traditional Mexican dishes. Tex-Mex is a cuisine hailing from Texas and other areas bordering Mexico.

The inspiration for these dishes comes from traditional Mexican food, but the American version has a narrower list of essential ingredients. Some Tex-Mex recipes also incorporate Mediterranean and Spanish flavors, which you won’t find in Mexican originals. Authentic Mexican dishes are also spicier than their US counterparts. 

Here are some of the differences between these two cuisines.

Soft vs. Hard Shell Tacos

American tacos have hard shells, while the originals from Mexico have a soft tortilla. The Tex-Mex version is larger in size and uses iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, and spiced beef. On the other hand, the original is smaller and uses a variety of meat and may also include seafood.

Mexican Cheese

When you see Mexican cheese in the grocery store, you can be sure it’s not authentic. How can you know it’s the real deal? The original is white, tangy, and nuanced because they’re used to balance the spiciness of the peppers many Mexicans love

Burritos Or Wheat Flour Tacos AKA Tacos de Harina

The burrito we all enjoy today is an American invention. It’s huge, filling, complete with rice, beans, sour cream and every other ingredient. The original recipe inspiring it is called tacos de Harina or wheat flour tacos, which hail from Mexico’s deep south. Tacos de Harina uses seafood or meat with chiles, white cheese, beans, and rice.

Pico de Gallo Not Salsa

It should be evident the bottled salsa from the store isn’t the original pico de gallo from Mexico. The original recipe is spicy, flavorful and fresh. Unique, authentic ingredients include cilantro and a mix of chopped vegetables.

Chilaquiles or Nachos?

Yes, you’ll find nachos in Mexico. However, the original recipe that served as the inspiration for this dish is the humble Chilaquiles.

Chilaquiles are also known as breakfast nachos. These are fried tortillas often served with a fried egg and simmered with salsa – the original one, not the bottled variants. Enjoy these lightly fried quarter corned tortillas with some pulled chicken. They also go well with refried beans if it’s the only thing you’ve got in the fridge.


The word fajita means “little strip,” which refers to the strips of beef or chicken served with this dish. The word only appeared in print beginning in 1971. Food historians believe the recipe originated in West and South Texas in the 1930s.

The original Mexican recipe inspiring the fajita’s creation is called the Cochinita Pibil. It’s slow-roasted pork with more meat than just the strips in the Tex-Mex dish. The pork for the Cochinita Pibil is marinated in juice extracted from citrus fruits. It’s then colored using annatto seeds and lastly, wrapped in banana leaves.


The American and Mexican enchiladas closely resemble each other, which is some point of agreement between the two cuisines. The US version has more ground beef and may use gravy. The original has less meat and goes perfectly with vegetables.

Experience Authentic Mexican Food At Benito’s Restaurant

Now you know the differences between Tex-Mex and traditional Mexican food, it’s time for you to experience what the original tastes like. Benito’s Restaurant has been serving authentic Mexican recipes since 1981. We are also famous for serving legendary margaritas, which go well with our authentic recipes. Book now and enjoy the traditional dishes of Mexico today.