Chances are, you’ve eaten Tex-Mex at some point in your life. As a Texas-based company, we know that most Texans are raised on Tex-Mex in some form or fashion. The majority of Mexican restaurants in the United States are serving Tex-Mex food, an American take on the classic, traditional Mexican food culture.
Tex-Mex only came on the scene after Americans began migrating west towards areas like Texas and encountered Mexican culture and cuisine. Naturally, the popularity of Mexican food grew from there ( no surprise there!). American restaurants began to adapt many Mexican cooking techniques into their dishes to appeal to a broader customer base.
Four Differences Between Traditional Mexican Food and Tex-Mex
The difference comes down to the types of ingredients used. Many ingredients that are abundant in the US and used in Tex-Mex dishes are not very common in Mexico or anywhere in South America. Below, we’re outlining a few of the key differences:
- One of the first marks of Tex-Mex food is the use of yellow cheese. In Mexico, only white cheese is used. Not surprisingly, queso dip is, in fact, a Tex-Mex classic and not a traditional Mexican food.
- Different spices are used. Cumin is a very popular spice in Tex-Mex dishes as well as other common American dishes. In Mexico, traditional spices include cacao, cilantro, chile peppers, and epazote instead.
- According to Thrillist, if there is beef in one of your favorite dishes, it’s likely to be Tex-Mex. In the state of Texas especially, beef is one of the most commonly consumed meat proteins, so it makes sense that this protein was added to Tex-Mex dishes. However, it’s hardly used in most traditional Mexican dishes, which typically incorporate chicken, pork, and fish.
- Flour tortillas are strictly Tex-Mex, while traditional Mexican dishes exclusively use corn tortillas. The larger flour tortillas common in Tex-Mex act as a vehicle for lots of ingredients, while corn tortillas are much smaller, with some dish components eaten on the side using a fork.
Tex-Mex Food Stands Out
Tex-Mex food is filled with fiery and bold flavors. It’s a standout cuisine within Southwestern culture in American. Part of what makes Tex-Mex so popular and unique is the fusion of several different cultures, from traditional Mexican culture to the original Tejano’s (natives to South Texas). The budding new cuisine is a popular inspiration for some of our dishes here at Snap Kitchen, including our Beef Enchilada Bake, Chicken Tinga with Fire-Roasted Corn, and Chicken Burrito Bowl with Avocado Salsa. Enjoy our healthy spin on these classic Tex-Mex dishes!