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The Rise of Mexican Cuisine in America

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July 21, 2023

Mexican cuisine has experienced a remarkable resurgence in America, captivating the palates of food enthusiasts nationwide. From traditional street food to modern interpretations, the vibrant flavors, rich history, and diverse regional dishes have found their place on menus across the country. In fact, 49,365 Mexican restaurant businesses are currently operating in the U.S., a 2.4 percent increase from 2022. 

Whether you want to open your own taqueria, add new flavors to your menu, or just want to find the best restaurant to eat yourself, there’s no doubt that Mexican cuisine has continually grown in cultural significance across America.

The Influence of Mexican Cuisine on the U.S. Food Scene

It’s no secret that aspects of Mexican cuisine are ubiquitous in the U.S. From Margarita Mondays to Taco Tuesdays and Fajita Fridays, Mexican food terms are mainstream. However, the influence of Mexican flavor and culture over the years goes far beyond food marketing.

The Rise of Food Carts

The number of food carts has grown in recent years. Up-and-coming chefs and established restaurants both have their hands in the mobile-kitchen market. The origins can be traced back to Mexican traditions. From the 1870s to the 1940s, tamale vendors in Mexico sold these masa-based meals on street corners. However, in Los Angeles, tamale sellers would use large wagons, expanding their menu to include tacos and stews. Over time, those wagons became motorized food trucks and the food truck culture we are familiar with now was born.

Popular Plant-Based Dishes

Flexitarian and plant-based lifestyles have become popular in the food industry in the past several years. Some of the staple ingredients found in Mexican recipes—beans, rice, and fruit—are naturally vegan, influencing many meat-free dishes. According to Feast, Mexican was the number one cuisine type for Veganuary (the yearly, 31-day vegan challenge).

Mexican Cuisine Food Trends

With global-fusion cuisine being a customer favorite in culinary circles, adding some Mexican fare to your existing menus can reach curious customers. Here are a few ingredients with south-of-the-border flavors that are easy to add to any menu!

Chorizo: Mexican chorizo is layered with flavor! Aromatic clove and cinnamon are combined with a variety of chilies, paprika, and other spices. Make it into patties for a unique breakfast sandwich, add it to a burger for an extra kick, or crumble it over a southwestern-inspired salad. 

Want a plant-based option? Simply season tofu or soy crumbles with your version of the spice mix. 

Cotija Cheese: Cotija is an aged cow milk cheese with a salty bite and crumbly texture. It’s excellent in salads, as a taco topper, and sprinkled over black beans. Its epicurean applications don’t end there, however. Cotija resembles feta, so you can use it in Greek and Mediterranean dishes. Why not try it as a cool twist on pesto?

Avocado: There’s no denying that guacamole is a popular dip. The global guacamole market was valued at $1376.4 million in 2023. Avocados, the main ingredient in guac, are also a significant component of many Mexican dishes. This green fruit is readily incorporated into any menu, whether you smash them into a happy hour dip, add them to burgers, or make a vegetarian eggs benedict.

Carne Asada: A classic taco filling, carne asada, is succulent thinly sliced beef. Create your own Taco Tuesday special, offer it as an add-on for burritos, or dish it up with potatoes for a surprising version of steak and potatoes.

Tamales: You don’t have to spend prep hours perfecting the perfect masa-to-filling ratio to take advantage of tamale trends. Your restaurant supply store has tamales on hand that just need to be steamed and plated. Serve them with a side salad for a lunch dish. For a heartier meal, layer them in a casserole dish with cheese and chile for a dinner-time tamale bake.

Wholesale Bulk Food Suppliers for Popular World Cuisines

Keep food costs in check while offering guests global flavors they love! Stock up on all your global-inspired ingredients at US Foods CHEF’STORE. We stock high-quality meats, seafood, fresh produce, beans and grains, and more. 

Check our exceptional products online or visit one of our convenient locations near you. No membership required!

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