Are There Different Kinds of Mexican Food?

Dear Readers: Nearly four years after promising ustedes that I was going to write a book about the history of Mexican food in the United States, my Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America is getting released this week! April 10! Three-hundred-plus pages of astounding history (did you know the first famous Mexican-food restaurateur was Buffalo Bill Cody?) and avaricious gabachos making millions off the foodstuff of anonymous Mexis! I'll most likely be invading your town soon with a trunkful of books. Find out about book signings at my website.

In honor of this momentous occasion, we turn the columna over to comida.

Dear Mexican: Am I the only one who gets ticked off when I see all these food trucks riding around selling Korean, Chinese, Brazilian, etc., food when all I see when I look at the menu is Mexican food? They'll mostly sell burritos, tacos, quesadillas, etc. I thought whites were the only ones who appropriate Mexican food when they try to claim chili (con carne) as their own.

—Lonchera Lover

Dear Wab: If the luxe loncheras that now dominate America's big metro regions really wanted to disappear the Mexican roots of their comida, they wouldn't be serving burritos, tacos or quesadillas. Instead, all I ever see them do is change the first part of the name but keep the Mexi vessel. The only problem you should have with these luxe loncheras are the efforts by bureaucrats and wimpy restaurant owners to shut down them and their Mexi hermanos — other than that, if you don't like gabas going Mexi with their food, find the lonchera with the two-tacos-for-a-buck and a free drink.

Various regions of the U.S. are known for specific styles of food. Seeing as how Mexico is a pretty expansive nation as well, I wondered how regional specialties might vary.

—Looking for More than a Combo Plate

Dear Gabacho: Space doesn't permit the Mexican to list the multitude of regional varieties of Mexican food in the motherland, so I'll instead give a shout-out to my compa, Bill Esparza, a professional musician by trade who moonlights as America's greatest expert on regional Mexican treats on his blog, Street Gourmet LA (streetgourmetla.com) This is a man who has been smuggling gabachos into Baja California to eat the dazzling food of that region long before Rick Bayless knew the difference between aguachile and chile con carne.

 
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