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Why Don't Mexicans Like Mexican Restaurants?
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Dear Mexican: I love ethnic foods, and I always ask people of ethnic origins which local restaurants they like to eat at. Whenever I ask a Mexican what Mexican restaurants they like best, the answer is always “I don’t like the way any of them make their food.” I live in Phoenix, which has a Mexican restaurant on every corner that is run by Mexicans. Don’t tell me that they all Americanize their food for us gabachas. What gives?

Fajita-less In Phoenix

Dear Gabacha: Phoenix and the cities around it have a great Mexican food scene, from the alta cocina fare at Barrio Café to the Globe-style buttered burritos at Casa Reynoso in Tempe and un chingo of Sonoran eateries with their fabulous caldo de queso, the greatest soup on Earth. But it’s never good enough for Mexicans. Oh, we’ll go out to eat at Mexican spots, but no one can cook like their mami or primos during a carne asada Sunday, and especially not in el Norte because…well, because, okay? Don’t question Mexicans! Such Mexican arrogance filters down to our soccer squad—and now you know why El Tri won’t ever get to even the semifinals of the FIFA World Cup until Cuauhtémoc himself becomes our forward. And I’m not talking about Blanco…

I moved to the United States 15 years ago from Mexico as a student and now I am a full U.S. citizen with a great job. However, now that I’m married (also a Mexican girl that also came to the US with a student visa) and we have a son born here. I’m aware of the several challenges he will have to face in his life as a Mexican-American. I would like to prepare myself and read all I can so I can help him develop without any traumas and complexes so he can be a happy individual.

Atento en Austin


Dear Attentive in Austin: N’ombre, you realize that EVERY kid born of Mexican parents in the United States comes out immediately fucked up in the caveza? Not only do the Americans consider him a perpetual potential wetback, the Mexican relatives will always ridicule how un-Mexican he is. He also gets marked with the psychological baggage of being from ni de aquí ni de allá (neither from here nor there) and having to live up that legendary quote in Selena by the Tex-Mex martyr’s fictional father: “We have to be more Mexican than the Mexicans and more American than the Americans, both at the same time! It’s exhausting!” I mean, pioneering Mexican anthropologist Manuel Gamio was writing about this pathology back in 1930 when he introduced “pocho” to the world in his Mexican Immigration to the United States. So while you are a good papi to want and help him navigate los Estados Unidos as a Mexican-American, know that it’ll be harder to get him to adulthood without any psychological baggage than it is to get Americans to give a shit about all the dead in Mexico’s drug wars caused by their love of heroin.


The other day, I was listening to the morning show of a popular Los Angeles rock station, and their caller contest was “worst smells,” or something along those lines. A caller referred to his involvement as a military “adviser” to some unnamed South or Central American nation, and spoke of the horrible smells of the charred remains of Sandinistas, jungle, and napalm, post-U.S. air strike. The giddy DJ’s then reveled in the idea of smoldering Sandinistas as though they were a plate of sizzling hot fajitas. Seeing as the most popular slurs for Latinos involve food, is it safe to assume that most gabachos are really just closet Hannibal the Cannibals?

Gabachas Love to Eat Me

Dear Pocho: Nah, they’re It, shape-shifting according to our fears. Learn from the Losers, and ignore them—they ain’t nothing but payasos, anyway!


Ask the Mexican at [email protected], be his fan on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

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  1. It might have been the char-broiled nuns in El Salvador.

  2. MarkinLA says:

    What gives?

    Americans lock up and license their dogs.

    Mexican restraurants in the US have to rely on beef bought from grocery and restaurant supply stores for what passes for beef in authentic Mexican restaurants.

    • Replies: @Chuck in Texas
  3. So Americans’ love of heroin is the cause of Mexico’s drug wars. Their love is so strong, it reaches out and forces the Mexicans to provide the heroin!

  4. Ivy Mike says:

    Can’t be happy if you don’t also have traumas and complexes to deal with.
    And, honestly, the trauma and complexes most American kids have to deal with are laughable. Real world traumas and complexes are stuff like dying of diarrhea or being forced to become a child soldier, or both.

  5. “I’m aware of the several challenges he will have to face in his life as a Mexican-American”

    WTF are you talking about? Nobody I know thinks like this. Don’t you ever grow tired of playing the victim all day every day?

    It’s like race relations in the USA have gone back to square one and the current crop doesn’t have a fucking clue what real racism is. REAL racism is “help wanted, no blacks, no Irish”

    I for one am sick of the whining , crying and finger pointing.

    • Replies: @marck
  6. marck says:

    If it’s so traumatic, stay home FFS.

    • Replies: @interesting
  7. Pepe says:

    buttered burritos

    Oh my God, this guy continues to show how clueless he is about all things Mexican….

  8. Authentic Mexican food includes iguana. Give me the Americanized Mexican food any day!

  9. You guys are more American than the Mexicans and more Mexican than the Americans.

  10. @marck

    I’m not the one whining, crying and finger pointing……and who said anything about trauma FFS?

  11. WJ says:

    One might assume that Unz puts this guy on his web site to stoke anti Mexican immigrant feelings. Each response is full of whiny victimhood and intense racial resentment. Perhaps he is a good representative of the Mexican American attitude towards this country. If so, then DACA needs to be thwarted at all costs.

  12. Jmaie says:
    @the one they call Desanex

    Well, Americans stop buying heroin and the violence in Mexico stops.

    Simple market economics. It’s pretty arrogant of the US to create the demand and then figure it’s Mexico’s responsibility to eliminate the supply.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  13. tapatio says:

    I lived/taught in Guadalajara for several years. Go into any mercado or tianguis in Mexico and you will find better quality ingredients than can be purchased in the US. Queso Oaxaca, chorizo, meat for birria and on and on. Don’t even hope for fresh vegetables. The meat is frozen. The carniceria where we shopped in Guadalajara was owned by the brother of the man who owned the ranch where the beef and pork were raised. The butcher would have chased you out of his shop if you asked about frozen meat.

    Once you’ve become accustomed to proper Mexican food. American substitutes and “Tex-Mex” taste like Mexican STYLE TV dinners…………garbage.

    • Replies: @bjondo
  14. bjondo says:

    u.s. go getters
    have talent to turn gold into rust
    art into garbage
    food into sh*t

  15. Why don’t Mexicans like Mexican restaurants?

    My guess is that Mexicans hate Mexican restaurants that have a Mexican staff, because Mexican staff are infamous for adulterating food.

    Some food adulterations are due to poor personal hygiene, i.e. failure to wash hands.

    Other food adulterations are due to willful and spiteful criminal activities, i.e. Mexican perverts and hate toward a customer.

    It’s the hot Latin blood that makes them do it.

  16. my Anglo dad was actually a better all around cook than mi madre. but he couldn’t cook Mexican food worth a lick. she made a killer turkey mole and to this day i make enchiladas the way she did. just sauce, onions, and cheese, no meat. i always make a tray without onions for my daughter who does not care for them. one year mom’s sister came to visit for Christmas and they made a boatload of tamales. too labor intensive for me. her brother visited once and made a pot of the most incredible menudo i ever had. my mom’s was pretty good but his was great.

    living in Chicagoland there are plenty of taquerias around even out here in lily white Du Page county. but when i want to check out a restaurant i will ask if they make their own menudo. if they don’t have it on their menu, i usually will pass on the place. some places only make it on the weeekend. but that’s my subjective test for Mexican food.

    • Replies: @interesting
  17. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “It’s pretty arrogant of the US to create the demand and then figure it’s Mexico’s responsibility to eliminate the supply.”

    And it’s every bit as arrogant to accept the financial benefits of being the supplier, and then whine about the drawbacks your decision has brought.

  18. @enemy of earth

    “make enchiladas the way she did. just sauce, onions, and cheese, no meat.”

    I love Mexican food and eat enchiladas at least once a week but enchiladas without meat is like a cheeseburger without meat…….which I guess is really just a grilled cheese sandwich. I probably eat Mexican 3 times a week. AND, i Think you can tell a good Mexican place by their beans… joke there and also by how many Mexicans are in the place.

    A friend has this joke…..why do Mexicans have tamales for Christmas?
    To give the kids something to open.

    • Replies: @enemy of earth
  19. @the one they call Desanex

    forces the Mexicans to provide the heroin!

    No, the Mexican cartels are responding to market forces. Mexico is a key portal for cocaine and heroin imports to the US. The fighting amongst the big players is about who controls the border crossings; and thus the revenue streams. They USED to ship Mexican weed into the US; but now prefer sending their footsoldier “farmers” into our national parks/forests to grow high-grade sensimilla inside the US.

    EXACTLY how much of imported coke & horse come thru Mexico as opposed to Florida, Canada, and through our ports is something only the CIA & DEA know for sure.

    Import levels and supply seem to remain constant, as I’ve read of no substantive changes of street price : purity ratio in recent years.

  20. @interesting

    i have to admit that on a couple of occasions i have made enchiladas with chicken but typically do not use meat. dunno why she made them sans meat but i grew up eating them. first time i had a chicken enchilada i thought it tasted weird. guess it’s just what one gets used to. as for jokes, my East Texas hillbilly dad told me this one:

    do you know what Texans are?
    Mexicans who didn’t make it to Oklahoma.

  21. Tony says:

    Stop writing your own questions and answering them. It pretty obvious. There’s a lot of assholes out there, but even they arent gonna write questions like that.

  22. @MarkinLA

    I have had two Mexican wives, the first was directly from Mexico and the last and still wife was born in San Antonio. Both speak wonderful English and both loved learning about foods and customs from other cultures. Neither one thinks Mexican “street food” is any good. Yet there are many hard-line Mexicans that say if you don’t like to eat “Street food” you aren’t a true Mexican. “Street food” is the shit you find sold out of small carts along the streets in Mexico. And it is shit.

    Here in Texas the poorer wetbacks that have escaped capture and eck out livings working for cash doing anything they can will fill up the taco houses serving potted meat with beans and rice. And rat droppings on the tables. If what those taco houses serve is authentic Mexican food, they can keep it.

    And then you can find restaurants in San Antonio with 4 or 5 star cooks (what’s that star shit all about?) making Mexican foods that no one has ever heard of. How about a kick-ass carne guisada? Or beef enchiladas that you would die for? A chili relleno better than mom ever hoped to make? How about this…make refried beans like they were made fresh today and Mexican rice where it is still kind of fluffy when served and doesn’t have any chemical taste to it?

    My wife and I will only eat Mexican food in two or three cafes in San Antonio. Why? because the rest of them either cater to the wetback potted-meat crowd or they have cheaped out and buy everything pre-made and frozen so all they have to do is micro-wave it and put it on a plate. Oh, there are a few of those star-thing “restaurants” that think that charging $19 for a plate of rice and beans with some rolled-up tortillas stuffed with cheese is acceptable, but we don’t accept that shit. It usually tastes about like the chemical stuff you find at the “Taquerias”.

    So, when Mexicans find good Mexican food in cafes, they eat there. What constitutes “Good Mexican” food is up to the one stuffing his mouth.


  23. Texan1 says:

    I have fond memories of visiting street food vendors in a student area in Mexico. The big tacos were great and the salsas were awesome. I think it was very high quality, there was lots of competition.

    In some ways I think the Mexicans are very good in meat preparation and presentation. Some of the butcher shops are all white tile and they hose everything down with water and bleach when done, if I recall correctly. I think that my Mexican cousins are more likely to do some of their own butchering and this shows to me how much they demand freshness and quality. My cousins often raise their own chickens.

    I judge Tex-Mex restaurants by their beans and rice, in part.

    I don’t make anything fancy, tacos are about all I can make.

    My Anglo wife can make very good Mexican food, so I don’t really have much of a reason to go to a restaurant.

  24. @the one they call Desanex

    The only people who use street heroin are those too dumb to find a doctor to prescribe oxy. My experience is that there are plenty of those. I took oxy twice after minor surgeries, and liked it so much that I’ve never taken it again, preferring to gut it out with ibuprofen rather that get hooked. Anyway I realize the “War On Drugs” is mostly a money-making venture for the same people who get rich from all of our wars, so it will probably continue indefinitely.

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