Waco serves Tex-Mex, not true Mexican

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By Joe Pratt | LTVN Reporter/Anchor

Most people who come to Waco for the first time can very quickly become indulgent of the foods the town has to offer. From fast food to barbecue to Mexican, you can’t really go wrong here.

While people enjoy these delicious “Mexican” places, it is important to understand these eateries differ from authentic Mexican food. Waco has the Tex-Mex style of food, but what can’t be found here is true Hispanic bites.

Baylor students often find themselves at Torchy’s Tacos in the grease pit or lined up at Fuego Tortilla Grill’s drive-thru on the weekends. While both of these places offer enticing options that usually hit the spot, I would not consider them true Mexican.

These places in Waco naturally charge more money for food because you are usually getting more product overall. But a Mexican restaurant or taco stand generally charges less money for a simpler dish.

In terms of ingredients, Tex-Mex is loaded with cheese, ground beef and grease. Beef is regularly used for Tex-Mex dishes, but it is hardly ever involved in Mexican plates. These are unsustainable contents that can make the food taste pleasing at the time but not so good later on. For example, Tex-Mex has queso as its main dipping sauce. The cheesy yellow mess is served in, or next to, several different kinds of northern dishes. Mexican sides, however, consist of all-natural guacamole and salsa — far more rich and tasty side dishes.

Mexican food uses a shorter list of ingredients. Carne, pork and chicken go along with a flour tortilla, onions and cilantro, which are much more appetizing than globs of yellow cheese packed into a tortilla chip shell of a taco.

It’s yet another category of eating that has transformed since being introduced to America. What was originally smaller scale and made with more organic, locally-grown ingredients has changed to larger, greasier platters in the United States.

The best foreign foods are made by those who originate from those countries. American cuisine takes these foods and loads them up with extra meat and cheese — not necessarily making them taste worse, but surely eliminating the way the food is originally supposed to be prepared.

While there is nothing wrong with eating Tex-Mex food — it can be delicious — authentic Mexican dominates it in every category. From plate size to ingredients to overall taste, it’s no match. It’s time for people to realize the difference between the two and understand the meaning behind food from south of the border. Hopefully we will see more genuine cantinas and taco stands establish themselves in Waco very soon.