Monday, December 18, 2006

Tex - Mex - The Missing Cuisine

Bombay being the massive city that it is has a multitude of cultures and cuisines available much like New York City. One of the more popular NYC cuisines missing from Bombay is Tex-Mex. Tex-Mex is Americanized Mexican cuisine, heavy on the chicken, pork, beef, beans, salsa, sour cream, tortillas & guacamole.

The most popular tex-mex dishes are Chili, Enchiladas, Quesadillas, Chalupas, Burritos, Fajitas, Tacos, (soft shell and hard shell) served with tortillas salsa (regular or picante-hot) and guacamole made from avocados. Side dishes normally include referitos (refried beans) mashed potato's, chilli, mexican rice, charred beans, black beans.

Like any cuisine there is a related beverage service, unfortunately no one in Bombay so far makes a decent Margarita, although you do get Corona here(Dos Equis or XX is another good Mexican beer) Lemonade and Bloody Mary are other drinks that go well with Mexican food.

As a college student in N.America, Mexican food was on the cards very often. Post 12 am when you are in the hankering for fast food Taco Bell was a popular choice. Although taco bell is nothing close to proper tex-mex. There are fabulous options across North America and even England to experience this cuisine the way it should be.

On a Christmas trip to Yuma, Arizona(the pregnancy capital of America WITHOUT my contributions I might add) I once crossed the border and illegally entered, lived in Mexico for two weeks, it was probably the first time someone did THAT.

Having had Mexican food (in Mexico DF they serve termites much like our Singh-Chana all roasted and salted) in Mexico I would safely say that I prefer the tex-mex variety (eating a cactus somewhere in Guadalajara will do that to you)

India serves truncated versions of the tex-mex cuisine and is nowhere in the same league. The nachos are too bare (Tex-Mex nachos are served on a massive plate topped with beans, tomato’s, sour cream etc) the enchiladas too sweet and corn heavy. There arent enough choices with fillings, entrĂ©es or side dishes, no referitos or Mexican rice and no one uses Monterrey Jack cheese.

Back in the day there existed El Mexicano as well as Casa Mexicana both in Bombay based 5 stars but they have ceased to be a long time ago. As of now most tex-mex dishes are served in blanket fast food restaurants where there isn’t a focus or expertise on any one cuisine.

Of late places such as TGI Friday, Ruby Tuesday have opened doors but the cost of eating in these places is having to well EAT in these places (both are amongst the worst restaurants opened in this city chain or otherwise) The Hard Rock Cafe is an interesting enough place which offers some Tex-Mex fare. Its not one of the more glamorous cuisines therefore I think people are a bit slow to look at it on a establishment backed scale.

Some of the better restaurants abroad for Mexican food are the Don Pablo’s Chain (USA) as well as Il Cantina (Leicester Square in London and Texan Embassy near the National Art Gallery just off Trafalgar Square) There are numerous tex-mex places all over California and Texas. One can drive into Mexico from these states for some real Mexican fare.

Such opportunities for Bombayites are presently lacking.


mexicanmasala said...

OMG I used to live near Yuma (in Tucson) and I know how small that border is. Luckily you didn't get caught!

My husband is from Bombay and my being Mexican, maybe someday we can open a cool Tex-Mex place there! A woman can dream, right?

Love your site!

Gaurav said...

oh i have some great food memories of Yuma and Mexico in general. Burritos, lemonade, termites, was probably the first person in history to illegally go into Mexico :) though it was pre 9/11.
Was a fantastic time. I never got to Tucson though.

I pray you come here and open a Tex Mex place, really. Thanks for visiting.

Rahul said...


Its not entirely illegal to enter mexico without a visa/showing your passport. Apparently, you can enter and as long as you do not go beyond 7-8 kms south of the border you're fine.

A couple of years ago, we went to Nogales, Mexico and just walked through the border and no one stopped us. Of course coming back, we had to go through hazaar checkpoints :)

Love your blog. Reminds me of home.

Gaurav said...

Actually Rahul, its absolutely illegal to enter without a passport if you arent a permanent US resident i.e. American Citizen but the border is weakly patrolled (with good reason)

I remember the US agent asking me what i was doing so far away from upstate New York.

Its all good though. Thanks for reading mate.

Rahul said...

Interesting. We did have our passports with us. Just nobody stopped us. There was a circular door you walk through, and... voila! you're in mexico. No checkpost of any sort.

Gaurav said...

Nogales i think is a lot larger than San Luis which is more like a set from a Roberto Rodriguez movie :)

A check post is all we saw. The evening of the drive we saw a bunch of army folk pulling over a car and ripping it apart.


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