Culture

Mexican Food Is Enjoyed Around The World But Not Much Of It Is Authentic As These Epic Food Fails Prove

Ah, poor Mexican food. It often falls in las garras of unscrupulous gringos that wish to make the authentic thing, the real deal, but often end up coming up with dishes that make us go no mames instead of yummy. On other occasions these restaurants, people and brands just do a blatant and half-assed attempt to use some Mexican ingredients (or Tex-Mex!) and call that authentic Mexican. 

Here’s some of the most horrible but hilariously wrong attempts to recreate one of the most complex cuisines in the world, which has been recognized by the UNESCO as world heritage, as Herald Sun reported recently: “Mexican food is one of the more nuanced cuisines of the world. It’s also one of only two national cuisines to have been listed by UNESCO as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The other is French gastronomy”. So whenever someone damages the reputation of Mexican food, they are in fact conspiring against humanity as a whole! 

Oven fresh burritos = frozen atrocities.

Credit: Instagram. @tysonmitman

No disrespect to our British friends, but food is not their strongest suit. This atrocious sign is trying to hide the fact that perhaps the burritos they are selling come out of a freezer and probably have that plastic aftertaste so familiar for those who survive on microwave food. No, gracias. 

This hipster monstrosity that gives pumpkin a bad name.

Credit: Instagram. @bigblack1911

OMG! What on Earth is this? We have enough with pumpkin latte season for hipster companies to appropriate our venerable tortilla chip and turn it into this Thanksgiving nightmare. Seriously, dudes, pumpkin tortillas sound just kind of OKish, but adding cinnamon and nutmeg. Gua-ca-la. 

This bad translation, un poquito de esfuerzo mijos!

Credit: Instagram. @roymeyer

What do they take us for? Really, can’t you just do a better job and simply say “slow cooked pork meat” rather than “little meats”? You are not doing a very good job at selling your product, bro. 

We feel for this person whose burrito will just collapse.

Credit: Twitter. @cocoterito

Oh, my! Multiculturalism certainly brings joyful moments of pena ajena. Twitter user Susanita just witnessed her coworker commit the ultimate crime: eating a cold tortilla that will taste like cardboard and that will just crumble before the first bite. 

We can’t even… Seriously, ranch dressing as a hot sauce?

Credit: Instagram. @ArielleMartin

Seriously, who can even consider Ranch or Sriracha to be Mexican condiments? Well, to be honest Sriracha is kind of fine, but ranch dressing? Puaj. 

Crackers as salsa dipping snacks… what fresh hell is this?

Credit: Twitter. @LauraSievert

We can live with stale tortilla chips if the salsa is acceptable… but…. really… crackers? This is just an insult to overall good taste! 

No beans, no life, manitos.

Credit: Instagram. @mrshappyhomemaker

Come on, how can you call yourself a Mexican restaurant and have no refried beans! To see this is levantarse con el pie izquierdo. 

This San Antonio joint that gave Mex food a bad name (and possibly gave gastro to a few customers)

Earlier this year food inspectors shut down a Mexican restaurant in San Antonio, as News4SA reports: “After finding dead roaches and dirty appliances, a traditional Mexican restaurant here in San Antonio fails its latest health inspection. Maria’s Cafe located off Nogalitos Street just south of downtown scored a 62, a failing score”. We can only say “Qué pinche asco“.

A frozen tamale with cheese? Nah! There’s limits that should never be crossed.

We thank the attempts to take Mexican cuisine to the supermarket aisle… but, and this is a big “but”, you gotta do it right. This bad attempt at authenticity is self-incriminatory in its official description: ” Amy’s Cheese Tamale Verde starts with corn masa made from organic white corn and blended with Monterey Jack Cheese, chiles and jalapeños. Then, it is topped off with our slow-simmered verde sauce and served with a side of Spanish rice and organic black beans”. Who on Earth blends masa with cheese? No one!

Please, just stop it with the cheese tamales!

And of course, these ones are presented over a bed of sweet corn… Very authentic…. NOT! This can really work if you want to get on a diet: we are guessing you won’t take a second bite. Well done, Lean Cuisine! 

This overpriced restaurant that doesn’t look like a fonda at all!

Credit: Photo by the author

Fonda Mexican is an Australian chain that claims to make authentic food from South of the Border. Problem is, it ends up being a weird fusion joint that pretends to be authentic. We would be OK with it if it wasn’t so damn pretentious! 

The place tries to look like a traditional family restaurant but ends up being un adefesio.

Credit: Photo by the author

The decor tries to imitate the look and feel of a traditional fonda, but it fails horribly. It all tastes like cultural appropriation, quite frankly. 

And just look at the price of those tacos! 

What? Chimichurri (which is Argentinian) on a taco? And aioli? And pepitas? Give us a break and stop gentrifying everything! 

This banana buñuelo in Tokyo that is just a deep fried tortilla.

At least we appreciate the honesty. Buñuelos are a tradition of Mexican street food. It is a huge sheet of deep fried pastry that is just crunchy and sweet and delicious. We are sure your abuelitas remember eating them after mass on Sundays, as buñuelos vendors usually congregate around churches. Well, the Chiles Mexican Grill in Tokyo serves this blasphemy: a deep fried tortilla with banana and walnut inside. Herejes

The Pancho Villa restaurant in Moscow is just otra cosa.

Credit: Google Maps. @Lora Versus

Reading through the menu of the Pancho Villa restaurant in Moscow is like witnessing a car crash. The squid salad is described as follows: “Squid from the grill, fresh veggies, Mariachi, fried corn  and a dressing of chipotle and mayo”. What do they mean by “Mariachi”? We hope this doesn’t involve some sort of cannibalistic practice!

And does this sound Mexican at all? “Ensalada de Pato. Juicy duck breast with lettuce, corn, pear and cherry tomatoes with a creamy honey dressing”. Damn, it does sound OKish but not Mexican like at all. And what about this atrocity? “Ensalada Yucateca. A traditional Mexican salad: fried ground beef, iceberg lettuce, corn, avocado, lime dressing and pico de gallo”. Really?  That just looks like nachos minus the tortilla chips! We mean, would you eat the weird looking thing in the picture? And who puts jalapeños and black olives together anyways? 

And the one we hate most of all: the abominable taco salad! 

This particular salad comes from the Habaneros Mexican Grill in Edmonton, Canada. This has NOTHING Mexican about it. It is just an overprices Taco Bell-like Tex-Mex… thing. 

We are probably being too harsh on the humble taco salad, but we have had nightmares since POTUS celebrated 5 de Mayo by eating one…

Credit: Giphy. Anonymous. 

We are so sorry for el susto.

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You Can Order A ‘Taco Vacuna’ And ‘La Cura’ At This Covid 19-Themed Taqueria

Culture

You Can Order A ‘Taco Vacuna’ And ‘La Cura’ At This Covid 19-Themed Taqueria

Tacovid: SaborViral / Facebook

Pandemia. Brote. Vacuna. La Peste. Although you may find these terms in a glossary about the Covid-19 outbreak, that’s not what these words actually refer to. Instead, they’re options on the menu at a Mexican taqueria called “Tacovid: Sabor Viral”, a perhaps surprisingly very successful Coronavirus-themed restaurant.

Although to many having a Covid-themed taqueria may seem morbid or disrespectful or perhaps gross – I mean who wants to order a plague taco? – the taqueria is making light of a very serious situation with humor. Something that several other businesses have done since the pandemic began.

”Tacovid: Sabor Viral” is the Mexican taqueria going viral – pun intended – for its Covid-themed menu.

Ok…virus-themed tacos don’t exactly sound appetizing. Especially, as we’re still in the midst of a very real pandemic. But one 23-year-old man in the Mexican city of León, who was forced to close down his dance studio because of Coronavirus, is counting on a Covid-themed restaurant – and so far he’s been surprised by its success.

Brandon Velázquez converted his dance academy into a taquería at the end of July, and given that Mexico and the rest of the world was – and is – in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic decided to call it Tacovid Sabor Viral.

“I had to close my dance academy during the pandemic [but] then an opportunity arose to return to the same place, however, people still did not go out for fear of getting infected.” he told the newspaper El Universal.

“I had always wanted to open a taqueria and, at the end of July, the opportunity to do so occurred. It was how I took advantage of the moment to create this business with a coronavirus theme,” he added.

Items on the menu are named after – you guessed it – the Coronavirus and don’t sound like anything you’d willfully choose to order.

The young entrepreneur detailed the name of each dish, taking full advantage of the Coronavirus theme.

“We have around 12 different dishes, among them are the ‘Tacovid’; we have ‘Forty’, ‘Quesanitizing’, ‘Pandemic’, ‘Outbreak’, and many others. The price varies depending on the dish you order,” he told El Universal.

In addition to themed dishes, the servers also fit the Coronavirus-theme.

When the pandemic hit Mexico, the government urged Mexicans to observe “su sana distancia” and the now common mascot – Susana Distancia – was born.

“In the restaurant, a waitress dressed as a nurse with the name of ‘Susana’ takes orders and works the tables, referring to the healthy distance campaign that was implemented as a precautionary measure,” he says.

To his surprise – and honestly mine as well – the taqueria has been very successful.

Brandon told El Universal that he’s been pleasantly surprised by the support he has received from customers. “I’m surprised because we have had really good sales, despite the circumstances, we have had a lot of support by the community and we’ve already expanded to have two locations.”

“Customers are funny about the theme we are using in the business, and they are delighted with the dishes we are offering. They enjoy it and have a good time,” added Brandon.

Things are looking so good for Brandon and his Covid-themed taqueria, that he’s looking to expand the food business and add new dishes to the menu. “There is always the idea of new names for other dishes that we want to include in the menu.”

Brandon also said that he’s looking to build out a business model so the restaurant could expand to other parts of the country as a franchise.

Apparently, people are really into Covid-themed foods, as this isn’t the first place that a shop as cashed in on the pandemic. Back in April, a panadería was selling out of Covid-themed baked goods so quickly, they couldn’t keep the shelves stocked.

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This Brand Is Being Called A ‘Culture Vulture’ After Being Accused Of Gentrifying Latino Cooking

Culture

This Brand Is Being Called A ‘Culture Vulture’ After Being Accused Of Gentrifying Latino Cooking

Granddriver / Getty Images

As a kid growing up in a Latino household, pretty much everyone had a giant molcajete for grinding up spices and making salsas, or a tortilladora for whipping up homemade tacos and quesadillas. And as staple of pretty much any Latina home, they weren’t that expensive either.

Well, one online company has taken all of that and flipped it upside down to try and make a very hefty profit by bringing ‘artisan crafted’ products into people’s homes – helping them experience a ‘cultural journey.’

The store’s outrageous prices for such traditional kitchen items is generating tons of criticism alone from people calling them ‘culture vultures’ and accusing them of gentrifying Latino cooking and cultural appropriation.

Verve Culture is being called a ‘culture vulture’ for taking traditional Latino cooking tools and selling them at insanely high prices.

Credit: MiComidaVegana / YouTube

Verve Culture – an online store dedicated to bringing “you on a cultural journey” – is facing a series of complaints after profiting from traditional cultural products. The company sells typical products in the preparation of three traditional cuisines at very high prices: Mexican, Moroccan, and Thai.

In the case of traditional Mexican products, the company sells orange and lemon juices; accessories for making chocolate, blown glasses, and molcajetes. And at insanely high prices: a molcajete for $60, a tortilla press for $60, a Mexican chocolate set for $80, and a “Mexican hand juicer” for $15.

The company is obviously profiting off of traditional products of a culture that is too often denigrated – or on the other end of the spectrum, fetishized. Brands are no stranger to appropriating traditional cultural items to boost sales but this particular instance seems to have hit a major nerve with shoppers.

Like, for real?! A molcajete for $60 USD?!

Among some of the most outrageous priced items is a molcajete and tortillero set that goes for $60 USD. That’s literally 20 times more expensive than it should cost.

As someone who lives in Ciudad de México, and who does their shopping at local tianguis and mercados, I have literally bought the exact same set Verve Culture is selling. I paid $60 pesos for the set – not $60 USD – or about $3 USD.

Selling items like this at such inflated prices means Verve Culture is profiting off of the cultural and gastronomic identity of an entire country. So it’s no surprise that Mexican Twitter lit up in shock and anger.

The reaction on Twitter was swift and full of outrage.

A Tweet showing off the outrageously priced products and accusing the brand of “gentrifying Mexican kitchen cookware” already has 36,000 likes and almost 20,000 retweets.

Among some of the comments include one Twitter user who said “Take your site down. This is an insult to Mexican culture along with all the other cultures you’re profiting off. Our culture is not your home decor!”

Another user tweeted, “…not of them is brown so it should really be named stolen culture because they’re selling fancy versions of things traditional to Mexican culture. Having one is fine, profiting off of a minority or their culture is not fine.”

While at least one person pointed out that the people who craft these items have long been taken advantage of. In a tweet, she said “Culturally we’ve been taught that our incredible craft and culture are worth close to nothing for years now, I really wish we could just collectively erase this mindset but at this point it’s so deeply rooted that thinking differently even feels “wrong” most times.”

Many pointed out that if you want to respect a culture’s food, support actual locals and artesanos.

Shopping online from three women who are not from the communities they’re profiting off of, is now way to support that community. That should be common sense but that site seems to have many customers.

As one Twitter user pointed out, if you really want to support local trabajadores, you should be buying directly from them. Shop in your local flea markets, your Latinx-owned shops and markets, this is how you’ll best help artisans.

The company’s $60 tortilla press was even featured in a Buzzfeed article earlier this year.

In the article, the author points out that the “tortilla press is made in Mexico from old Singer sewing machines and other recycled irons! The cast iron should last you, basically, forever so it’s definitely worth your money.”

That’s all great but where is that money going? How much of the $60 is the Mexican, Moroccan, Thai artisan actually earning from Verve Culture’s sales?

So what is Verve Culture and what do they have to say about all of this?

According to their website, Verve Culture is “a women-run business spanning three generational groups from Baby Boomer, Gen X, to Millennial.” As founders, Jules and Jacquie are a mother and daughter team who have worked together for 27 years.

In the company’s about section, they go on to say, “We are in constant pursuit of life traveled fully.”

“Our vision is to explore the cultural richness of artisans and communities around the world – to educate and inspire, while honoring the traditions and heritage of their work.”

Despite these claims, Twitter has been loud and clear in its message: stop profiting off the backs of already underpaid and overworked artisans from around the world.

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