A lot of Americans assume that Taco Bell is Mexican food simply because it sells things such as “tacos”. But claiming that Taco Bell sells Mexican food couldn’t be further from the truth. To claim such is a great insult to actual Mexican food. Nevertheless, I have to really convince my students that this is the case. Many do not believe me when I tell them that Taco Bell is not Mexican food.
Taco Bell is an American restaurant that sells American-style Mexican food. At best it could be called Tex-Mex food. Let’s start with the taco. Taco Bell sells a hard corn shell filled with “ground beef”, lettuce, tomato, and cheese. An truly authentic Mexican taco is served on 2 small corn tortillas, topped with meat, cilantro, and onion.
Chalupas? Try asking a Mexican what a chalupa is. Most have no idea. Taco Bell’s burritos and gorditas don’t even come close to the real thing. And nachos? Again, more of a Tex-Mex thing than anything else.
But here comes the stunning news: Taco Bell has opened up locations in Mexico! Taco’s Bell first foray into Mexico in 1992 was an unequivocal failure. Yet, the company has been at it again. Even Taco Bell knows its taco is nothing to compare to a Mexican taco, so they are changing its name to “tacostada” so they don’t confuse the Mexicans when they hand them what Taco Bell considers a “taco”.
This is as baffling as opening Starbucks locations in coffee-central Costa Rica. When will American companies learn that the rest of the world has better food than our chains?