This time I decided to focus my blog post on one of the most iconic aspects of Cuidad Juarez’ cuisine: the burrito. The legend has it that the burrito originated in Juarez. According to the legend, “a man named Juan Mendez sold tacos in a street stand in the Bella Vista neighborhood of Ciudad Juárez, using a donkey as a transport for himself and the food, during the Mexican Revolution period (1910–1921). To keep the food warm, Mendez wrapped it in large homemade flour tortillas inside individual napkins. As the ‘food of the burrito’ (i.e., “food of the little donkey”) grew in popularity, “burrito” was eventually adopted as the name for these large tacos.”
This is of course up to debate, but if you were to ask anyone from Juarez, chances are that the answer will be that the burrito was in fact invented in this city. Just as controversial, is the idea of what we consider the best spot for burritos, is it the location? the service? the cleanliness of the place or lack thereof?
What makes a great burrito anyway? It could the way the fresh flour tortilla is made. It could also be the “guisado” or contents of the burrito. You have the classics such as “mole” “colorado, or verde”, or other delicious creations such as “chile relleno” or “machaca. The point is that we all probably have our favorite spot and type of burrito.
Burritos remain a basic staple of the Juarez cuisine. The act of seeing someone prepare your food right in front of you without much mystery to it is one of the many reasons why burritos are so appealing. There is a new wave of burrito incarnations here in the U.S., such as Chipotle and other establishments that have transformed the way burritos are created.
In this arena, I ‘m still a traditionalist opting for a simpler version of the burrito, rather than overwhelming it with sour cream, rice, lettuce, tomato, as found in this new wave of modern burritos.
Again, the choice remains solely in the consumer. It is refreshing to still see plenty of burrito stands throughout Juarez without having a clear brand dominating this market.
The consumer still has plenty of options and exercises them based on quality, familiarity, and service. Selling burritos still appears to be a profitable venture for the burrito entrepreneur. Next time you make your way to Juarez, please don’t leave without tasting a burrito.