Finding authentic ethnic cuisine can be difficult, especially for types of food that have been popularized and mass marketed, such as tacos. You might want to eat real, authentic Mexican food, but have a hard time finding a restaurant that serves it. Here are some tips that you can use to look at the menu before going to the restaurant and determine whether or not the food at the Mexican restaurant has been "Americanized" or not.
1. There Are No Corn Tortillas Available for Purchase
It's entirely true that sometimes, people in Mexico use flour tortillas. However, corn is much easier to obtain and much cheaper. As a result, corn tortillas have been perfected by Mexican chefs and Mexican mothers alike and are more likely to be made. If you find a restaurant chain that only serves flour tortillas, chances are good that the food there has been Americanized, because corn tortillas are the norm in Mexico and not paying attention to this small detail does not bode well for the authenticity of the rest of the items on the menu.
2. You're Eating Ground Beef
When you're eating meat in your tacos or some other dish, the meat should never crumble. You should be served chorizo, or spicy sausage, adobada, pork, asada, or marinated steak, tripas, or animal intestines, or animal brains. Ground beef is not traditionally an option when you are eating in Mexico and if you find it at a Mexican restaurant in America, you might as well be eating fast food tacos for all of the authenticity that you are enjoying.
3. You're Eating Fajitas at All
If you're enjoying a plate of fajitas that is so hot that it is sizzling, you're not actually eating Mexican food. You are eating a dish that was created in Texas and is delicious, authentic Tex-Mex. Even though this food is delicious and was created near the border, it was not actually created over the border. Any Mexican restaurant serving fajitas cannot be considered authentic since fajitas were not made in Mexico.
4. Your Food is Covered in Cheese
Finally, if your food is covered in cheese, your meal has been made especially for American customers and is not an authentic representation of what a restaurant in Mexico would serve. Many authentic Mexican restaurants do not see the point in creating a meal only to drown it in queso. If you are eating a food where cheese is not merely something to add to enhance its flavor, then you are eating an Americanized dish.
For more information, talk to a restaurant about the origin of their dishes and whether or not they have any ties to restaurants in Mexico.