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American fast food a success in Mexico


Gifted Gourmet
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article from the Chicago Sun-Times

even better article from the San Bernardino Sun

the increasing popularity of American favorites like hamburgers and hot dogs, as well as fast food chains like Subway and Domino's Pizza, have hurt sales of the national cuisine (in Mexico).

''The torta is not in danger of extinction, but its sales have declined by 50 percent over the last decade because of the competition from pizza and hamburgers''One thing that might help the torta is greater cleanliness, standardization and quality control. That has worked for the most successful of Mexico's ``torterias,''

Interesting how each country has shifted its consumption to accomodate each others' foods ...

Edited by Gifted Gourmet (log)

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Hmm. Interesting article. My impression is that McDonald's, KFC, etc remain the food of the urban middle class. They are just too expensive for most of the population. But of course the middle and upper class has a disproportionate amount of the disposable income.

The poor do buy Maruchan (now the branded name for instant noodles). They're still a treat but with the price of tortillas rising one that's possible from time to time.

And some of the Mexican fast food chains seem to be booming. Many of the grilled chicken ones are very popular. And I just had lunch a couple of days ago at Doña Tota (http://www.gorditasdonatota.com/) which is a successful chain. Small thin gorditas about 3 inches across. Fillings include chicharron, carnitas with mole or salsa verde, rajas, nopales, asado, cochinita pibil, huevos con machacado. They cost about 50 cents apiece.

And then there are the other foreigners. Habib's for example is a Lebanese fast food chain based in Brazil.

And cleanliness is an issue.

Rachel

Rachel Caroline Laudan

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Man oh man. Those articles were indeed interesting--thanks for posting them.

I agree with Rachel. Multinational fast food is not food for low-income folks here in Mexico. I live near Guadalajara, Mexico's second largest city, where there are more Domino's Pizzas outlets than one would think necessary (a medium pizza is 105 pesos, a few cents less than $10USD), a goodly number of McDonald's, a few Burger Kings (cheese Whopper, regular fries, drink for 50 pesos--and forget 99 cent specials, those don't happen here), several KFCs, and until fairly recently, at least one Whataburger, a Texas hamburger chain. The Whataburger died a well-deserved death, but the rest appear to be flourishing. In Guadalajara we also have Baskin-Robbins, Chili's, Carl's Jr, Applebee's, and who-knows-what-all else. I've yet to see an Olive Garden or a Starbucks in Guadalajara, but *sigh*...I can feel them sneaking up on us.

The fast food chain stores are, as Rachel said, urban--and fairly recent arrivals. The only Burger King I've seen outside the city is at the Guadalajara airport, hard by the international arrivals gate. Interesting placement, yes?

The person-on-the-street eats on the street quite frequently, but it's much less expensive to buy a pollo rostizado, which comes with either roasted new potatoes or slaw for 50 pesos (and feed the whole family) than it is to spend 50 pesos for one person's meal at Burger King. It's more feasible to spend 50 or 60 pesos for tortas ahogadas (a Guadalajara specialty) to feed four guys than to spend twice that for enough pizza for that crew.

I sometimes taquear (go out for tacos) to a stand near the corner of my street. Each taco, complete with freshly grilled meat, beans, onion (both minced raw and grilled whole), shredded cabbage, and chopped cilantro--plus salsa de aguacate and a choice of two or three other salsas--costs 4 pesos. I'd hate to think that Mr. Global Economy is going to be able to take that away, not only from me but from the family of five next door to me. They live well enough, but they sure as hell can't afford to eat at Burger King.

Ponder this: the minimum wage in most parts of Mexico is 40 pesos a day. Less than $4.00USD. ¡Qué viva la torta!

What's new at Mexico Cooks!?

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Mexican fast food is flourishing in New York City, and I don't mean Taco Bell.

There are a ton of "Fresh Tortilla" storefront places (one prominent local mini-chain is owned by an enterprising young couple from China -- gotta love NY's ethnic melting pot!) that churn out fresh tortillas all day long and stuff them with your choice of fillings for a dollar or two apiece, depending on whether you get a veggie or meat filling. (Satisfying lunch, two tacos and a soda, for under $5--or $3 if you're eating vegetarian--an incredible bargain in high-priced NYC.)

Quality ranges from sub-par to pretty good, though almost any California or Texas taqueria would leave one of these places in the dust.

enrevanche <http://enrevanche.blogspot.com>

Greenwich Village, NYC

The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not.

- Mark Twain

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Sure, maybe the average peasant worker in DF or Guadalajara can't go to McDonald's, but in many cities I've been in, hamburguesas were one of the most popular street vendor dishes (and I'm talking about in street markets and places where I was the only gringo; it's not Americans buying hamburgers off the street). And perros calientes are pretty darned common everywhere, too. Though Mexico, along with Chicago, is one of the few places I'll gladly eat a dog, wrapped in bacon, griddled, and served with roasted jalapenos.

See pic:

http://www.extramsg.com/modules.php?set_al...=view_photo.php

Edited by ExtraMSG (log)
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Esperanza, Thanks for so forcefully pointing out the economic realities of Mexican food. In the middle range (well upper range) we have Tony Roma for Ribs and Italianni's in León. Plus of course all the VIPS, Californias etc.

And you're certainly right Extra MSG that hamburguesas and perros calientes are popular street food, though I think the former would still be high end street food. I like the way the cook hot dogs but oooh the dog itself. Yuk!

Rachel

Rachel Caroline Laudan

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