Is a Chimichanga Technically Mexican Food?

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Many of the foods we enjoy at our favorite Mexican restaurants are Tex-Mex or Mexican American creations. But they all have their roots in dishes that originated in Mexico, right? Well, that’s true most of the time, but there are some exceptions. The food of the American Southwest is so intertwined with Mexican food that sometimes it’s hard to separate the two. The most famous food that falls into this category is the chimichanga.


Everybody loves a chimichanga. It is a fried burrito, after all. But is it really Mexican food?


The Tastiest Mistake

People debate whether the first chimichanga was made in Tuscon, Arizona, or Sonora, Mexica. Geographically, they are pretty close to each other, so it’s tough to know. What most people do agree on, however, is that the first chimichanga was made by mistake. The version of the story with the most detail takes place in Tuscon, so we’re going with that one.

As the story goes, in the early 1920s, the founder of the El Charro Café, Monica Flin, was making a burrito for a customer. Something distracted her, and she accidentally dropped the burrito into the fryer. Surprised, she nearly blurted out chingada, which is a pretty rude word in Spanish. But El Charro was a family establishment, so she caught herself and said chimichanga instead. That seemed as good a name as any, so it stuck.


Outburst or On Purpose?

The birthplace of the chimichanga isn’t the only thing that is up for debate. The origin of the name is somewhat unknown, too. Some will say that the name has a meaning, and others think that it was a nonsense word that Monica Flin said to keep herself from swearing in front of the customers. There is some linguistic evidence for both sides of the argument. The first half of the word, chimi, could come from the Mexican Spanish word chamuscado, meaning “singed” or “seared.” Changa is probably related to chinga, which is a form of the rude word Monica Flin didn’t want to say in front of the customers. So it could mean something, or it could be a nonsense word. There’s really no way to know.


Enjoy Delicious Mexican Food at Los Primos!

What we do know is that chimichangas are delicious, and you can get them at Los Primos! We have all your favorites, plus a few of our own creations. So bring your friends and family and join us for some tasty Mexican food!


Visit us at 3 Amherst Road in Merrimack, or order online!