Skip to content

The history of the Mexican Burrito

by Neil Borras from La Cantina

The history of the burrito is a fascinating journey that reflects the cultural and culinary evolution of Mexico and its influence on Mexican-American cuisine. While the exact origins of the burrito are debated, its history is closely tied to the Mexican state of Chihuahua and the development of Mexican-American cuisine in the United States.

The word "burrito" is Spanish for "little donkey," and there are several theories about how the burrito got its name. One theory suggests that the name comes from the rolled packs and bedrolls that donkeys carried, which resembled the rolled tortillas of the burrito. Another theory suggests that the term "burrito" was used in Guanajuato, Mexico, to describe a rolled taco filled with meat, but this version of the burrito was smaller and made with a wheat flour tortilla.

In Northern Mexico, particularly in the state of Chihuahua, a larger version of the burrito started to gain popularity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This larger burrito was made with a flour tortilla and filled with various ingredients, such as meat, beans, and chilli peppers. It was a convenient and portable food option for miners and labourers in the region.

In the 20th century, the burrito gained popularity in the United States, especially in California and the southwestern states, where Mexican-American communities flourished. The burrito was introduced to a broader American audience through Mexican restaurants, food trucks, and fast-food chains. In the United States, the burrito evolved to include a wider variety of fillings, such as rice, cheese, sour cream, and salsa, and it became a popular and customisable fast-food item.

Whether enjoyed as a quick and convenient meal or a gourmet dish filled with premium ingredients, the burrito remains a symbol of the rich and diverse culinary heritage of Mexico and its influence on global cuisine.

La Cantina found in the indoor market at Five Valleys provide a varied menu including quesadillas, nachos, tacos and of course Burritos!

Watch fresh ingredients be stuffed and expertly rolled with the tortilla by the team and enjoy a filling lunch packed full of flavour the only thing to add is a pile of napkins to mop up the mess!