Tex-Mex vs. Traditional Mexican: What is The Difference?

Tex-Mex Vs Traditional Mexican Header image

If you live in Austin, you know there are two types of food us Austinites can’t get enough of: BBQ & Mexican food.

However, what many Austinites may not know is the difference between traditional Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine. After reading this quick (and delicious!) article, you’ll have all you need to know to impress friends around your next great plate of nachos or win a round of trivia.  

WHAT IS TEX-MEX?

Roasted Chipotle Tacos Cyclone Anaya's Tex-Mex Cantina

The Chipotle Roasted Beef Brisket Tacos from Cyclone Anaya’s Tex-Mex Cantina.

In short: Tex-Mex is the “Texas” version of Mexican food.

Tex-Mex first came into existence when people of Mexican descent settled in Texas. The term was tossed around loosley for about a 100 years before eventually becoming a descriptor for the Mexican-style food they began creating (and we later began adoring).

HOW TO KNOW IF YOU’RE DIGGING INTO TEX-MEX OR TRADITIONAL MEXICAN

Nachos and Chrozio Fundido Cyclone Anaya's Tex-Mex Cantina

Did you know many of the so called Mexican foods we love — like burritos, fajitas and nachos — are actually Tex-Mex inventions? The biggest differences between Tex-Mex and Mexican food comes down to a few of the key ingredients used.

WHAT COLOR IS THE CHEESE?

One of the biggest indicators you’re eyeballs deep in a great plate of Tex-Mex is the color of cheese. Tex-Mex primarily uses yellow cheese, while in Mexico you’ll often only find white. So if you’ve spotted cheddar on your plate, you know it’s Tex-Mex!

Veggie Chorizo Cyclone Anaya's Tex-Mex Cantina

If this is in your sight, you’ve won the Tex-Mex lottery.

WHAT KIND OF PROTEIN IS PILED HIGH ON YOUR TACO?

Another distinction to look for is what type of meat is piled high on your tacos. If you’re seeing ground beef and fajita meat, you’re in Tex-Mex territory! Beef is a bit of a rarity in Mexico, so traditional dishes tend to use more pork and chicken as their protein of choice.

Tacos Cyclone Anaya's Tex-Mex Cantina

WHAT COLOR IS YOUR TORTILLA?

A final easy to spot Tex-Mex staple is: are your delicious tacos wrapped in flour or corn tortillas? Tex-Mex tacos are usually made with a flour tortilla or hard corn shell. Mexican tacos are always on yellow corn tortillas.  

Homemade Tortillas Cyclone Anaya's Tex-Mex Cantina

Our tortillas are fresh, hot and handmade daily in-house!

ARE YOU CRAVING GREAT TEX-MEX YET?

You’re in luck. At Cyclone Anaya’s, we add our own unique twist to Tex-Mex. If you’re looking to dive into a great plate of Tex-Mex, our menu won’t let you down. Try one of these knockout Tex-Mex dishes on our menu…

THE ATX LOOP 1 BURRITO

ATX Loop 1 Burrito - Cyclone Anaya's Tex-Mex Cantina

Our ATX Loop 1 Burrito uses a large homemade flour tortilla filled to the brim with smashed beans, carne guisada, pico de gallo and melted Mexican cheese. We top it with homemade chili con carne, Texas Queso, melted Mexican cheese, guacamole and sliced jalapeños!

This is one of our best sellers for a reason: it’s a burrito big enough for two and down right delicious!  

LOADED QUESO  

Loaded Queso Cyclone Anaya's Tex-Mex Cantina

How much queso can you eat before it kills you? Our guests have confirmed: no such limit exists!

Thank goodness – because this Tex-Mex staple of is in high-demand as another bestseller on our menu!

Dig into a bowl of our signature cheesy goodness stacked with jalapeños, pico de gallo and your choice of spinach or taco meat!Tex-Mex never tasted so good!

BEEF, FAJITA, OR CHICKEN NACHOS

Chicken & Beef Tacos - Cyclone Anaya's Tex-Mex Cantina

Shield your eyes… you’re about to fall in love with a meat and nacho combo!

Our nachos are piled high with smashed beans, loads of melted cheese and your choice of protein: beef, fajita, or chicken. With serve it up piping hot with sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo and jalapenos.

If Tex-Mex is wrong, we don’t want to be right.

RICOS TACO SALAD

Ricos Taco Salad - Cyclone Anaya's Tex-Mex Cantina

Three words to describe this eye-catching Tex-Mex salad: robust, crispy and zesty.

This fresh salad is topped with guacamole, shredded cheese, tomatoes, sour cream, cilantro lime dressing and a healthy handful of bright tortilla chips. Finish it off with your choice of taco meat or rotisserie chicken.

JUMBO MARGARITA ON THE ROCKS

Margarita-Tex-MexAustin

You can’t have a great tex-mex meal without a strong, artfully mixed margarita!

On Yelp, we’ve overheard guests shouting from the internet rooftops that our margaritas are some of the best in Austin. We promise ours will not let you down!

THE FUTURE OF TEX-MEX & MEXICAN FOOD

As Tex-Mex and traditional Mexican food continue to evolve, we may see even more differences arise.

However, as Iliana de la Vega notes, “Either Tex-Mex or traditional Mexican, we can all live together. As long as it’s well-executed food, then, why not?”

VISIT CYCLONE ANAYA’S TEX-MEX CANTINA

This is just a small sample of the incredible menu we offer at Cyclone Anaya’s Tex-Mex Cantina. Make a reservation to come in and sample some of the best Tex-Mex in Austin today!

If you would like to take a deeper peek at our menu check out 10 Dishes You Absolutely Must Try at Cyclone Anaya’s Tex-Mex Cantina or follow us on Instagram for photos of all our new Tex-Mex dishes and drinks!

Visit us at: 3120 Palm Way Suite 170, Austin, Texas 78758

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