When Germans Attempt Mexican Food
One of the things I miss most from the US is Mexican food. Maybe it’s really Tex-Mex, but regardless, I miss the spicy salsa and the unlimited baskets of warm crispy tortilla chips, the quesadillas, fajitas and tacos. Two years ago on one of my first visits to Freiburg, Andy took me to meet two of his friends at a Mexican restaurant, and I was horrified. It was NOT good. It was one of those panicked “am I really moving here?” moments. Obviously I chose my love for Andy over my love for good Mexican food, but it left a salsa-shaped (does salsa have a shape?) hole in my heart.
Where are the Mexican restaurants?
I have since started playing with salsa recipes so I can have decent salsa from time to time. I also started looking around to see what other Mexican restaurants Freiburg has to offer. In Atlanta, it was hard to drive more than a mile or two without passing a Mexican restaurant of some variety, even if it was a chain. There was one across the street from my apartment. But because Germans typically don’t like spicy food, and there aren’t a whole lot of people moving here from Mexico, there just aren’t many options here.
There was a halfway decent place in the food court we frequent, but we walked by one day last year and noticed it had been converted into an Afghan place. Oddly enough it was run by the same guy. I’m willing to bet he is from neither Mexico nor Afghanistan. There was another place Andy knew of but it closed before I ever had a chance to see it.
So I decided to do my own review of the three remaining Mexican restaurants. It took a little while because I can only subject myself to so much bad Mexican food in a short amount of time. I cry a little inside each time the “spicy” salsa turns out to be completely void of heat, or my meal, regardless of what it is, comes with corn in it, because apparently corn equals Mexican. (Note: The following photos were all taken with my iPhone. Bad Mexican food does not deserve the good camera.)
Mexican Restaurant #1: Enchilada
This restaurant is across the street from the popular Mexican place, which means you instantly know you’re NOT in the popular one. We tried the popular one first, but there were no available tables. Enchilada is about twice the size but only had maybe three occupied tables.
They had several different types of salsa on the menu, which I thought was unusual but promising. I asked the waiter to get me the spiciest one they had. Mild grocery store salsa in the US has more spice than this stuff. I can’t imagine what the lower spice ones must have tasted like.
For my meal I ordered a chicken quesadilla. It looked decent enough when it arrived, although there was a surprise lurking inside when I opened it up to add salsa and guacamole. First I saw corn, which sadly I expected but really shouldn’t be in a quesadilla. But then I saw something green. Were those green beans? Yes, yes they were. They put GREEN BEANS in my quesadilla! WHY?!
Mexican Restaurant #2: El Bolero
I’m really not sure if this place is trying to be a Mexican restaurant or just generic Latin America because they have flags from every single Latin American country hanging on the walls. They also have hamburgers, flamkuchen (a local specialty similar to pizza), pasta and other non-Mexican-like food on their menu. But about a third or so of their menu is tacos, burritos, fajitas, etc.
I’m not a fan of burritos. But one night we met friends here for dinner and they already ordered by the time we arrived. One of our friends ordered the burrito, but it looked nothing at all like a burrito. So I decided to give it a try.
Basically it’s fajita style chicken, onions, peppers and mushrooms (I have them leave off the mushrooms) with some kind of yummy Mexican-ish seasoning wrapped up in a flour tortilla. It comes with a side of potato wedges and a little tub of decent salsa. While not the same as what I’d get back home, and inaccurately named, this is by far my favorite Mexican food in town.
Mexican Restaurant #3: El Gallo
This is the popular Mexican restaurant. It’s also the one Andy took me to two years ago that has forever tainted my image of Mexican food in Germany. They’re always crowded at dinnertime, and even on a Tuesday night when we showed up, we had to share a table with someone else because nothing else was available.
The waitress brought us a tiny bowl of chips and an even tinier tub of completely liquid salsa. We only ate two or three chips before I took this picture. The salsa wasn’t great but at least it had a slight kick to it.
Since I already knew from past experience that I didn’t like their version of a quesadilla, I decided to try tacos this time. When the waitress brought our food, I thought for a minute she got the wrong order because the first thing she put on the table was a ceramic pot. It contained the chicken for the chicken tacos, covered in a layer of cheese, and it had been baked in the oven like a casserole or something. Then she gave me an empty plate, a bowl of guacamole and pico de gallo (not that they called it that) and a basket with flour tortillas.
Utterly confused, I began to scoop out the chicken, cheese and veggies onto a soft taco, when I realized the chicken was in some kind of soupy sauce. I began having flashbacks of the awful quesadilla from two years ago, as it too was oddly soupy. These alien tacos had some kind of strange flavor I couldn’t figure out, but it certainly didn’t fit. Somewhere in the middle I discovered two tiny chili peppers, so for two bites, my tacos were spicy. Couldn’t they have chopped up the chilis and spread them out a little?
El Gallo might be the most popular Mexican restaurant in town, and it’s the one everyone mentions with enthusiasm when I mention how much I miss Mexican food, but I will not be returning if I can help it at all. I will also be steering clear of Enchilada. Any place that puts not only corn but also green beans in a quesadilla should be banned. However, I will gladly return to El Bolero for their misguided but tasty burritos. For those of you traveling to Germany, I have heard of good Mexican restaurants in bigger cities, but be warned, it will probably never match your favorite Mexican restaurant back home.
Update January 2014: I have since spent three months in Berlin eating as much Mexican food as possible, and the options are much better than in Freiburg. Check out the results here.
Update April 2014: Freiburg now has an amazing taco truck selling tacos, burritos and quesadillas, and salsa that’s actually spicy! Read about the Holy Taco Shack here. (And now it’s a full-fledged restaurant!)
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February 21, 2013 @ 8:19 AM
I tasted “Mexican” food in California many times and it wasn’t good. I tell my host I went to Mexico so he takes me Mexican restaurants in US. I feel sick too much cheese and fat! In Mexico, I love real Mexican.
Same is Japanese “sushi” in US which is really not good compared to Japan. They put sauce on it!
February 21, 2013 @ 11:22 AM
Yeah, for the most part Mexican food in the US isn’t the same as Mexican food in Mexico. But it’s closer than anywhere else in the world, and here in Germany what I’ve found barely resembles Mexican food. I don’t like sushi, but I can only imagine how different the real thing is from what people in the US and other places!
February 21, 2013 @ 11:41 AM
If Mexican go to US they write same blog post about you go to Germany!
February 21, 2013 @ 11:52 AM
That’s definitely possible! What we eat in the US is Tex-Mex, so not quite the same as true authentic Mexican food. But most of our Mexican restaurants are run by Mexicans.
November 9, 2014 @ 12:18 AM
Yay for dredging up old threads!
Both California Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisines exist outside the official borders of Mexico, but they still have their own legitimate history, etc. (Spanish territory until late 1700’s and lasting missionary influence, plus an ongoing significant Hispanic population, etc.) If we relate it to language, California Mex and Tex-Mex cuisine are like dialects, whereas German Mexican restaurants are like a (German) foreigner picking up a Spanish text book with a bonus audio CD and trying to speak. What the foreigner speaks is not a dialect of Spanish, it’s generic Spanish with a (German) accent.
I have known German Mexican restaurants in my area to serve burritos with cauliflower, carrots, kidney beans, gouda cheese and corn inside (always corn!) wrapped in a tortilla that tastes slightly pancake-y. A friend called once from such a place, interrupted our conversation a few minutes in to ask her husband to identify an ingredient. “Honey, is that a potato? A date? Oh, it’s a mushroom!” These happenings are not comparable to even the worst offenders in California, Arizona or Texas – even the chains! (Restaurant chains never taste homemade or authentic – they take the very soul out of everything by definition, no matter whose cuisine they bastardize – but their style is at least based in something recognizable. Except for burgers. In-N-Out Burger was made to be a chain, and it is perfection…but I digress).
At any rate, I was just looking for survival tips regarding the serious lack of palatable Mexican food here in Germany and found your page, Ali. I am also stoked to read your update about the taco truck in Freiburg! I have a few more places to try here, but a road trip may be in order one of these days. Take care!
November 10, 2014 @ 1:41 PM
I hope you do get a chance to try the taco truck in Freiburg, and Berlin has some good Mexican food as well. But for the most part, Germany is not a good place for it!
February 21, 2013 @ 8:40 AM
I’m not a big fan of Mexican restaurants and food, maybe I don’t know what’s good Mexican food. If you are in Munich give me a call and be invited to check Mexican restaurants in Bavaria.
February 21, 2013 @ 11:23 AM
If you’ve only ever had Mexican food in Germany, you’re missing out! I’d love to try some Mexican restaurants in bigger cities like Munich.
February 23, 2013 @ 1:01 PM
You only have to plan your trip to Munich and let me know ;).
February 24, 2013 @ 7:05 PM
July 10, 2013 @ 1:34 AM
Well Ali I don’t want to sound disrespectful but if you’ve only had Mexican food in the States and Germany you’re missing out too!! Actually, most “nice” places in Mexico will serve you the tacos the way El Gallo does, with the tortillas and the inside served separately. Also, what does a quesadilla have in the states? For a regular mexican a quesadilla is only cheese inside a tortilla which is folded up (queso (cheese) + tortilla = quesadilla).
I can relate to you though, when I was in Dallas and in Montréal what was being served as Mexican food was utterly uneatable, whenever people tried to take me to their “favorite mexican places” I would say please don’t hahaha, but I’ve gotta say, after 4 months in Montréal when I landed in Houston I was craving for some tacos and maybe it was just my deep desire for mexican food but the restaurant I went to in Houston was pretty good and its tacos did taste like real, delicious meat-filled tacos (on the other hand, I went by only with Spanish in Houston so I guess there’s enough of Mexicans there that they can’t sell crappy Mexican food)
July 10, 2013 @ 11:12 AM
No disrespect taken Ramiro! I don’t mind having tacos served with the fillings on a different plate and having to assemble them myself. But this was soupy! Chicken in some kind of broth or something, with cheese baked on top of it. It was very strange. As for the quesadilla, I am used to the cheese ones but also restaurants have options with chicken as well as cheese. But I don’t think they should ever have corn or green beans in them.
I have had Mexican food in quite a few other countries, and some have been dull while others were incredible. I think the main problem here is that Germans typically don’t like spicy food, so the Mexican places are lacking in spice and strong flavors. My only experience of being in Mexico was for about an hour walking across the border from El Paso about 10 years ago, so I’m looking forward to really seeing Mexico one of these days and trying some tacos there!
February 21, 2013 @ 10:11 AM
‘Bad Mexican food does not deserve the good camera” –> hee hee!
February 21, 2013 @ 11:23 AM
Thanks Gillian, glad I made you laugh!
February 21, 2013 @ 11:36 AM
Ugh, just devastating and why I’ve never taken the plunge. I go to PureBurrito in Munich which is basically a Chipotle knock off. And I’ll get drinks at Enchilada, but that’s where I draw the line. Miss it so much!
February 21, 2013 @ 11:50 AM
I’d try a Chipotle knock off! And I didn’t realize Enchilada was a chain, that’s weird. I miss it too!
February 21, 2013 @ 11:54 AM
Tim and I both really miss Tex-Mex. We do have one restaurant that is run by a guy from California that married an Italian woman. He gears the food toward his Italian customers and it is different, but tasty. I just think that the same ingredients aren’t readily available.
February 21, 2013 @ 1:30 PM
Yeah, I’m sure the ingredients is a big part of it, but also the local tastes. That’s why Mexican food generally isn’t spicy here, because Germans typically don’t like spicy.
February 21, 2013 @ 11:55 AM
I’m in Berlin and even here, there are no good Mexican restaurants. At least I haven’t found one. I’ve even tried one with an actual Mexican owner and chef who told me he would love to serve more authentic food, but if he does, he gets endless complaints about it tasting weird and being too spicy to eat.
February 21, 2013 @ 1:31 PM
That’s so sad! I can’t imagine how that guy must feel running a restaurant that’s supposed to serve food from his own country but he has to drastically change it in order to have customers.
February 21, 2013 @ 12:04 PM
Man, I really, REALLY miss Mexican food. We’re headed home for a visit this summer and we’re already talking about Mexican food.
February 21, 2013 @ 1:32 PM
I’m so jealous! Have some salsa for me!
February 21, 2013 @ 1:33 PM
someday when you come home, we’ll take you to all the Mexican restaurants you want so you get your “fill” of it. At least for a while.
February 21, 2013 @ 5:40 PM
I look forward to it!
Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)
February 21, 2013 @ 3:05 PM
Ugh! Green beans in quesadillas is an automatic fail!
It seems like from what I have heard, Europeans really don’t like Mexican food at all… which is so strange to me, because generally they seem to like Indian food, which is known for its heat, so why not Mexican?!? I know a lot of people tend to be really dismissive of food in the U.S., but on this trip, Mexican food has been the one thing we have really missed the most!
February 21, 2013 @ 5:42 PM
Thanks Steph! I don’t know, there’s an Indian place in the food court we go to a lot, and there’s a sign in front of it that says “don’t worry, not spicy!” It’s hard to find anything spicy in Germany.
February 21, 2013 @ 4:57 PM
Mmmmmm – Mexican is one of my favs too. In Stavanger it’s overpriced and I can make better at home…
February 21, 2013 @ 5:43 PM
I definitely like my own salsa better than anything I can buy in the store or at a restaurant here.
February 21, 2013 @ 9:56 PM
Corn = Mexican. This made me laugh so hard.
February 21, 2013 @ 10:51 PM
HA! Good, glad to make you laugh!
February 22, 2013 @ 12:15 AM
The green beans get me EVERY TIME. While I love them, please keep them out of my Mexican food. Ew.
February 22, 2013 @ 12:12 PM
I thought you’d have something to say about this post! Green beans do NOT belong in Mexican food! Thanks Erica!
February 22, 2013 @ 5:06 AM
Mexican is the cuisine I probably miss most from the US and all my experiences finding the good stuff abroad has been similar to yours. Europe is especially bad, I think. Here in Seoul there are enough expats and US military that you can find some decent stuff, but nothing like the US.
February 22, 2013 @ 12:14 PM
Missing Mexican food seems to be a pretty universal thing for American expats. I’m glad you’ve found some decent Mexican restaurants in Seoul, but it is hard to find the good stuff once you leave the US. Thanks Amanda!
February 22, 2013 @ 1:32 PM
It always sucks soooo much when you’re in serious need of food, longing for something specific and then it tastes like rubbish.
Can really spoil the moment, I think:/
February 22, 2013 @ 4:20 PM
Exactly! At least now I expect the Mexican food here to be bad. I don’t mind El Bolero (restaurant #2) but beyond that I just can’t eat it here.
February 22, 2013 @ 8:15 PM
Wow, this is pretty poor indeed. I did laugh when I saw the title of the post, as when we were housesitting in Munich last summer we regularly wanted to cook Mexican food and the supplies at the supermarket were dire. We managed to find some hot sauce and some jalapenos, so we just stuck to making nachos instead of anything more “adventurous”!
February 24, 2013 @ 7:04 PM
I had hoped in a bigger city like Munich there would be more options, but it sounds like there weren’t. But you’re right, there’s always a way to make something simple like nachos. We make fajitas at home sometimes, and they’re decent enough.
February 23, 2013 @ 2:39 PM
You’d think someone would get it right by now. You should totally open up your own restaraunt! Good luck in your quest otherwise. 🙂
February 24, 2013 @ 7:06 PM
I think there just aren’t enough people who want spicy food like that. I’d love for someone else to open a good Mexican restaurant in Germany, but not me! I don’t really like touching raw meat, so I think that’s enough to make me a poor choice for a restaurant owner!
Meg from LandingStanding
February 23, 2013 @ 3:26 PM
haha this post is both incredibly sad and hilarious. There should NEVER be green beans in any Mexican dish!!
I know EXACTLY what you mean. Mexican was the #1 hardest food to find on our RTW trip. We were in Bolivia and ordered “Nachos” and they just brought out like maaaaybe 8 stale chips in a tiny basket and a little side bowl of guacamole that only had 3 tbs in it…. Which is basically the amount I put on one chip alone! That was the first and last time we ordered any Mexican overseas. I was craving it so BADLY when we got home and have been going crazy on it ever since!
February 24, 2013 @ 7:09 PM
I’m so glad so many people agree with me about the green beans! I actually had decent Mexican food in Siem Reap, Cambodia of all places, but I generally don’t bother trying in other countries either. It’s not worth the disappointment! I was in the US for 4 weeks last year and had Mexican probably 10 times, so I can imagine how much of it you’re eating now that you’re back home!
February 23, 2013 @ 5:08 PM
The burrito you had at ‘El Bolero’ looks like the ones I used to make when back home, I’m quite ashamed now considering you said it doesn’t look nothing like a real Mexican burrito 🙁
I need to try some decent Mexican food at some point.
February 24, 2013 @ 7:13 PM
Aw, don’t worry about that! Burritos typically have rice and/or beans in them as well as the meat, salsa, and guacamole. I would call this pre-made fajitas. Normally fajitas come to you as a stack of tortillas, a sizzling skillet of meat, peppers and onions, and another plate with cheese, sour cream, salsa, maybe guacamole, and you put them together yourself. If you ever make it to the US, ask people to direct you to a good Mexican restaurant.
The Time-Crunched Traveler (Ellen)
February 23, 2013 @ 5:36 PM
Oh I am so with ya. I miss Mexican food so much. I tried it in China recently … not horrible but just so not “right.”
February 24, 2013 @ 7:14 PM
Such a shame! Well, even if the Mexican food in China isn’t good, I hope you’re enjoying some authentic Chinese food. I’m sure that’s a lot different from what we get in the US!
February 24, 2013 @ 7:16 PM
LOL, I remember my buddy that lives in Germany telling me his best business idea was opening a line of Tex-Mex places that simply “didn’t suck.”
February 24, 2013 @ 11:09 PM
It certainly would be a good business, assuming he could get enough people to eat there. It would have to be in an area with lots of American expats. I think the Mexican place we ate at in Siem Reap was better than what I can find in Germany.
February 25, 2013 @ 7:22 PM
I don’t know that I would mind corn in my quesadilla, but definitely not green beans! I think what I would miss the most is really good refried beans. I wish I could send you some Mexican food. There is no shortage of it here in San Diego. Your homemade salsa looks delicious.
February 25, 2013 @ 10:03 PM
Thanks Christy! I guess the corn isn’t so bad, but really anytime someone wants to make something Mexican (Mexican pizza?) they pretty much just put corn on it, and voila it’s Mexican! I’m sure I would be in heaven in San Diego with all the different choices for Mexican restaurants!
February 28, 2013 @ 8:57 AM
These German restaurants look as though they do Mexican food about as well as the Mexicans would do German food. That is, not good at all. My dodgy home made burritos look more authentic than the ones they dished up to you in Germany.
I think a tell tale sign is that if you’re going to a so called Mexican restaurant and it’s not owned or run by Mexicans then you’re probably setting yourself up for disappointment. That said here in Australia in the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne right at the very top of Mount Dandenong is a German restaurant called The Cuckoo that has been there for decades. That place is owned and run by German ex-pats and their food and entertainment is very authentic even though they hire Australians to do most of the work for them.
In once went to a fish and chip shop in Melbourne run by some Chinese people. Big mistake. The fish I bought had bones in it and wasn’t battered properly and the chips looked more like fries than chips. Suffice to say they didn’t exist six months later when I walked past their former shop. They should’ve stuck with Chinese takeaway.
March 1, 2013 @ 2:34 PM
Fish and chips where the fish still had bones in it? Yuck! Yes, you’re totally right, you will have better luck getting authentic ethnic food if the restaurant is run by someone from that country. Although, one of the comments I got on this post is from someone in Berlin who said he knows of a Mexican restaurant there that’s run by a guy from Mexico, but he can’t make the food authentic because too many Germans complain about the “weird” tastes and spices. Such a shame.
March 25, 2013 @ 2:49 AM
LOL stumbled on this.
Yeah when I was in the Peace Corps all we did was just wish that we had Tex-Mex the whole time, because it was just such great and unhealthy food and of course loads of delicious cheese and spicy. Any care package must have taco seasoning and bonus if it had rotel or something like a spicy salsa. Even getting ground beef was expensive and difficult. One time even at a restaurant owned by a European in my country of service labeled chips and salsa was potato chips and ketchup (so close but so far…)
Now that I live in China it’s funny because it’s here and actually pretty good (with a salsa bar no less) and the restaurant is always packed with people, but kinda expensive.
Even though it would be a mistake to label it as such it’s not ‘Mexican’ I can defiantly say that it’s Tex-Mex which is kind of like a combination of Mexican and American. Kinda like Cajun could be a combination of French and American food. Or stews from the American Northeast can be quite similar to UK food. Even grits being similar to some African food (sezda to be exact). Yay for diversity in America! All of it being wonderful and now I’m hungry!
March 28, 2013 @ 10:22 PM
This is the food most Americans miss more than anything else when they’re overseas. There’s just no good substitute. I’m constantly trying to decide if salsa from my favorite restaurant back home would actually survive being shipped over here. After hearing about your care package stories, I just might have to give it a try one of these days! Thanks for the laughs!
November 3, 2013 @ 4:32 PM
Come to visit Los Angeles for the best Mexican foon. All styles and regions are well represented.
Sonoran, Baja, TexMex, all fantastic. I live on Mexican food!
November 4, 2013 @ 12:23 PM
Thanks Tom! I can only imagine how much amazing Mexican food you must have in LA!
January 21, 2014 @ 4:31 PM
You know, weirdly enough, when I was visiting Freiburg in October (I live in Frankfurt and studied in Freiburg for a year in 2006-2007) I ended up at El Gallo, and maybe it was because I had spent the entire afternoon drinking at Feierling, but my nachos were surprisingly…not awful. Now granted, they had smeared refried beans all over them before baking cheese on top, which I thought was an odd choice, and I have now spent a total of 5+ years in the land of terrible, terrible Mexican food so I know my standards are slipping, but it was a pleasant surprise not to be eating Doritos with ketchup “salsa”. Maybe they improved between February and October?? Or maybe it was just all that delicious, delicious Feierling beer dulling my senses.
January 23, 2014 @ 2:56 PM
The Doritos being served as tortilla chips is quite annoying too. It’s not the same thing! I’m sure the beer did help make the Mexican food taste better (don’t most things taste better when you’re a little drunk?) but maybe that’s the way to go. If I ever have to go back there, I’ll have a few beers first!
January 26, 2014 @ 5:22 PM
Have you tried one of those “green breans”? Looks like ordinary green chilies.
January 27, 2014 @ 5:34 AM
Yes I tried them, that was the meal I ate. They were definitely green beans.
March 13, 2014 @ 12:45 AM
I live in san diego California I was stationed in Germany many years and lived in Tijuana mexico as a kid.while you are visiting Europe,you should take in the culture and enjoy European
dishes.If you want tacos stay home,save the trip money and buy as many tacos or Mexican food as you want.Alot of the food the Mexican food here in California is real Mexican food,not all but
most of it is.I ate at a Mexican place both in Alabama and Georgia the food was terrible.The food was tex-mex,what tex mex means is wannabe Mexican food.Alot of the tex-mex food made here
in the us is because ethier they don’t know how to make it or they are trying to cater to americans,because they think americans may not like real Mexican dishes.The burrito is a border town food,invented by Mexican americans.In some parts of
mexico they don’t know what a burrito is,unless they been to norther mexico close to the us border or to the usa.I cross the border into mexico almost every weekend and yes I food is very
similar,with the exception of a few dishes.I think from new mexico to the east coast of the us,mexican food does not taste the same as in California.I also ate at a Mexican place in las cruses new mexico and it tasted like tex mex.reno Nevada on the other hand,had very good taco shops.Here in san diego there is a taco shop on every corner same with los angles.while I was in Germany I never had any Mexican food,I also traveled to france,england,belgium,denmark,netherlands,austria,luxumburg,and some other places and never did try Mexican food,I had their food.
I guess my point is try their food while in their country,and when you get back home have a feast,all you can eat Mexican style
Happy 5 de mayo in advance.
March 13, 2014 @ 10:44 AM
Hi Richard, the thing is I LIVE in Germany. Permanently. So I do eat lots of local food, but from time to time I really miss food from home, like Mexican food or perhaps Tex-Mex. I’m well aware of the fact that much of what is called Mexican food in the US is in fact Tex-Mex, and that’s fine. I’m sorry you had bad Mexican food in AL and GA. My favorite place is in Atlanta, it’s called Nuevo Laredo, and it’s been rated highly by Zagat. Check out the links here, and if you’re ever in Atlanta, definitely check out the restaurant: http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/destinations/2013/06/24/road-warriors-mexican/2453965/ and http://www.zagat.com/r/nuevo-laredo-cantina-atlanta
April 16, 2014 @ 1:41 PM
I lived in Freiburg for a year on a study abroad program in 1981-82. At that time there was one Mexican restaurant in town- and we were strongly advised not to go there by a couple of advisors for the program who had studied abroad in the States, so we never went. Aldi’s was our saving grace for ingredients for Mexican food (except for spicy chilis and hot pepper sauce, which thankfully arrived regularly in care packages from home). One thing Freiburg did have back then, GREAT pizza. I swear we were getting better pizza in Freiburg than we got in Italy! That entire year I lived on whatever the Mensa served for lunch, homemade Mexican, spaghetti (a regular Sunday night group effort dinner), pizza and Gyro’s.
April 16, 2014 @ 6:38 PM
I’m sure your advisers warned you correctly! I’m so happy the Holy Taco Shack opened up so we have some good Mexican food here now. I’ve never eaten at the Mensa, but it does seem to be popular with the students. I like the pizza found at Italian restaurants here, but not the German ones. And I’ve had better pasta from an Italian place here than in Italy too! Thanks Mike!
September 8, 2015 @ 1:43 AM
So what if Mexican restaurants in the US are run by Mexicans? That’s completely irrelevant. They still cater to the American palate. I was not even able to recognize any of those dishes that you posted on this article. I only see layers of artificial seasoning, cheese and fat. Oh! and hose bright ed sauces full of food coloring.
A lot of Chinese restaurant in the US are run by Chinese, yet they don’t sell authentic Chinese food, unless you go to an ethnic enclave (Chinatown).
I don’t even bother with Mexican food in the US, they use different seasoning and way too much cheese, ground beef, mayo and oil (uggh).
Bottom line: “Mexican” food in the US is NOT real Mexican food.
September 8, 2015 @ 4:30 PM
This is a post about Mexican food in Germany. The fact that the photos of the food are unrecognizable is exactly the point.
September 15, 2015 @ 11:01 PM
Moral of the story: If you live in Germany, eat phở do not eat Mexican food hi hi
July 26, 2016 @ 3:39 PM
It feels like a stab to the heart to hear someone group tex mex to california mex. Hell, even to group northern california mexican food to southern california mexican food is not fair. like languages, there are many dialects of mexican food. Mexican food is complicated. Here in San Diego, we have options. I can enjoy Chipotle one day, have TJ style tacos the next, and then enjoy taco shop on the third day. All three are vastly different. All three are tasty. All three are located within 10 miles of each other, but you should NEVER group them all together and call them “mexican food”. Of all the couch surfers i have hosted, especially the germans, they have fallen in love with san diego’s vast selections of taco shops. The places that sell greasy, fatty, deliciously packed burritos, smothered fries, and loaded nachos. The kind of stuff all the kids flock after a night of drinking. The world needs more of that.
July 27, 2016 @ 11:19 AM
Did you even read the post? That’s really not what it’s about. It’s about how awful the Mexican food was in Freiburg, Germany, where I lived for 4 years. Whether they were trying to be Tex-Mex or California Mex or something else is irrelevant. There should not be green beans in a quesadilla. The spiciest of several types of salsa should not taste like tomato juice. I’m glad you’ve met some travelers from Germany who have fallen in love with the food in San Diego, but that really has nothing to do with my experience living in Germany and tasting what they think it should taste like. I’d love to have the food you described here, but it was not my experience. Also, if you click the link at the bottom of the post, it goes to a more recent post about a California Mexican taco truck that was started in Freiburg, which actually has amazing food.
August 24, 2016 @ 11:36 PM
Hi Ali! I was wandering thru the internet and I stumbled with your post… I have been living in Germany for a while now (Aachen), but actually I have given up on my search for mexican places, since I was born and raised in Mexico, I can say that at least for me it is almost impossible find a mexican place with the real mexican flavor outside Mexico, neither the US, Germany nor neighbor countries. Although some time ago I found one here in Aachen!!! I was so excited, since the chef was mexican and the food was close enough to the the real deal. Unfourtunately the restaurant is not running anymore :(. Now I don’t even try to give a shot to new places, usually the food is over priced and dissapointing… so, when I feel like some mexican food, I cook myself haha, anyway, if someday you are close by, give me a call and we can cook and share some of my salsa recepies 😉
August 26, 2016 @ 10:42 AM
Ha, thanks Marco! You’re right, you’re probably never going to find real authentic Mexican food outside of Mexico. There are a few restaurants in Berlin that have good Tex-Mex or California style Mexican food though. We even brought two friends who are Mexican-American to one restaurant, and they were pretty impressed, so if you ever make it to Berlin, check out Santa Maria or Maria Eastside: http://santaberlin.com/ And if you ever get to Freiburg, check out the Holy Taco Shack: http://theholytacoshack.com/
April 18, 2017 @ 9:53 AM
Real Mexican Food :
*Enchiladas ( is a corn tortilla rolled around a filling and covered with a chili pepper sauce. Enchiladas can be filled with a variety of ingredients, including meat,chicken and sometimes with beans)
*Tacos with : chicken,beef,guacacole “ avocados“,pork (basically tacos with everything)(tacos are not soup)
*Quesadillas (tortillas with cheese,chicharron,beef or everything,except for green beans)
*Chilaquiles (Nachos Style / Tortillas with chicken in green or red sauce)
*Mole Poblano (Exotic & exquisite dish really hard to make with special mexican sauce)
*Sopa azteca (tortillas,avocados,onion,chipotle ,lemon & cheese) yes this is soup
…and more than 50,000 kinds of Sauces (all natural) not that Tabasco sauce that makes you feel sick
American “Mexican Food“ :
Tacos with fries ??? what the…(is this Burguer king ??)
Taco Bell is not run by Mexicans either
Desperados beer is made by french people
Tabasco sauce made in American soil
Nachos are a copy of the “Chilaquiles“ with more cheese and jalapeños made it to get more sales on the superbowl…lol
Anyway the closest meal of a Mexican Real Taco is the Shawarma or döner kebab wich you can find in any arab restaurant in germany.
April 19, 2017 @ 9:55 AM
Yep, Mexican food (or Tex-Mex or California Mex) in Germany is usually pretty bad. BUT!!! I live in Berlin now, and there are quite a few good places. My favorite is Santa Maria and their second location, Maria Eastside. Maria Bonita is another good one.