If you follow a gluten-free diet, Mexican food is a must. This is because a great deal of cuisine from Mexico is inherently gluten-free. Rich and flavorful pillars of the Mexican diet, beans, rice, corn, and avocados are naturally gluten-free foods.

These days, almost every restaurant has some kind of international influence on their menu; even “All American” grills, sports bars, and steakhouses provide a selection of more upscale selections. Being aware of the questions to ask about particular food kinds can help you avoid becoming “glutened.” 

Most traditional Mexican meals use maize masa, or corn flour; but, in an effort to appeal to Western palates, more and more Mexican eateries are serving wheat tortillas. 

The following are a few of the numerous ways that Mexican restaurants might contaminate your food with gluten, along with the reasons you should exercise caution when consuming Mexican cuisine, especially when dining out. 

Hidden Gluten Threats in Mexican Restaurants

Photo: goodforyouglutenfree

 

Let’s first identify the most common gluten-causing factors in Mexican restaurants before moving on to the tips:

  • Flour Tortillas: Although corn tortillas are typically utilized, several dining establishments provide flour substitutes. When placing an order, always mention corn tortillas.
  • Shared Fryers: You can fry crispy foods like chips and flautas in the same oil that’s used to cook wheat products. Find out if there are fryers specifically designed to accommodate gluten-free foods.
  • Thickened Sauces: Wheat flour can be added to creamy sauces like mole or queso fundido to make them thicker. Choose guacamole or fresh salsas or inquire about the ingredients used to thicken.
  • Marinades: Ask restaurant staff to confirm if the marinades used for grilled meats contain soy sauce, as it occasionally contains wheat derivatives. 

Outsmarting the Sneaky Gluten Culprits

Image: legalnomads.com

 

  1. Instead of flour tortillas, ask for corn tortillas. This ought to provide you with possibilities that you might not have previously had (such as wheat tortillas for fajitas). Make sure the corn tortillas are free of gluten; don’t take any chances.
  2. Find out whether there is a special fryer used to fry the corn chips. Even though the chips don’t contain gluten, they shouldn’t be labeled as such if they were cooked in a fryer that also held food that has gluten. Likewise, the corn-based hard taco shells need to be deep-fried in a special fryer in order to be safe for ingestion. 
  3. Make sure to ask whether any of the meat, such as fajitas, has been marinated in anything when you place your order. Find out the precise components included in the marinade. The same applies to any sauce that is drizzled over enchiladas or used with taco meat.  
  4. Watch out for the rice. Occasionally, it may be produced with questionable flavorings or non-gluten-free chicken stock. 
  5. Question everything else. Sometimes flour or another gluten-containing material is added as a thickening to cheese dips or even sour cream. Pre-shredded cheese that has been floured for preservation and to prevent sticking is purchased by certain establishments. 
  6. Speak with the manager or chef about their kitchen procedures and whether they use any shared cooktops that might have been used to make gluten-containing dishes. For instance, if you order a quesadilla and ask for corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas, just make sure the dish is grilled on a sanitized surface.  

Additional Tips for a Worry-Free Dining Experience

Image: Gluten Free Travel Blog

 

  • Research ahead of time: Look for gluten-free choices on menus online or give restaurants a call.
  • Dine with friends who understand: Navigating a gluten-free meal can be made easier if you have a friendly dining partner. 
  • Bring your own gluten-free tortillas: To be extra safe, bring your own tortillas to go with guacamole or salsa. 

Takeaway

For individuals following a gluten-free diet, Mexican food should not be completely avoided. You may confidently navigate a Mexican restaurant if you know which ingredients are inherently gluten-free and are aware of any potential gluten sources. 

So, keep this in mind the next time you are craving Mexican food: you can have a tasty and safe food party with a little preparation and communication! 

“Buen provecho!” 

 

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