Birria has taken over Instagram, with thousands of posts with #birriatacos featuring delectable, saucy street tacos. This juicy meat stew is native to Jalisco, Mexico and has exploded on the food truck scene across the US. Made with tough cuts of either goat, beef, or lamb, the meat is cooked until tender and flavored with chilies such as ancho and guajillo, and Mexican spices before being added to tacos or left to stand on its own. The tacos are often dipped in the birria broth (consomé) before being eaten.
This delicious traditional dish is one of many global foods to break into American cuisine. Americans are craving foods from around the world, whether it’s Mexican birria, Korean barbecue, or Middle Eastern flavors. These global tastes are a wonderful way to reinvent classic American fare or experience entirely unique flavors and textures.
CONSUMERS ARE OPEN TO NEW EXPERIENCES
70% of US consumers enjoy trying new experiences, including food and drink flavor discovery.
YOUNGER CONSUMERS CRAVE EXOTIC, HYBRID FLAVORS
“Exotic, hybrid flavors are gaining popularity.”
—Andrew Lee, Senior Category Manager, 7-Eleven Inc.
In its home country of Mexico, birria can often be found at street carts as well as in regular restaurants. Its convenient, grab-and-go style made it a hit in Jalisco’s capitol, Guadalajara, and in surrounding states.
When birria made its way to the US, it was the same story. Birrerias (places selling birria) popped up as food trucks and small stands selling delicious birria tacos seemingly on every corner. The food was quick, cheap, and tasty for city folks on the go.
One standout for birria food trucks and restaurants alike is Birreria Gonzalez in Los Angeles. Their empire currently consists of five food trucks and two restaurants, including Birreria Gonzalez Lounge in East L.A., all of which offer their spicy Tijuana-style birria. Whether at one of their food trucks or in one of their restaurants, their birria features the rich beef broth and chiles that birria fans have come to love.
While Jalisco is a famous spot for birria, it’s not the only place birria is found. Several Mexican states have taken the meats, spices, and cooking styles of Jalisciense birria and added their own twist. In the case of Aguascalientes birria, cilantro is replaced with oregano, and the dish tends to have a heavier focus on tomatoes.
A great place to catch Aguascalientes-style birria is Birreria Cavillo, Aguascalientes in Los Angeles. The Landeros family has been cooking birria for over 45 years, so they’ve perfected the mix of flavors in their Aguescalientes-style birria, with its tomatoey base, chopped onions, spicy house salsa, and dried oregano on top.
Birria isn’t limited to street carts and food trucks. Its robust flavor profile and decadence makes it a wonderful dish for fine dining restaurants as well, such as Contra in New York. The Michelin-starred venue teamed up with neighboring restaurant Wildair to form Contrair, a delivery and takeout menu with multicultural dishes designed to weather a trip back home.
While the dishes aren’t quite as high-end as Contra’s $89 prix-fixe was when the restaurant was open for dine-in, they still retain Contra and Wildair’s elegant style and complex flavors. Their birria features a traditional spicy stew, chickpeas, red cabbage, and white rice for an elevated and comforting take on this Mexican street food.
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