There is something spicy happening in Galway. Mexican food, one of the biggest food trends of recent years, has gone mainstream, and Galwegians are going loco for it.
Latin-American foods such as nachos, chips and salsa, fajitas, quesadillas, tacos, burritos, and beans are now an everyday sight on the dinner tables of Ireland and have become as commonplace as bacon and cabbage. Although La Salsa on Mary Street and Cactus Jacks have been serving us a Tex-Mex approximation of this zesty cuisine for years, it was the arrival of Boojum to the Spanish Arch last year that brought the growing trend to town. Our first dedicated burrito bar, in the style of the popular American chain Chipotle.
Mexican food is being embraced in more and more countries, much like Italian food has done over time. Just as all Italian food differs depending upon the regional geography in the country, similarly Mexican food varies by region, local climate, geography, and ethnic differences among the indigenous people, who have been influenced by the Spanish to varying degrees. The north of Mexico is known for its beef production and meat dishes. South-eastern Mexico, on the other hand, is known for its spicy vegetable and chicken-based dishes. Seafood is commonly prepared in the states that border the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Mexican food also offers greater convenience in a fast food situation which, with the exception of pizza, Italian food does not.
Supermac's introduces its fresh Mexican grill, Habaneros
Supermac's is the latest to embrace this popular trend with the introduction of its new fresh Mexican grill, Habaneros, which caused something of a stir in recent weeks with an attention grabbing publicity stunt during which a blizzard of burritos were given away to hundreds of eager customers. Such was the popularity the queues stretched through the streets as far back as the post office.
Habaneros is based on the Mexican concept of a taquería, a restaurant specialising in burritos, although tacos and other dishes can be served as well. Originally, taquerías referred to the stands of street vendors and, similar to that, there are no frills here, no table service, no bookings — just quick service at the counter from the helpful staff.
First choose what you would like — burrito, quesadilla, soft or crispy tacos. Next select your filling — spicy chicken, slow roasted beef or pork, or a vegetarian mix of rice, beans, peppers, and onions with a dollop of guacamole. Then dress it up with some cheese, sour cream, and one of a variety of salsas, ranging from a mild and refreshing pico de gallo a fresh, uncooked salad made from chopped tomato, onion, coriander leaves, and lime juice, to the far more potent salsa de arbor.
There is nothing fast about how this food is prepared
Although you will be tucking into your taco in a matter of minutes, behind the scenes it is a different story entirely, there is nothing fast about this food. Whereas most things in Supermac’s are bought in largely pre-prepared for convenience, the food served at the Habaneros counter is far more labour intensive. The beef and pork are slow cooked for up to nine hours, the black beans soaked overnight and finished in the pressure cookers. The rice is simmered in Habaneros’ own freshly made salsa, and the tortilla chips are cooked to order. The pico de gallo is diced up one bain marie at a time as it cannot be refrigerated without impairing the flavour. Similarly, the guacamole is made in small batches as it oxidises quickly, and more is made as it is needed.
Habaneros offers a relatively healthy alternative to other fast foods and as the most expensive item on the menu is €6.75, it is easy on the waistline and on your pocket too. Next time you are in Supermac’s, instead of your usual Mighty Mac or curry chips, why not give Habaneros a try? Tasty fast food, properly prepared, for a quick Mexican fix, especially if you are on a budget.
Habaneros Fresh Mexican Grill, Supermac's, Eyre Square, Galway, phone 091 566555.