Are Chimichangas Actually Mexican Food?

When you go out for Mexican food in NH, or anywhere for that matter, you’ll almost certainly see chimichangas on the menu. That’s because they're delicious and incredibly popular, but are they really Mexican? The simplest definition of Mexican food is “food that comes from Mexico,” but that is up for debate when it comes to the chimichanga.  

So are chimichangas actually Mexican? Let’s take a look at their origin stories.


A Tasty Accident

Although there are many chimichanga origin stories, they all have one thing in common: it was an accident. A chimichanga is basically a fried burrito, and the general consensus is that the idea came about by mistake. Many people have claimed that they invented the chimichanga, but one version of the story has more details than the others. That would be the story of Monica Flin, founder of the El Charro Café in Tuscon, Arizona. As the story goes, sometime in the early 1920s, she was making a burrito for a customer. Just as she was finishing, she got distracted and accidentally dropped the burrito in the fryer. In frustration, she was about to say chingada, which is a very rude word in Spanish. But El Charro was a respectable family establishment, and she caught herself and said chimichanga just in time. As it turns out, fried burritos are delicious, and the name “chimichanga” stuck. In order to claim it as authentic Mexican food, some people will say that the chimichanga accident happened in a restaurant in Sonora, Mexico. This region of Mexico borders Arizona, and most versions of the story are supposed to have happened around the same time. So it's hard to know if this tasty accidental creation is really Mexican. But it’s tasty enough that most people don’t mind one way or the other.  

Nonsense or No?

Outside of the question of its country of origin, there is also some debate surrounding the name. Many people believe that chimichanga was a nonsense word, but it may have some roots in Mexican Spanish terms. Chimi may come from chamuscado, which means “singed” or “seared.” Changa is also related to chinga, a form of the rude word Monica Flin stopped herself from saying. It’s also possible that it’s just a coincidence.  

Tasty NH Mexican Food at Don Ramon

Whether this dish is Mexican or Mexican-American, it continues to be a favorite at Mexican restaurants everywhere, including Don Ramon. So whether you’re in search of great Mexican food here in NH or elsewhere in the US, you’ll always be able to get a chimichanga!  

Looking for great Mexican food in NH? Pay us a visit or order online and enjoy your meal at home!