Banging on about burritos

For years students have been eating foods such as pizza, Chinese or chicken fillet rolls. However, in recent years the burrito has become more popular.

A burrito is a foil wrapped, handcrafted tortilla wrap filled with rice, beans, seasoned meat or vegetables, cheese, lettuce, salsa, and guacamole. It originated from Mexico in the 20th century and became hugely popular in America in the 1960s and the Mexican inspired dish has spread across the globe since.

Second-year engineering student and regular burrito consumer, Billy Siggins thinks that “the fascination stems from the fact that they are class. Research has shown this.” Siggins explained why he enjoyed Burritos so much, “I like spicy foods, and I appreciate the fact you can pick your spice, and then add more spices for free.” His regular order is a Burrito Bowl which consists of chicken, pinto beans, Mexican rice, chorizo crunch, lettuce and cheese.”

He is also fascinated with Boojums loyalty card scheme, for every ten stamps on the card you’ll get a free meal and when you get 40 stamps, you’ll get a t-shirt. “I have 4 shirts and my current card is halfway there.”

Once it reached the US, the burrito started to cross cultural boundaries. Now there are burritos made with Thai chicken or Chinese pork,  there’s also the breakfast burrito, a tortilla stuffed with eggs, potato, and bacon, and even KFC make their own Kentucky fried burritos.

Directly translated from Spanish, burrito means “little donkey”. Some people believe that it could simply be because burritos look a bit like a donkey’s ears or the rolled packs and bedrolls often carried by donkeys.

The folk history is that of a man named Juan Méndez sold tacos in a street stand and used a donkey to transport his food. Méndez wrapped it in large homemade flour tortillas underneath a small tablecloth to keep the food warm.

But no matter how the food got its name, it certainly became popular quite rapidly since it was first created. The trend of the cuisine puts a chicken fillet roll from Londis to shame. Dublin is home to over 30 burrito bars and it’s easy to understand the appeal of burritos. They’re quick to make, cheap, convenient, they have a unique flavour compared to other dishes and there are many dietary options (For example, burrito bowls and paleo options) which means they are suitable for many people.

But what are the benefits of burritos? There are healthy order options such as black rice and there are salad bowls for those who are weight conscious. The real appeal with this sort of food is there is something for everybody, including the big eaters who want the double guac it extra cheese. Not to mention that they are very filling and you will get your monies worth in a burrito bar.

Pablo Picante, a burrito bar offer a vegan burrito, which contains “citrus-marinated tofu, fresh avocado chunks, paprika lima beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, borlotti beans, rice and salsa in a spinach flour tortilla”.

The reliable filling lunch option is big as in Ireland now, with a burrito shop in pretty much every corner in the country. But what will be the next trend? Korean food is currently sweeping America and it could easily take off in Ireland just like the burritos as we are strongly influenced by the US.


Amy Donohoe

Image credit: Aoibhin Bryant