Mainstream Food & Drink Brands Infused with Latin Flavors
The mainstreaming of international flavors in the United States is nothing new. (You can thank Mesoamerica for chocolate.) Through the years, Latin flavors have made their way into U.S. kitchens thanks to brands like Oreo and Frito-Lay developing their own Latin-inspired recipes. From the jalapeños cultivated in Mexico to dulce de leche from Argentina, these popular ingredients that are so commonplace in their native lands have now intrigued American taste buds.
GAYOT’s list of Latin-inspired foods and drinks is by no means exhaustive (or too serious). Rather, we’re showing how Latin flavors have been reinterpreted and mass-produced to appeal to American palates, from tamarind beer to jalapeño tuna! Most of these Latin-inspired foods are available at a supermarket near you, so read on to see if your taste buds are adventurous enough to try these “fusion” flavors.
Although first mass-produced in Los Angeles in the late 1940s by tortilla factory owner Rebecca Webb Carranza, tortilla chips have always been considered an authentic Mexican food. Since then, the tortilla chip has become one of, if not the, most popular Latin foods mass-produced in the U.S. Late July’s version is both organic and non-GMO with taco truck-inspired flavors including Nacho Chipotle, Bacon Habanero and Jalapeño Lime (our favorite). We love that these chips prove you don’t have to sacrifice taste for fresh ingredients.
Beerland winner Jessica Fierro’s beer honors her Mexican roots.
Tamarind is a tropical fruit that is found throughout Mexico and this beer from Golden Road Brewery in Los Angeles, California, incorporates the popular pod-like fruit. Colorado Springs homebrewer Jessica Fierro was selected as the winner of the Viceland homebrewing competition television show, Beerland. Her tamarind Bière de Garde (a strong pale ale traditionally brewed in northern France) is an homage to Fierro’s grandmother, Ernestina Martinez, known as Doña Neta, who used to make tamarind candy.
American beer gets a Mexican makeover with this hoppy ale.
Horchata is a popular dessert drink from Latin America that varies depending on which country it’s made in. While this rice-milk beverage isn’t exclusively from Mexico, the inspiration behind Blue Moon Cinnamon Horchata Ale comes from the Mexican interpretation, made with long grain rice and hints of cinnamon.
The ever-popular “mystery meat” has added a little Latin flair to its canned concoction.
The first can of Spam came off the production line in 1937 and since then, eating canned meat was never the same. Although criticized for its high sodium and fat content, Spam remains a popular supermarket food. Its Latin-inspired flavor, Spam Jalapeño, is spicing things up with the Mexican chili pepper — although if you read Amazon user reviews, people seem to prefer it in a non-Latin dish: Spam musubi, the popular Hawaiian snack.
Canned tuna gets a little kick from the popular Mexican chili pepper.
Why just have tuna when you can have spicy tuna? The popular Bumble Bee canned seafood brand started spicing things up when the company launched the jalapeño seasoned flavor back in 2013. Now you can amp up your tuna salad or sandwich without having to mince the Mexican chili pepper yourself.
Pringles has gotten LOUD with this line of chips featuring several spicy Latin flavors.
The names say it all: Fiery Chili Lime, Spicy Queso and Salsa Fiesta. If these Latin-inspired Pringles don’t scream “sabor!” we’re not sure what will. Don’t try these stackable chips unless you’re willing to ruin your carb-free diet.
Because who doesn’t sprinkle their chips with Tapatío hot sauce and lemon?
Tapatío was created by José-Luis Saavedra, an immigrant from Mexico City, in 1971. The word Tapatío is actually a nickname for people from Guadalajara in Jalisco, Mexico, but he chose it because it’s where his kids were born. Lay’s is no stranger to experimental flavors, but this seems like an obvious choice whether or not you’re Latino. (And no, you can’t eat just one.)
Inspired by regional recipes, this line of Bush’s Beans is an ode to Latin flavors.
Bush’s Beans began in 1908 in Chestnut Hill, Tennessee. Since then, it has become a supermarket staple in grocery stores across America. Now, the brand has expanded to include the Cocina Latina line, which features ingredients and seasonings found in Latin kitchens — think poblano chile, chile de arbol, frijoles cubanos, white hominy and yes, their famous refried beans.
It’s a flavorful marriage of one of the most popular ice cream brands in the U.S. and one of Latin America’s most popular desserts.
Dulce de leche (“sweet made of milk”) blends milk and sugar to create Latin America’s version of caramel. Said to have originally developed in Argentina, dulce de leche has become an increasingly popular flavor across all cultures. Baskin Robbins took note with this creamy, caramel-colored ice cream that aims to please all palates.
The classic boxed cake mix takes on this quinceañera staple.
The “three milks cake” is a light, spongy cake that is soaked in three different milks: evaporated, condensed and heavy cream. A popular cake flavor for quinceañeras (a traditional Mexican birthday celebration for 15-year-old girls), tres leches has become more popular for American crowds. This mix from Duncan Hines only requires that you add milk to the provided milk syrup, making it fool-proof. But for true tres leches lovers, it doesn’t compare to the real deal made from scratch.
11. Oreo Churros
The famed Spanish pastry get an Oreos makeover.
Churros originated in Spain and Portugal, but the fried stick of dough has long been popular in Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Chile and Mexico. Today, the sweet treats are also a carnival and theme park favorite in the United States (there are even churro ice cream sandwiches). But these chocolate concoctions from Oreos are the perfect example of an American take on a Spanish staple.