The Five Next Big Trends in Mexican Food in the United States

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Flickr user ryanleighty
This Thursday, I fly to the University of Houston in what will be the official end of my Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America tour. It's been a great ride that has taken  me from the Bay Area to Texas about a million times, the South and virtually all other points, but while the tour ends, the conversation continues FOREVER.

At each stop, someone inevitably asks the following: what do you think will be the next big trend in Mexican food in this country? And, as always, I have an answer. For those entrepreneurial readers out there: capitalize on one of these fast, and you'll become a millionaire many times over--interested?

5. The Continued Spread of Regional Mexican Food
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How long until Iowa gets the taco acorazado?

Here in Southern California, we're awash in the food of nearly all regions of Mexico--but the majority of the country still must endure a Tex-Mex/Cal-Mex duopoly over their Mexican food. That's slowly changing as the Reconquista spreads across the United States, and each region will attain their own focus. New York is already the capital of Pueblan food in the United States, the South is slowly turning into barbacoa estilo Hidalgo central, and I remember going to Philadelphia years ago and finding a Michoacán dish so rare that I can't even remember the name (it came from the Purépecha, though). Expect rare regional specialties to continue, and avaricious chefs to continue appropriating said dishes.

4. Mexican Sweets
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Maybe not THIS fancy...

Americans are already crazy for Mexican Coke, and Jarritos is making inroads into that market as well. They are good gateway drugs into the rest of the Mexican sweets galaxy on the mainstream level. On the subaltern front, there's a growing demand for Mexican artisan chocolate and vanilla, the OG Mexican sweets, and you're already seeing the growth of paletas slowly go up (there was an effort a couple of years ago to make it the Next Big Cosa, but that didn't pan out--too early). I'm not sure if tamarind or candies with chile will take hold soon, but they will--millions of Mexican schoolchildren sharing their Lucas candy can't be wrong.

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