If you were like me growing up in the 90s and early 2000s, whenever you went to Taco Bell your father didn’t let you order your own item, but instead made you eat the family meal of plain tacos and pintos and cheese.
You would walk up to the cashier and swoon over the prospect of eating Nachos Bell Grande or heck, even a Chalupa. But alas, you belonged to a family on a budget and you would have to take one for the team and fantasize about what a Gordita really tasted like.
Taco Bell is known for its munchy-friendly items, from Chalupas and Crunchwrap Supremes to Doritos Locos Tacos and Gorditas. The same goes for the drinks, like the Blue Raspberry Freeze and the Mountain Dew Baja Blast that will help you wash down the inevitable feelings of shame one gets from periodically over-indulging in every value-menu item early Sunday mornings.
The Taco Bell Mexican Pizza is one of those items, and it is very American and very strange. It consists of two fried flour tortillas filled with a blend of refried beans and meat, all topped with cheese, sauce, and diced tomatoes.
It would be easy to lambast this concoction as yet another example of corporate America’s shallow efforts at cultural appropriation, but we’re not going to do that here. Not because it’s good—it isn’t—but because it has a level of charm and whimsy that makes it stand out among other fast-food options.
What Makes The Mexican Pizza So Special
The Mexican Pizza is different than all of those items. For one, it’s been around since the 1980s in one form or another, representing a much more aged offering than the more recent Crunchwrap Supreme and Doritos Locos Taco. Beyond that, it’s the only item other than tacos that makes explicit reference to any sort of direct Mexican influence behind Taco Bell’s menu.
It’s as if Taco Bell execs were saying “Hey, how can we show people that we’re kind of Mexican, but not really?”
It’s not even a pizza, though it does have flour covered with cheese and sauce. So maybe it is a pizza in a relativistic sense. Perhaps Fouceault and social-media dilettantes would all agree that the Mexican Pizza represents the best and worst of postmodernist thinking. But ordinary Americans can all agree that oddities like the Mexican Pizza are what makes this often-insane country so innovative.
The Mexican Pizza is so dynamic that when Taco Bell took it off their menus in 2020 fans rebelled, with celebrities like Dolly Parton and Doja Cat coming out in support of the unique item and starring in a mini musical about the Mexican Pizza. You read that right. “Mexican Pizza: The Musical” is more real than any cheese you’ll find at Taco Bell.
The Taco Bell Mexican Pizza: Why You Should Eat
If you order the Taco Bell Mexican Pizza, chances are you won’t be living mas because it’s just not good. It’s not even close to the best item on offer at Taco Bell. If you buy the meal and obligatory Baja Blast, you’ll find that the tacos that come with it are actually more flavorful, with their mystery meat blended with sour cream, cheese, and diced tomatoes all placed in crunchy hard shells.
The Mexican Taco itself is fairly bland, with a mush of under-seasoned beef and beans and crunchy flour tortillas topped with sauce and cheese that tasted like something so lacking in spice that an elderly Swedish nursing-home resident wouldn’t even find it offensive.
But that’s not really the point, is it? The point is that even at the top of the corporate fast-food ladder, our culture maintains a vibrancy that allows even the least economically advantaged among us to partake in the silliness of a food called the Mexican Pizza. If a kid or someone with a vicious case of the munchies can revel in the whimsy of something like that, then it’s all worth it.
Here’s to Pizza Hut making the Italian Chalupa.