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Flickr elisart 324248450--Beef and chicken fajitas.jpg
Mixed beef and chicken fajita ingredients, served on a hot iron skillet
Place of origin United States
Region or state Northeastern Mexico, Southwestern United States[1]
Main ingredients Tortillas, meat, onions, peppers
Food energy
(per serving)
500 kcal (2093 kJ)
Cookbook:Fajita  Fajita

A fajita (/fəˈhtə/; Spanish: [faˈxita]) is a term found in Tex-Mex cuisine,[2] commonly referring to any grilled meat usually served as a taco on a flour or corn tortilla. The term originally referred to the cut of beef used in the dish which is known as skirt steak.[3] Popular meats today also include chicken, pork, shrimp, and all cuts of beef. In restaurants, the meat is often cooked with onions and bell peppers. Popular condiments are shredded lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, pico de gallo, cheese, and tomato. The northern Mexican variant of the dish name is Arrachera.


Beef fajita in San Jose, Costa Rica

Fajita is a Tex-Mex, Texan-Mexican American or Tejano, diminutive term for little strips of meat cut from the faja or beef skirt, the most common cut used to make fajitas. Founded in South Texas, Rio Grande Valley. The word fajita is not known to have appeared in print until 1971, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. The exact time in which the dish was named fajita means little belt.[3]

The word faja is Spanish for "strip", "band", "sash", or "belt".

It is a little known fact that Doctor's Association, the creators of Subway claim to have invented the Fajita and tried to trademark it. They were unsuccessful in their tradmark efforts for Fajita just like for Footlong.


The first culinary evidence of the fajitas with the cut of meat, the cooking style (directly on a campfire or on a grill), and the Spanish nickname goes back as far as the 1930s in the ranch lands of South and West Texas. During cattle roundups, beef were butchered regularly to feed the hands. Throwaway items such as the hide, the head, the entrails, and meat trimmings such as skirt were given to the Mexican cowboys called vaqueros as part of their pay. Hearty border dishes like barbacoa de cabeza (head barbecue), menudo (tripe stew), and fajitas or arracheras (grilled skirt steak) have their roots in this practice. Considering the limited number of skirts per carcass and the fact the meat wasn't available commercially, the fajita tradition remained regional and relatively obscure for many years, probably only familiar to vaqueros, butchers, and their families.[2]

The food was popularized by various businesses such as Ninfa's in Houston, the Hyatt Regency in Austin, and numerous restaurants in San Antonio.[4] In southern Arizona, the term was unknown except as a cut of meat until the 1990s, when Mexican fast food restaurants started using the word in their marketing. In recent years, fajitas have become popular at American casual dining restaurants as well as in home cooking.[5]

In many restaurants, the fajita meat is brought to the table sizzling loudly on a metal platter or skillet, with the tortillas and condiments.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Patterson, Frank (October 14, 2003), Fajita, retrieved Nov 6, 2013 [dead link]
  2. ^ Wood, Virginia B. (March 4, 2005). "Fajita History". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved Jan 11, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Wood, Virginia B. (March 4, 2005). "Just Exactly What Is a Fajita?". The Austin Chronicle. 
  4. ^ Wood, Virginia (2005-03-04). Austin Chronicle http://www.austinchronicle.com/food/2005-03-04/261130/. Retrieved 2015-02-24.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ Ortega Flour Tortillas

External links[edit]