When it comes to Mexican food, there are so many different choices that it can be difficult to figure out what your favorite type is. While tacos and burritos are typically the king menu items at Mexican restaurants – and for great reason – another great choice is the quesadilla! 

Quesadillas have been a Mexican food staple for as long as we can remember, offering golden, cheesy, deliciousness. Even with all the popularity this meal has, there are still some sourpusses out there that stick to their guns and claim that quesadillas are not actually Mexican food. 

Are they right? Are they wrong? The truth is, we could actually care less where quesadillas come from. All we care about, and all that we know, is that they are delicious and you can never go wrong with eating one as a meal. That’s why you’ll find quesadillas on our menu at Sandbar Mexican Grill in Chandler, Arizona. But, just so we can humor our dedicated blog post readers, we are going to dish up a little bit about where quesadillas originated from. 

The Origins Of The Quesadilla 

Quesadillas as we know them today are a combination of either two corn or flour tortillas or one tortilla folder over. Cheese and other fillings, like vegetables and meat, can be added to the middle. After the filling is added to the tortilla and the tortilla is fried or toasted, it officially becomes a quesadilla. 

The name is derived from the word queso, which is the Spanish word for cheese — yes, it is also that hot, gooey liquid you love shoveling into your mouth with a chip — quesadillas have hard-to-track origin story, so we’re going back to what it all started with: the corn tortilla. We aren’t exactly sure when the tortilla originate, but we do know that tortillas pre-date the arrival of the Spanish to Mexico. Maize, or corn, was a major staple diets of ancient Azetecs and was used to develop masa. Masa, if you don’t already know, is the dough that is the foundation of tortillas. In the early 1500s, Native Mexican populations were greeted by the Spaniards. Led by Hermando Cortez (remember your middle school history classes?), the Spaniards were amazed by the ‘flat bread’ that the Natives used, as it was much different from what they were used to from the Old World. While the Natives referred to it as tiaxcalli, the Spaniards took it upon themselves to establish it as tortilla, which translates to little cake. 

Changing Over time

Before the arrival of the Spaniards, meat in quesadillas was very rare, as meat in general was consumed far less. However, the connection of the Old World and the New World brought together and created a new, tasty dish. Bringing sheep, lambs, and cows to to the New World, Spainiards introduced the indigenous people to cheese and different meats. Both meat and cheese was added to the tortilla, which ultimately formed the early quesadilla. 

However, as the world evolved, so did this iconic Mexican dish. 

Fast forward some time to where grain was used more to meet the demands of major cities. Because grain was so popular at the time, it was used to create flour tortillas, which would turn into the default option when it comes to quesadillas, whether you are making them at home or eating them at a Mexican Restaurant. Over time, different types of cheeses were being used as the quesadilla reached new regions, especially in the Southwestern United States where Cheddar, Monterey Jack, and Colby Jack cheeses become the dominant filling for the meal. 

The Quesadilla We Know And Love Today

While they have quite an interesting background, we think it’s safe to say that the quesadilla has reached its prime in today’s day and age. And for that, we thank the Native Mexican people and the Spaniards for mashing their culture and taste to create something gooey and delicious. 

Here at Sandbar Mexican Grill, our modern Mexican restaurant serves up one of the best quesadillas you will find in Arizona! They are made with flour tortillas, three cheeses, roasted peppers, tomato, and cilantro, and can have chicken, shrimp, or our delicious carne asada added as the filling. Pair it with one of our tasty margaritas and you’ve got one of the most iconic Mexican meals this world has to offer. 

If you are interested in trying our quesadilla, or any of the other delicious dishes offered at our Mexican grill, stop by for lunch or dinner today!