Remember Taco Bell? The US fast-food chain opened its first Singapore outlet in 1981, spawning branches across the island in the hope that locals would warm to its repertoire of burritos, tacos and quesadillas. The brand never really took off here, though, and eventually withdrew from the country in 2008. Granted, Taco Bell wasn’t exactly anyone’s go-to for gourmet fare, but for many of us born in the 80s and early 90s, it was probably our earliest introduction to Tex-Mex and Mexican cuisine. The first few Mexican restaurants to set up shop here — such as Margarita’s and Cha Cha Cha — only opened their doors later on in 1988 and 1990.
But how things have changed over the past couple of decades. Singapore now plays host to a variety of authentic Mexican eateries, many of which serve up traditional dishes that go beyond the usual tacos and burritos. Think barbacoa — slow cooked meat — and enchiladas, baked tortillas stuffed with an assortment of fillings and covered in a spicy sauce. Perhaps this development can be attributed to local foodies becoming more well-travelled and exposed to the wonderful world of bold and piquant flavours that Mexican fare’s known for.
The newest entrant to the scene is Comida Mexicana, a casual spot run by the same folks behind Margarita’s. It launched in July at East Coast Road, and prides itself on incorporating Mexico and US-imported ingredients such as chillies, tomatillos and beans into its dishes, sauces, salsa dips and marinades.
Here is a guide to 7 of Singapore’s best Mexican restaurants, where you can feast to your heart’s content without even leaving the country — or worrying about any border walls.