Burrito Day: Mexican food a growing favourite among Kiwis - but hold the spice

A burrito
Burritos are popular among Kiwis - but not so much spice. Photo credit: Supplied

There truly is a day for everything, and today is no different. April 7 officially marks International Burrito Day, a day to celebrate the humble Tex-Mex dish and sink your teeth into some delicious Mexican comida. 

To commemorate the occasion, online ordering and delivery service Menulog has spilled the beans on Kiwis' ordering habits, highlighting an increase in popularity of Mexican cuisine across Aotearoa. There has been a surge in Mexican restaurants over the last year, with the number of Mexican-themed eateries increasing by 285 percent on the app since March 2021.

After crunching the numbers, Menulog's data also found that while most Kiwis are opting for jalapeños, guacamole and cheese with their burritos, spicy sauce is a definite no-go.

The data revealed only 14 percent of burrito orders in New Zealand in the last year had a spicy sauce base - that's a whopping 86 percent of Kiwis who can't handle the heat.

The numbers are in stark contrast to our mulleted mates across the ditch, with 35 percent of Aussies enjoying a hot and spicy sauce on their bundles of joy. 

Kamal Chadhu, the owner of Menulog restaurant partner Mex It Up in Hamilton, says Kiwis love their burritos - but most customers are opting for mild. 

"We offer the choice to spice up our food, but usually a customer will try a burrito with a bit more heat and next time I see them, it's back to mild. Although, we do have a few adventurous souls who travel from as far as Huntly for a spicy burrito," Chadhu said.

While most Kiwis opt for mild sauce, they are not opposed to the heat and crunch of jalapeños to liven up their burrito. Eighteen percent of Kiwis said jalapeños were their favourite addition to a burrito, making it the most popular add-on ahead of guacamole and double-cheese.

And when it comes to protein, winner winner, chicken dinner. The data found that chicken is the most popular burrito filling (52 percent), followed by beef (30 percent). 

Chadhu says Mex It Up's signature dish is the decadent and delicious Ultimate California Burrito.

"It is filled with fries, juicy chicken and slow cooked beef along with a choice of fillings and topped with salsa and sour cream - it is absolutely mouth-watering."

Manager of Rotorua's El Mexicano Zapata Cantina, Chrrs Malunis, says chicken is most popular among his customers as well.

"We also get a lot of customers wanting pork or beef burritos but our chicken burrito is by far the favourite," he said.

"Kiwis are increasingly turning to healthier food options so a lot of people also like to add beans to their burrito. They also go for a burrito because while they may look small, they are very filling and packed with tastiness." 

Menulog Commercial Director ANZ, Rory Murphy, reiterated that the popularity of Mexican cuisine has grown dramatically in the last few years throughout New Zealand.

"The burrito has found its place as a go-to for Kiwis as demand for Mexican cuisine continues to rise. We have over 70 cuisines on Menulog and it's great to see Mexican food moving up the ranks next to other top favourites like curry and pizza.

"A 285 percent increase in Mexican restaurants on our platform in the last year is significant as we continue to focus on providing customers with a wide range of cuisine and delivery options across the country."