What Are Some Famous Foods of Arizona?

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Famous foods of Arizona include heritage foods such as prickly pear cactus, mesquite pod flower and Navajo-Churro sheep, which are the oldest breed of sheep surviving in the United States. Other famous Arizona foods are locally grown fruits and vegetables such as chiles, tomatillos, jicama and dates. In 2011, an Arizona-based Mexican restaurant petitioned to have chimichangas, which are similar to deep-fried burritos, named as the state’s official food.

It’s easy to see Mexican influence in the chimichanga, which is typically filled with beef, pork, fish or chicken and topped with salsa, guacamole and cheese. Chimichangas were reportedly created after an Arizona cook knocked a large burrito into a pot of boiling lard. Although many families claim to be the true inventor of the chimichanga, the exact origins are unknown.

Arizona is home to some of North America’s longest-running documented culinary traditions. The cultivation of squash and corn in Arizona can be traced back thousands of years. Farmers still grow many of the same varieties of vegetables, grains and fruit that were grown when Arizona became a state in 1912.

Arizona is also home of the first McDonald’s, which was opened by Maurice and Richard McDonald. In 1953, the brothers began franchising McDonald’s, and in 1975, the first drive-through opened at a McDonald’s in Sierra Vista.