The Guzman y Gomez Cali Burrito is the most amazing fast-food option in S’pore. Fight me.

Warning: article is full of heartfelt hyperbole

| Andrew Koay | Sponsored | October 16, 2023, 01:06 PM

Life is all about simple pleasures.

And of those simple pleasures, there are few that I enjoy more than a visit to the temple of Mexican delights, Guzman y Gomez.

That’s because each visit is an opportunity to sink my teeth into the absolute pinnacle of Central American cuisine — the Californian-styled Burrito (or the Cali Burrito for short).

Yes, this is an advertisement (brought to you by Guzman y Gomez) but it is also a heartfelt love letter to what this writer genuinely believes is the thinking man’s choice when it comes to fast food.

What could inspire such devotion and adoration for the little-known and humble Cali Burrito?

Well, let me start with its composition.

There are the essentials you’d expect to find in any burrito: a soft flour tortilla; piping hot succulent meat (you can choose between fish, pork, chicken, beef, or vegetarian options like pulled shitake mushrooms); fresh tangy pico de gallo; velvety sour cream; and a generous helping of guacamole.

But that's not all.

The Cali Burrito's most crucial ingredient — the one component that sets it head and shoulders above the competition — are the skin-on chipotle-seasoned french fries stuffed within the cylindrical enclosure of the tortilla.

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Taste and texture dreamt up in Mexican heaven

Now before you question if adding fries to a tried and tested recipe might upset its equilibrium, let me clue you in on the overall taste and texture profile of the Cali Burrito.

Texture-wise, the burrito has traditionally been the perfect blend of crunch and smooth mush — you have your refried beans, tender proteins and creamy guacamole all balanced out by the bite of the diced onions and tomatoes.

The chipotle-seasoned fries in the Cali Burrito only serve to enhance this experience. That’s because of the very nature of french fries.

When cut and cooked to perfection, the potato fry embodies the texture combination of the traditional burrito; a golden crispy outer gives way to a soft potato inner.

A Cali Burrito being put together Image from Guzman y Gomez SG’s Instagram account

How about the taste?

If you’ve ever had a meal at Guzman y Gomez, you would know that their french fries are seasoned to perfection and that they pair excellently with the mains across the menu.

Including it within the tortilla-walled confines, the burrito takes nothing away from what is already a stellar partnership. If anything, having the french fries in the burrito elevates the combination.

Imagine this: you cradle the Cali Burrito gently in your hands, slowly but eagerly peeling back the aluminium foil to unveil a carefully rolled and folded Mexican wrap.

The first bite introduces you to a world of flavours and textures that will be familiar to any lover of Mexican food while at the same time having an element of the exotic — just enough that your taste buds recognise that you’re about to go on a gastronomical adventure without making you feel completely alienated.

Then with each subsequent bite, that adventure you’re on becomes increasingly intimate. Slowly but surely, your brain begins to register all the different ambrosial notes: that extra bit of umami from the chipotle seasoning of the fries dovetailing beautifully with the buttery goodness of the guacamole and the zest of the pico de gallo.

Turning doubters into believers

The ingredients of a Cali Burrito Image from Guzman y Gomez SG

Maybe at this point, you’re tempted to believe that I’m full of hyperbole (or something else ruder).

Well Guzman y Gomez kindly sent a few Cali Burritos to the Mothership office so that the joy of this culinary pleasure can be shared with some of my colleagues who had not been initiated with this hidden gem.

Matthias Ang, 32, had a few words for how all the ingredients balanced each other out.

“On the surface, it looks like quite a lot of veggies and carbs but at no point does it overpower the taste of the meat,” he told me.

“There’s a unique potato taste to the burrito. And it actually makes the whole meal quite filling and hearty.”

My 27-year-old co-worker Ilyda Chua admitted to not being a huge fan of pico de gallo (she doesn’t really like vegetables in general) but enjoyed how it blended with the well-seasoned grilled chicken we had in our Cali Burritos.

“To be honest, Guzman’s chipotle fries are probably my favourite of all time, so no brainer that it would work well inside one of their burritos,” she said.

Lastly, 23-year-old Khine Zin Htet — maybe a little too young to comprehend the full possibility of innovative Mexican cuisine — was apprehensive at first about the idea of fries in a burrito.

“It sounded a little bit weird,” she said to me.

“But it actually tasted good. The potato fries and chicken combination was a good match.”

And there you have it, the last magical act of the Guzman y Gomez Cali Burrito; turning doubters into believers.

My colleagues eating the Cali Burrito (L-R) Matthias Ang, Ilyda Chua, Khine Zin Htet. Image by Andrew Koay

The writer ate multiple Cali Burritos while putting together this Guzman y Gomez-sponsored article.

Top image from Guzman y Gomez Singapore