National Chimichanga Day Date in the current year: September 26, 2024

National Chimichanga Day National Chimichanga Day is observed annually on September 26. It celebrates one of those dishes that are often thought to be Mexican but in fact were invented in the United States and have become a staple in Southwestern cuisine.

A chimichanga is a deep-fried burrito popular in Tex-Mex and Southwestern cuisines. The origin of the dish is somewhat uncertain, but most food historians agree that the birthplace of the chimichanga is Arizona. There have been claims that the chimichanga originated in the Mexican state of Sonora and was brought to Arizona by Mexican immigrants, but most Mexicans insist that the chimichanga did not originate in Mexico.

Like many popular dishes, chimichanga is thought to be the result of either an accident or a culinary experiment. According to one of the accounts, the first chimichanga was made accidentally at El Charro, a restaurant in Tucson, Arizona, in 1922. The restaurant’s founder Monica Flin accidentally dropped a burrito into the deep fryer and liked the result.

However, the person most often credited with inventing the chimichanga is Woody Johnson, the founder of the Macayo’s Mexican restaurants in Phoenix, Arizona. He opened his first restaurant, Woody’s El Nido, in 1946 and accidentally invented the chimichanga shortly after by dropping a meat burrito into the deep fryer (sounds familiar, doesn’t it?).

The name “chimichanga” is a Spanish equivalent of “thingamajig”; according to the origin story of the chimichanga, it is what the inventor of the dish, either Monica Flin or Woody Johnson depending on who you ask, exclaimed instead of a Spanish profanity after dropping a burrito into the deep fryer.

Fried burritos served at Woody’s El Nido became so popular among locals that when Johnson opened Macayo in 1952, the chimichanga was one of the main items on the restaurant’s menu. Since then, the chimichanga has become one of the most recognizable dishes of Southwestern cuisine. It is also popular in the Mexican states of Sinaloa and Sonora.

The most common way to make a chimichanga is to fill a flour tortilla with various ingredients, fold it into a rectangular package, and then deep fry the resulting burrito in hot oil. Like the burrito, the chimichanga can be filled with various combination of meats, cheeses, and other ingredients. Popular chimichanga fillings include rice, different kinds of meat (shredded chicken, carne adobada, machaca), cheese, beans, tomatoes, and jalapeños. Chimichanga is usually served with carne asada, guacamole, relleno sauce, salsa, or sour cream.

Macayo’s launched National Chimichanga Day in 2020 to give its invention the recognition it deserves. You can celebrate the holiday by going out to your favorite restaurant that has chimichangas on the menu, making your own chimichanga at home, or even throwing a Tex-Mex dinner party for your friends and family. And don’t forget to spread the word about the holiday by snapping a photo of your delicious chimichanga and posting it on social media with the hashtags #NationalChimichangaDay and #ChimichangaDay.

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National Chimichanga Day, food days, food-related holidays, unofficial holidays, observances in the United States