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Mixed beef and chicken fajita ingredients, served on a hot iron skillet.

A fajita ( ) ( ) is a generic term used in Tex-Mex cuisine[37463], referring to grilled meat served on a flour or corn tortilla. Though originally only skirt steak[37464], popular meats today also include chicken, pork, shrimp and all cuts of beef. In restaurants, the meat is often cooked with onions and bell peppers. Popular condiments are shredded lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, pico de gallo, cheese, and tomato.


In Spanish, fajita is the diminutive form of the word faja ( ) which translates to "belt" or "girdle" in English. Butchers along the Texasmarker border with Mexicomarker used the word to refer to the diaphragm muscle of a steer. Researchers found references to Mexicanmarker ranch hands eating this cut of beef in a tortilla with condiments as early as the 1930s but the word fajita is not known to have appeared in print until 1971, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. The exact time in which the dish was named fajita is unclear.

Skirt steak

The cut is known in the U.S. as the skirt steak, and remains popular for making fajitas. In fact, many purists insist that only skirt steak can be used for making fajitas, and that the use of other meats, such as chicken, constitutes another dish altogether. Regardless, use of the word fajita has evolved from the term for a cut of beef to include the cooking method (thus chicken fajita) and also to define the grilled strips of peppers and onions that usually accompany the meat.


Condiments and tortillas.
Sonny Falcon is believed to have operated the first commercial fajita taco stand at a weeklong outdoor event in Kyle, Texasmarker, in 1969.[37465] He also went to rodeos, fairs, and outdoor festivals selling his fajita taco. An Austin reporter christened him "The Fajita King" and Falcon was able to trademark the name.It contended that Jon Daniel of Houston, Texas, introduced beef fajitas to Texas in 1972 after a trip to Matamoros, Mexico.


The food became popular in restaurants such as Ninfa's and other Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants in Houstonmarker and San Antoniomarker, Texasmarker. Ninfa's originally called the dish tacos al carbon and later tacos a la Ninfa before using the term fajita. In southern Arizonamarker, the term was unknown except as a cut of meat until the 1990s, when Mexican fast food restaurants started using the word in their marketing. For a good period of time, McDonalds served chicken fajitas on their menu.


In many restaurants, the fajita meat is brought to the table sizzling loudly on a metal platter or skillet, with the tortillas and condiments served on the side.



Further reading

  • Cookeryonline Fajita Page url =

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