Why You Should Skip The Horchata At Mexican Restaurants

Mexican food is popular for a reason. The cuisine has loads of mouth-watering options to choose from such as tacos, burritos filled with meat, beans, vegetables, and rice, chips and salsa, spicy fajitas, and more. In fact, guess what? Mexican food has a huge presence in the U.S. As of 2018, there were over 62,000 Mexican eateries in the U.S. and the cuisine is believed to be the second most popular type of food in the country. 

On the flip side, Mexican food doesn't always sit well with certain diners who experience health issues after feasting on spicy dishes. Take this Reddit thread, for instance where a curious Redditor asked the public whether Mexican food really makes them feel unwell. A top-rated response read, "The Mexican food that is commonly eaten by Americans is usually very, very heavy. Taco [or] enchilada plates with beans, rice, and lots of cheese on everything. And then the salsa can be spicy. All that stuff can wreak a lot of havoc on someone's stomach." 

So, what's a Mexican food lover to do? The trick is to order meals that aren't too heavy or extreme. But you should also avoid the delicious Mexican beverage, horchata.

Horchata may make you rather sick

As explained by Spruce Eats, horchata is the general term used in Spanish to refer to several sweet drinks that usually have grains, spices or nuts in them. When it made its entry into the Americas, the drink ended up evolving into what is now referred to as the Mexican rice horchata. The drink features a combination of rice, water, sugar, and spices. There's no dairy, but it does look milky and is usually served with ice.

Horchata may look like an appealing option if you're dining at a Mexican restaurant, and need something to wash down your meal with. But you may want to reconsider because horchata may make you feel rather uncomfortable later. 

In 2012, homemade horchata drinks made 38 Mexican school kids so sick, they had to go to a hospital and get treated for symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and fever (via CNN). Why is horchata so unpredictable? Well, the rice in the drink could provide some answers. It's possible for bacteria to be in rice — it's called bacillus cereus and may lead to food poisoning. The thing about horchata is that it uses uncooked rice in its recipe, which is simply soaked before being created into a drink (via All Recipes). It's worth noting it's possible to make the beverage with cooked rice. So next time, ask how the drink is prepared before you indulge.