In its continued and probably misguided quest to streamline its menu, Taco Bell announced last month that it was eliminating more items, including the beloved—dare we say iconic?—Mexican Pizza. The Mexican Pizza is not just any random Taco Bell combination of tortillas and fillings. It’s got crispy tortillas and melted cheese. It transcends the typical Taco Bell strategy of merely attempting to reproduce food actually served in Mexico and creates something entirely new and distinctly American and junky-delicious. Mexican Pizza is the apex of Taco Bell.
The Mexican Pizza also, as Rima Parikh explained in an essay for The Takeout, occupies a special place in the hearts of South Asian Americans who are vegetarian or halal or won’t eat beef. “Unlike other places where the vegetarian option means sucking the fun out of food,” she wrote, “Taco Bell is still Taco Bell when you swap out the meat for beans. It is still going to destroy your organs, and it is still delicious.” For Parikh, the Mexican Pizza in particular reminds her of her family’s early attempts to prepare American food when they first moved here.
Now a petition is circulating through the Desi community to get Taco Bell to save Mexican Pizza from the chopping block. “Losing this item would not only be the loss of one of our favorite foods but a piece of our childhood & heritage as Indian Americans,” wrote Krish Jagridar, the petition’s organizer, citing Parikh’s essay.
So far more than 100,000 people have signed the petition—and not just Desis. The appeal of the Mexican Pizza is universal. Many signers write that the Mexican Pizza is the only item they still enjoy at Taco Bell. Others feel a deep, personal connection with it: “The Mexican Pizza has always been there for me!” Others suggested that there must be a way to make the Mexican Pizza’s packaging more eco-friendly instead of doing away with it altogether.
In the meantime, while signers wait to see if Taco Bell will pay attention to their plea, Jagridar suggests that they order as much Mexican Pizza as possible to show Taco Bell that it’s in its best interest to keep it on the menu. We shall see if Mexican Pizza lasts beyond November 5.