Frito Pie Review Gets New Mexico Riled Up

By: Amanda Crum - October 1, 2013

Anthony Bourdain is known for speaking his mind about the food he travels the world to try, and while his palette is invariably accustomed to high-end fare, sometimes one just has to do as the Romans do and eat local delicacies…like Frito Pie.

The treat isn’t really a pie so much as it is a mixture of Frito’s corn chips, chili, peppers, and cheese in the bag. Bourdain said that the one he tried had canned chili and a “day-glo orange cheese-like substance” inside, something the owners of Santa Fe’s Five & Dime General Store say just isn’t true. General manager Mike Collins says the chili is in fact homemade and the peppers used are native to New Mexico, where the dish was invented–not Texas, as Bourdain claimed.

“Neither the Frito, nor the Frito pie, are indigenous to New Mexico. They were actually Texan,” Bourdain said on his show “Parts Unknown”. “New Mexico, you have many wonderful things. I think, let Texas have this one.”

Bourdain has apologized and says that despite what his review may have sounded like, he did enjoy the corn-chip delicacy.

“I, in fact, very much enjoyed my Frito pie in spite of its disturbing weight in the hand. It may have felt like shit, but was shockingly tasty.”

“It always hurts to see something taken away from New Mexico and given to Texas,” says New Mexican David Stout. “The only thing we have at the moment is Breaking Bad, so just give us Frito pie.”

Amanda Crum

About the Author

Amanda CrumAmanda Crum is a writer and artist from Kentucky. She's a fan of Edward Gorey, Hunter S. Thompson, and horror movies. You can follow her on Google:+Amanda Crum

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  • Matthew

    In Ohio, we call these “walking tacos.” They are very popular at high school football game concession stands.

  • Colleen

    @Matthew, yes this has been around for years. I cheered for a park in the early to late 70’s and they had what we called “Chilli Fritos” back then, and all through high school as you stated at concession stands.

  • Shannon

    Sonic was serving Frito Pies in the Midwest back in the 60s & 70s when I was a kid. I don’t know where it originated, and neither does Bourdain it would seem, but they are tasty and nothing new. I can’t imagine he’s never had one or heard of them before, he’s such a jerk, a phony jerk at that.

  • Drew Tenorio

    Frito Pie, reminds me of fall football and home. Gotta drink a Big Red with it too. Only those who know what Im talking about will understand.

    • Shelia Beaty

      Man! Talk about drinking a Big Red! I’m originally from Lubbock, Tx and have been living in Georgia for the past 23 yrs and it wasn’t until about a few years ago that I even started seeing Big Red soda in Georgia! But, I’m glad they are here now!!! So, now I’m awaiting the arrival of the peanut pattie! I guess I’ll still have to travel home to get those!

  • Texas Jack

    I went to elementary school in dreary Greenville, Texas, (about 30 miles east of Dallas) in the mid-1960s. A staple of the school lunch was Frito Pie. Frito’s originated with what is now Frito-Lay, a Dallas-based company, and Frito Pie (Frito’s, chili and cheese) evolved in the Dallas area — which includes Greenville.

    I give New Mexico credit for perhaps adding green chiles to Frito Pie, but Bourdain was right: Frito Pie IS a Texas concoction!

  • Texas Jack

    I went to elementary school in dreary Greenville, Texas, (about 30 miles east of Dallas) in the mid-1960s. A staple of the school lunch was Frito Pie. Frito’s originated with what is now Frito-Lay, a Dallas-based company, and Frito Pie (Frito’s, chili and cheese) evolved in the Dallas area — which includes Greenville.

    I give New Mexico credit for perhaps adding green chiles to Frito Pie, but Bourdain was right: Frito Pie IS a Texas concoction!

  • kat

    I had these in california 40 years ago! They were called Frito Boats!

  • Kimberly

    I’m too young to actually know where the true version of the “frito pie” was created. But – it would actually make some sort of sense if it were indeed a Texas concotion. The person posting about Greenville Tx is right about the homeplace of Frito-Lay Corp. I’ve driven by there many times ( i myself am a native of southern most part of Central Texas). Just like “hot dr pepper” was created by the dr pepper corp ( which btw was created in Waco Tx )…. i’m pretty sure the frito pie was created by someone at frito-lay to improve sales and give customers more ideas of different dishes they could use this corny staple 😀 Whatever the case may be …. it’s been made and served in various forms within my family for decades upon decades. Even my grandparent whom owned their restaurant in Riesel , Tx served Frito Pie out of the bag 😀

  • Don

    Google “Walking Taco” and you’ll get many variations on the same idea..and small bag of corn chips..Frito, Dorito etc. They sell out at Football games and Wrestling tourneys.;_ylt=A0oG7j0WFUtSamEAqFBXNyoA?p=walking+taco&fr=fp-tts-309&fr2=piv-web

  • Max Stevens

    HARDLY an original recipe and, thus, hardly something to get “riled up” about! Kind of like the Pennsylvania Dutch and Mainers warring about who invented the Whoopie Pie! WHO CARES?????

  • Dan Shill

    In a rare moment of clarity, Bourdain *did* get one thing right. The Frito Pie *is* a Texas invention. Sorry, New Mexico!

  • Nikki G

    I can bet now matter how you make a Frito pie, nor where on the planet you try it, NOTHING will compare to the New Mexico Style Frito Pie hands down!! Its all in the chili and how the chili is made!!! You can even get it with homemade tortilla chips instead of Frito’s. If you buy a can of chili, you have no idea what good chili Taste like! Don’t believe me? Try it for your self! Go New Mexico!

  • Karen

    Indeed Frito Pie is Texas born and bred. Texas is the original home of Frito-Lay, and Fritos were invented here. And I do understand the Big Red comment, as the Big Red bottling company is right here in San Antonio. Can’t even count how many my cousins and I drank when we were kids. And we’d go to the Dairy Queen for Frito Pie!!

    • James

      Karen, there used to be a Big Red soft drink in Arkansas. It would make you root harder!! LOL. Thanks for posting.

  • Thrash

    They’re better in Colorado where they use pork green chile.

  • christy

    In western NY we call these “taco in a bag” and sell them all the time at youth sporting events in the concession stands! We also use Dorito’s – but I much prefer the Frito version!

    • Mike L

      And another thing…….get off of this “walking taco” and “taco in a bag” crap. Tacos and Frito pies have nothing in common except the fact the both have cheese, and REAL mexican tacos HAVE NO CHEESE – that is a white peoples thing. If you are a real Mexican (Latino, Chicano, Hispanic, etc.) you know what I am talking about.

  • jamie

    I’ve watched Bourdain several times on his quest to eat some of the foulest looking fair posing as eatable’s I have ever seen? Flies, bugs and animals surrounding the “food” and some of the filthiest looking hands preparing it. Let’s not mention the utensils and cookware that the “food” is prepared with/in? AND he has the nerve to say something is “nearly as deadly”? Maybe Mr. Bourdain should climb down from that culinary pedestal he has placed himself on and have a burger and fries?

  • Ernesto

    Anthony Bourdain is a bit of a hypocrite and pompous phony. I guarantee you if that “frito pie” was called something else and it was being served in a village in the Catalonia region of Spain, or in a small out of the way restaurant in Buenos Aires, he would be raving about how amazingly delicious it is.

  • Raye Bird

    True, Bourdain would be preaching it up, were it a dish in Spain or Argentina, but, he’s a food critic…snooty comes with the territory. And yes, one thing he did get correct was that it originated in Texas. The claimant for the NM invention was in the 60s, whereas my Keetowah granny (Oklahoma) had ‘Frito chili pies’ at the state fairgrounds in OK in the late 40s/early 50s. Started in Texas, drifted northward and westward.

  • Melinda

    Oh come on people. Frito-pie is just chili and corn chips with cheese. It is not a state treasure and it is crap. Not that it isn’t tasty crap, similar to nachos and cheese at the ballpark. We all love it, but it isn’t a delicacy! Lighten up, and it is a Texas invention, with a New Mexico twist and each state has one.

    • Margie

      “just”? “Just”? oh, Melinda, please reconsider what you’re saying! We all need our comfort food & Frito Pie is a dandy one. Never disappoints! Try one (homemade, of course) with an icy cold root beer.

      • cud

        I remember Frito Pie from elementary school. Very fond memories. But I must say, you don’t just pour chili into a bag of chips an plop cheese on it. You bake it in a casserole. This isn’t fast food, people. It’s comfort food. There’s a difference. If you want a god sample, don’t go to Santa Fe. Go out toward Jemez pueblo. And get some fried bread while you;re at it.

        • Kelly

          If you bake it in a casserole, then you end up with soggy Fritos. That won’t do.

          • mn

            r u a graduate of Flori-DUHA! Then don’t bake it!

        • Lois Ann

          If you bake it the fritos get soggy. I like my fritos crunchy. A Texas gal.

  • http://Yahoo Joe

    We have those walking tacos here in Texas too! And they sure taste great!!:)

  • Stef

    So the guy didn’t like crappy food–so what? Anybody pay attention to the rest of the program? Like him or not, Bourdain introduces us to the wonderful variety of cultures in our own country.

    • RICK

      Anthony Bourdain IS POMPOUS ASS. Can’t stand him or his show. Most of all I can’t stand that queer thumb ring…LMAO

      • Eunice Qualls

        The Frito corn chip was invented in Texas. Don’t know about the Frito pie. We have used both canned chili and homemade. Good grief…my family have never put beans in our chili, and when we eat beans with our Mexican food, we use pinto, not kidney. Just sayin’!

  • michael

    made these in prison all the time.called them hook-ups.

  • Pamcakes


  • Michelle

    Oh, I am SO disappointed in Anthony Bourdain! Frito Pie (yes, it’s so good it must be capitalized) is FABULOUS, and, as much as this Texan is reluctant to affirm, native to New Mexico. I’ve eaten the Frito Pie at Santa Fe’s Five & Dime General Store and it is the best on the planet.

    Anthony, thanks for the backlash-inspired apology but just go back to eating bugs and whatever garbage you used to eat to make yourself famous, and leave this food of the gods for those who appreciate it.

  • red

    ooo common people who really cares like all of you like every single thing u put in your mouth………..You Rock Anthony!

  • Renee

    Where I’m from in Ohio, walking tacos and Frito pie are two different things. Walking taco has corn chips, seasoned ground beef, shredded lettuce and shredded cheese. Frito pie is corn chips, chili and melted cheese. Frito pie is the superior dish in my opinion.

  • Kris

    “Anthony Bourdain is known for speaking his mind about the food he travels the world to try, and while his palette is invariably accustomed to high-end fare, sometimes one just has to do as the Romans do and eat local delicacies…like Frito Pie.”

    a thin and usually oval or oblong board or tablet with a thumb hole at one end, used by painters for holding and mixing colors.

    the roof of the mouth, consisting of an anterior bony portion (hard palate) and a posterior muscular portion (soft palate) that separate the oral cavity from the nasal cavity.

    It’s not ‘palette’ unless Anthony Bourdain is a painter now too.

    • Schteveo

      good catch, I saw that too, but your comment was already here.

      So much for ‘professional’ journalists using Spell Check, eh?

  • Kelly

    So the difference between what’s made in NM and what’s made in Texas is that Texas uses Tex-Mex “chili,” from a can, and shouldn’t even be allowed to be called “chile.” It does not even come close to what’s used in NM, which is actually NM chile, grown in our state, seasoned with the best of spices. So while they’re both “Frito pie,” the topping NM uses is far superior than what Texas uses.

    • Lois Ann

      Texans use chili in a can and homemade chili.

      • Kelly

        Oh, yeah. “Homemade” chile with kidney beans. Yuck!

        • TXMAN

          Texans don’t use kidney beans in chili, that is against the law. Only yankee transplants use beans in chili.

  • Bet

    OK, so if Anthony came to New Mexico to feature New Mexico Food and Locations then why would he have choose a Frito Pie to eat instead of an original Southwest dish and Why not visit New Mexico’s Land marks that had some legitimate history. His advisors did not do New Mexico Justice.

    • Luke

      Please name a few of these “New Mexico Landmarks” you speak of. I haven’t ever heard of any.

      • Don

        Acoma Pueblo
        Bandelier CCC Historic District
        Barrio De Analco Historic District
        Big Bead Mesa
        Blackwater Draw
        Carlsbad Irrigation District
        Denver & Rio Grande Railroad San Juan Extension
        El Santuario De Chimayo
        Ernest L. Blumenschein House
        Ernie Pyle House
        Folsom Site
        Fort Bayard Site
        Georgia O’Keeffe Home and Studio
        Glorieta Pass Battlefield
        Kit Carson House
        Las Trampas Historic District
        Lincoln Historic District
        Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory
        Mabel Dodge Luhan House
        Manuelito Complex
        Mesilla Plaza
        National Park Service Southwest Regional Office
        Palace of the Governors
        Pecos Pueblo
        Puye Ruins
        Rabbit Ears
        Raton Pass
        San Estevan Del Rey Mission Church
        San Francisco de Assisi Mission Church
        San Gabriel De Yungue-ouinge
        San José de Gracia Church
        San Jose de los Jemez Mission and Giusewa Pueblo Site
        San Lazaro
        Sandia Cave
        Santa Fe Plaza
        Seton Village
        Taos Pueblo
        Trinity Site
        Village of Columbus and Camp Furlong
        Wagon Mound
        White Sands V-2 Launching Site
        Zuni-Cibola Complex

        • Paloma

          The original Smokey Bear!

        • Mike L

          I guess these are only known to “New Mexicans”, because I have never heard of any of these places – except maybe Carlsbad caverns, and that is only because I went there. BUT – every one in the nation knows about the famous Texas landmark “The Alamo”! LOL

      • Meh

        Roswell & Area 51.

        • joe

          area 51 is in nevada.

      • Kelly

        Oh, geez…really? Ignorance abounds.

        • The Main Brain

          Maybe the “ignorance” that abounds is just people have better things to occupy their minds than fill it with shit like the location of Area 51.

  • Schteveo

    I’m guessing you people are NOT regular watchers of ANY Bourdain shows? He’s said a 1000 times that he prefers every day food to the high end food he used to cook. He especially likes street food or home cooking from different countries And those are the kinds of foods this show seems to be aimed at.

    He has also said that his FAVORITE food is a bowl of Asian style noodles or soup, that’s not very high end folks.

  • Mike L

    Aaaaaahhhhhhh come on – WHO CARES where the original Frito Pie came from. It’s damn good, and that’s all that really matters. And by the way – question: If you use “corn chips” (of a different brand other than Fritos), is it still called “Frito Pie”? Or should you call it “corn chip pie”?…….Just wondering…..

  • nicolette froehlich

    doesn’t anyone worry about the GMO corn in their chips?? how can u eat that crap????????

  • chris

    this is not newsworthy. Frito Pie might be delicious. But, it’s a few ingredients topping a bag of Fritos. Let it go

  • robert ward

    I was told that it was invented by Hank Hills wife Peggy in Arlen Texas

  • Jullie

    Corn is being made from Genetically Modified Frankenstien organisms. are being fed corn that mutates the DNA of your body and injects insect and viral DNA into you. This is a demonic agenda by a secret society that has controlled the world for eons. They are harming the population through the food. Say NO to GMO poisons. Don’t eat their GMO will kill you!

  • http://webpronews tut

    been eating frito pies since the early 70’s from Texas – Beaumont

    • TexasToast

      409 in tha house! Hi5!

  • Jeff Smith

    For God’s sake, its a Frito Pie or a bag of chips with goop all over them. If you dig deep enough, Alaska can probably lay claim to having made something similar first, or Louisiana, or Bulgaria. Geesh, is it really newsworthy or even worth an argument. It may very well have been best described as a bag of shi-. Ok, so now you can lay claim to first bag of shi-. Good for you.

  • The Main Brain

    It was originated by the native gangs in East St. Louis, Illinois who after pillaging and mugging would go to the closest Circle K to get malt liquor and a concoction they called “Feetopie” which translates to “Frito Pie.” They later found that it also went very well with grape soda, and fried chicken. The dish eventually migrated westward to St. Louis, and was also garnished with seasonal items such as pumpkin, for Halloween and candy canes for Christmas. Corned beef was also added for St. Patrick’s day, and Bar-B-Q ribs added for Martin Luther King Day. So New Mexico and Texas’ claims are a bunch of baloney… it was discovered right here in East St. Louis in the beautiful land of Lincoln!

  • Dan

    I remember frito pie from like 67,68 in mountain grove mo,the dairy queen(remember them) the carhops WALKED out to your car with a order pad and frito pie`s AND MR bourdain.lemme tell ya`s bout SUMMER chili,Take dem frito`s crunch`em up in a bowl,throw some cheese on that,THEN lob on a big ole glob of chili,cover the cheese n chips,NOW you take lettuce and some maters n rip n choppem up,throw dat on top,,Stirrer all up n pig out,makes chili awesome even when it`s 98 degree`s in the shade..AND fur ur hi falutin palate,you could add some chopped black olivies and a dollop of sour cream(EWE),,yup dats how dis ole hillbilly rolls,giddyup

  • Johnny

    Texas and New Mexico both sport amazing chili. New Mexico does amazing things with chili pods. I prefer chili made with chili pods as a base instead of dried chili powder, however I haven’t mastered that technique myself. How come Frito Chili pies don’t taste as good when served in a bowl and a real spoon indoors? Served the traditional
    way, in the bag, plastic spoon, served out doors in colder maybe even
    damp weather is the best. Oh my, now ive got to go to the store. Frito Chili pie for lunch today.

    • Genie

      You got it, Babe!

  • mn

    ***To Corn or Not to Corn***From State or Not From State***Healthy or not***Who cares!***We all eat something or another that is crap and has been U.S. inspected and all you picky health nuts don’t even know it!***There is TONS of food in circulation that is bad and still sold as nutritious but they don’t care they just sell it anyway.***If all the bad foods were actually recorded and recalled there wouldn’t be enough time to remove them before before shipping and being sold.***So you might as well see the blind side of it all and just enjoy whatever it is you prefer to eat.***And as for Mr.B eat on brother!***From Tex or from N Mex its still all good!***
    ***The Frito Bandito still lives***

    • http://n/a EG


    • http://n/a eg


  • Mariposa Del Diablo

    As with any dish, there are always regional differences and personal preferences. Let it go.

    I have to say, though, that simple as it is, Frito Pie is awesome. It congers so many memories of football games, bowling allies, mini golf, and summers at the community swimming pool. To me it’s best served right in the bag and it doesn’t matter whether it’s canned chili or homemade, shredded cheese or melted. Each gives it a different spin. Enjoying it with Big Red reminds me of childhood in Central Texas, but these days give it to me with an ice cold Shiner Bock :-)