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Taco Bell's Quesalupa: The deep, dark secret behind its hot new menu item

Justina Huddleston is an editor and the head writer for TDmonthly Magazine. She has been a freelance writer for several years, though her real passion is cooking. You can see the recipes she creates on her vegan food blog, A Life of Litt...

It's all that, but it could have been so much more

This Sunday during the Super Bowl, Taco Bell unveiled its much-anticipated (and totally expected) new menu item: the Quesalupa. What is the quesalupa, and why does it have Mexican food fans shaking their heads?

The Quesalupa does sound pretty good. It consists of a typical Taco Bell taco (ground beef, cheese, sour cream, lettuce, tomato) in a crispy corn shell, but it's then wrapped in a fried flatbread that's stuffed with a thin layer of cheese. Basically it's a mashup of the chain's chalupa and a quesadilla.

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Taco Bell's Quesalupa is available nationwide for about $2.99 (prices may vary by region). But if you're a real fan of Mexican food, you may want to skip the Quesalupa altogether and dig a little deeper into its tasty origins.

The Quesalupa may sound unique, but it's inspired by a completely different dish. The gobernador is a style of taco popular in Baja, California. It's made by lining one or two tortillas with melted cheese, the loading it with shrimp and salsa.

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That sounds amazing and much better than the Quesalupa, but I can totally see why Taco Bell wouldn't want to mess with shrimp (raw fish cross-contamination aside, I shudder to think of where it would have to source so much inexpensive shrimp from). Also, the "gobernador" name is apparently trademarked by Mexican chain Los Arcos, so it's not like Taco Bell could have called it that anyway.

If you want to skip the drive-thru and try the Quesalupa's predecessor instead, you can try Marcela Valladolid's classic gobernador with shrimp or Olé Mexican Foods' gobernador recipe, which adds bacon into the mix.

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