A chimichanga is, simply put, a deep-fried burrito. Yes, it’s delicious, and yes, it’s incredibly unhealthy. They’re most popular in the southwestern United states as well as the Mexican states of Sinaloa and Sonora, and while they’re usually smaller than the average burrito, in some cases (especially in the U.S.), they aren’t. If the name sounds funny, that’s because it’s supposed to: it’s basically the Spanish equivalent of “thingamajig.”
The origins of the chimichanga are still a little unclear. One source claims that a burrito was accidentally dropped into a deep fryer by Monica Finn, the owner of a Tuscon restaurant called El Charro, in 1922. Another claims that the owner of a Tuscon restaurant called Macayo’s Mexican Kitchen fried some burritos as an experiment in 1946 and they quickly became a favorite. Most agree that it was either outright invented in Tuscon, or invented in Sinaloa in a smaller format but then brought up to Tuscon, where they took on their giant size. Either way, we’re glad it’s here now — even if our cholesterol levels aren’t.