The year is 2019 and the nation has been put on alert for the appearance of fake guacamole.
According to Good Morning America, some restaurants in California and Texas are serving unsuspecting customers guacamole made with avocado substitutes. Soaring avocado prices have caused restaurants across the country to replace the most crucial ingredient of the Mexican spread with a sham substitute.
Calabacita, or Mexican summer squash, is the understudy during this avocado fiasco. Some restaurant owners are slipping the summer squash into their guacamole recipes and, according to some news reports, hoping that customers won’t notice.
“It's scary how much this fake guacamole tastes like the real guacamole,” Javier Calbral, an editor for L.A. Taco explained to NPR’s “All Things Considered.”
But some restaurants have resorted to creative, transparent workarounds. Chacho’s Tex-Mex, a restaurant in San Antonio, Texas, is offering a “mockamole” made of “broccoli, green peas, and other green veggies,” according to Quartz.
The shortage is due, in large part, to rising avocado prices, which are nearly double what they were last year. “We have the highest or the strongest demand for avocados in the U.S., probably ever,” David Magaña, a senior horticulture analyst in California, told NPR. “At the same time, production of avocados has been down.”
Some analysts also warn that a trade war with Mexico would increase the scarcity of avocadoes in the U.S.
While some restaurants have resorted to the calabacita alternative, other restaurants have had to eliminate avocado dishes from their menu. Others are charging more to cover the rising cost of the produce.
If you’re on the lookout for the phony guac, you’ll be able to spot it because of its thinner, more watery texture. It may also be blended with tomatillo, resulting in a consistency more akin to salsa than chunky guac. But beware: it’s incredibly hard to tell the difference and most people won’t be able to.
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