There are plenty of reasons why holidaymakers flock to Mexico. For one thing, the culture is infectious. Whether its folk dancing, mariachi music, religious festivals or fabulous feasts, the people here know how to have a good time. Mexico is colorful, passionate, fiery and unforgettable.
It’s also home to some pretty fantastic cuisine. You may think you know it well because Mexican food is eaten all over the world. If you’re planning a first time trip, however, be prepared to taste, try and experiment. There are lots of dishes that you won’t have heard about back home.
This article takes a closer look at the foods you’ve just got to try on your next trip to Mexico.
We’ll begin with an easy one – burritos. Even if you’ve never been to Mexico before, you’ve probably had a burrito or twelve before now. You can get fantastic Mexican style wraps from most major cities in the US. Plus, if you use coupon codes, you can afford more food from the best restaurants. Ultimately though, there’s nothing quite like eating an authentic burrito, which has been lovingly handmade in a roadside cabana.
Chilaquiles is a typical breakfast meal in Mexico. It is made up of lightly fried corn tortillas that are split into quarters. These quarters are then doused in red or green salsa. Then, it’s time for the toppings. Chicken is a popular choice, but scrambled eggs are a good alternative if you’re eating early and want a steady start to the day. Don’t forget the cheese – it’s a big deal around here.
Pozole is another dish that gets eaten more widely than expected. You may not have tried it before, but it’s not a rarity in US restaurants. It takes the form of a stew-like soup, with hominy corn and lots of herbs and spices. Some people prefer vegetable pozole, while others load theirs with chicken, pork and spicy beef. It is commonly topped with shredded lettuce, chilies, and lime juice.
Tacos al Pastor
Tacos al pastor is an ancient dish that dates all the way back to the 1930s. It is linked to the decade’s significant migration of Syrian and Lebanese arrivals. You can see this Middle Eastern influence in the addition of pork that is sliced straight off a spit. The meat gets cut into thin strips and wrapped up in a tortilla with pineapple chunks and chopped onions.
The tostada is a marvelously simple dish. It takes leftover corn tortillas (that have seen their best days) and fries them at a very high temperature. This way, the tortillas don’t get wasted and hungry families to get to tuck into a delicious meal. The tortillas are fried and piled high with all kinds of different toppings. Some of the most popular include refried beans, cheese, shrimp, chicken, and pork.
Chiles en Nogada
The rather flamboyantly named chiles en nogada is an extraordinary dish in Mexico. It is cooked in a way that resembles the Mexican flag, so it’s quite patriotic for a snack. The recipe contains poblano chilies that are stuffed with picadillo, a combination of dried fruit and chopped meats. They represent the green section of the flag. The red part is taken care of by pomegranate seeds, and the white section is made up of a nutty cream sauce.
Nobody can entirely agree on where mole first originated. There are three different regions in Mexico that all lay claims to the dish. Wherever it was born, it continues to be a ‘must try’ meal for those visiting the country. The word mole refers to a sauce, but there are lots of variations on this dish. Mole poblano, for example, is a thick red sauce that matches perfectly with poultry and pork. Almost every mole sauce contains over twenty different ingredients.
How to Find the Best Restaurants in Mexico
The age-old advice rings true in Mexico, as it does in other parts of the world. If you want to find the best grub, follow the locals. One sign of a high-quality eatery, with a stellar reputation, is a mostly local clientele. That’s not to say there aren’t any appealing tourist restaurants. It’s just that, if you want an authentic experience, you’ve got to think (and enjoy food) just like a Mexican.