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By Maria Hayes
Are you planning to head out to Mexico anytime this year? Perhaps it’s better for you to get a notepad and list all the great spots to visit and of course, the top foods you must try when you come to Mexico.
Forget all the Tex-Mex and American-Mexican stuff you’re used to because you’re in for a delicious Mexican surprise. Mexico is a food enthusiast’s paradise. The traditional Mexican cuisine is far-fetched from what we’ve tasted in the States.
The country is known for its extensive use of strong spices, tomatoes, herbs, corn, chiles, and beans.
Mexican cuisine is known for the superb taste and spiciness of their dishes. The real Mexican food is almost always spicy in nature. Furthermore, you’ll be delighted to know that every region has their own specialties, so there will probably be no taste shortage for any first-time traveller in Mexico.
Without further ado, here are the top 7 foods you should try instead of the Tex-Mex knockoffs.
Top 7 Foods To Try In Mexico
Interestingly, Tamales was first made for the early Mayan tribes who needed food on the go to take with them into battle.
What’s more interesting is the food’s appearance. Chunks of starchy corn dough are filled with vegetables, meats, cheese, chili, pepper, and mole then wrapped in corn husks. The husk-wrapped filling is then steamed to perfection.
There’s nothing like this food anywhere on Earth. Make sure to discard the wrapping before eating!
You may think you may have tasted the best tacos in town but wait until you get to Mexico.
Tacos are world-famous, but it is a traditional dish from Mexico. Tacos in Mexico are commonly made using small and soft corn tortillas folded into a half moon shape. Also, the tacos here are always made of corn, never flour.
Some taquerias even use two tortillas per taco! The taco is then filled with the filling of your choice. There’s also dozens of meat options to choose from – most taquerias offer 5 to 6 meats to choose from.
Surprisingly, there’s almost no tomato, lettuce, or shredded cheese in the ingredients – meats mainly constitute the filling. Standard toppings include finely chopped onions, cilantro, radish, and pepper.
The best thing about Mexican taquerias is they offer unlimited lime slices. You can simply pick a handful from heaped bowls then squeeze it all over your juicy steak-filled taco.
Quesadillas are also one of the most popular dishes in Mexican cuisine.
Quesadillas are basically tacos filled with cheese, vegetables, and meat then toasted nicely in a round pan until the edges turn brown.
The American-style quesadillas usually consist of cheese, and other ingredients pressed between two flour tortillas then cut into wedges.
Well, the authentic Mexican quesadillas are oval-shaped like tacos then filled with stringy Oaxacan cheese, shredded spicy chicken, mushrooms, corn, spinach, potato, and chorizo before being folded and roasted until the cheese is gooey.
American quesadillas are simply no match for the Mexican type – they’re just bursting with meats and different flavors.
Picadillo is another wonder traditional Mexican dish made of meat in the form of ground beef. It’s also frequently cooked throughout Latin America.
This dish is multifaceted; the ground beef can be served together with rice, mashed potato, nachos or as filling for burritos, tacos, and empanadas. Authentic picadillo uses seasoned tomato sauce.
Mexican picadillo is almost the same as the one we order at Tex-Mex restaurants. They also use ground beef, tomatoes, jalapenos, cilantro, shredded chicken, lime, and oregano. If you not a fan of spices, you can request for raisins to be mixed into your picadillo.
A classic Mexican gastronomic recipe is the frijoles or “refried beans” in American. If you’re a frijole fan, you’ll notice that three ingredients are ever present in either American or Mexican variety – beans, chiles, and corn.
Frijoles can be likened to fries in the Western culture. This is so because a large portion of Mexican restaurants and eateries serves frijoles as sides, appetizers, and snacks. In fact, you don’t have to walk a couple of blocks towards Mexican eateries just to get a taste of this great beans – we bet your hotel most likely serves frijoles.
It’ll also be ridiculous to go to a market and ask vendors for frijole beans because there are a whopping fifty varieties of dried beans that can be used to make the dish.
Anyhow, Mexican frijole is cooked using a large clay pot. Commonly used beans include pinto, black beans, and peruano. It’s also interesting how chefs choose beans meticulously – they eliminate wrinkled, damaged, and holed beans. They say that wrinkled and damaged beans take longer to cook and don’t taste quite as good as smooth beans.
The best-tasting Mexican street food must be elote. It’s usually sold in night markets, but on special market days, you’ll have a chance to buy them during the day.
Essentially, elote are steamed or grilled corn cobs on a stick that are slathered with mayonnaise, cheese, chili powder, and lime.
The way of cooking elote is different in Western and Central Mexico. The corn cob in Western Mexico is often grilled before covering it with condiments while in Central Mexico, the cobs are boiled first.
We’re sure you’ll enjoy elote as much as we did. It’s unique and delightful. Just make sure to floss right after eating!
Wherever elote goes, esquites will follow.
Esquites are basically elotes minus the cob. The corn kernels are scraped from the cob and then served in a cup. It’s also dressed with the same spices and condiments as in elote.
Mexico is indeed a food haven. It has all sorts of delightful and flavorful food – from meat to all-vegetable to sweets and street food.
There’s a food stall in every corner you take, ready to serve you with the best tasting tacos and quesadillas. You may feel full at the end of the day because there are so much new food to try and indulge into, but be sure to leave some space in your tummy for the steamy elote grilling right there on the corner.
Hey there! Have you been to Mexico? What food/s have you tried that makes you want to go back to the place? Do you have other suggestions aside from the food items included on our list? Feel free to comment your thoughts below!
You might also want to share this article in social media for reference of travellers planning to go to Mexico. Cheers!
Author Bio: I am a 27 yr. old self-proclaimed food enthusiast with a penchant for cooking (and eating) virtually all forms and shapes of food. My inner foodie led to the creation of Mamatestataqueria.com . This blog chronicles my food adventures, original recipes, and reviews of awesome cookwares and similar products. I aim to provide answers to food-related questions and inspire readers to channel their inner chefs.