A huge part of visiting another country is trying its unique food. I believe that is the most entertaining part of any trip. It makes your experience more real and, of course, delicious.
Mexican cuisine, in particular, is amazing and varied. But these are the foods you can’t miss when you visit Mexico.
A tamal comes wrapped in banana leaf and is corn-based dough filled with different things, like meat, sauce, fruits, and vegetables or a prepared mix. Depending on what a tamal is filled with is how it’s named. For example, there is one filled with green pepper slices, corn, onion, and cream; it’s called tamal de rajas con crema.
Though the dough is usually a beige tone, sometimes it changes color. For example, the sweet tamal has a pink color and raisins. I know it sounds weird but it’s fantastic! If it weren’t for the vaporcitos, a type of tamales unique to Yucatan, the sweet tamal would be my favorite food in Mexico.
If I could wake up every day to have chilaquiles as breakfast, I’d always have a smile on my face. I haven’t found another dish as mouth-watering as this one. Chilaquiles are triangle fried tortillas, or tortilla chips, soaked in spicy tomato sauce with chicken, fresh cheese, and cream on top.
They’re usually accompanied by black refried beans with fresh cheese too and more tortilla chips. Whether their red or green, chilaquiles will make you groan with pleasure. However, they’re not always spicy. Some places offer to make them with only tomato sauce, for people like me who aren’t used to eat hot chili.
In Mexico, there are tacos everywhere. You can almost find a taco place in every corner. That’s not the craziest thing. They contain every single thing you can imagine: pastor, sirloin, head, belly, guts, brains.
As the added sauce usually softens the tortilla until it breaks, several places give you tacos with two tortillas. They also have onion and coriander leaves, unless you ask for “natural tacos” and they give you only the tortilla and the meat.
Sweet and spicy, mole is actually a type of sauce put on chicken, yet the sauce gives a name to the dish. It is another meal that comes in a lot of colors. Black, green, reddish brown, beige, yellow, etc. The most popular is the dark red one or reddish brown. If you’re looking to try them all, then you have to make a stop in Oaxaca.
It is made with hot chili, butter, apricot, cinnamon, almond, and chocolate. Depending on the color, some ingredients and species may change. Besides, every family household develops a recipe of their own.
This is one of my favorites food in Mexico. Ceviche is a very fresh dish. It is raw fish accompanied with tomato, onion, coriander and black pepper, soaking in lemon juice. The lemon cooks the fish.
You can find it in any seafood restaurant, but nothing beats eating ceviche with the sea right next to you and a cold beer or lemonade. However, the best ceviche is the one a fisherman prepares on the way back from a fishing trip!
Traditional dishes of each state
Mexico City – Quesadillas
While in the rest of the country quesadillas are flour tortillas with cheese, in Mexico City quesadillas are made of fired dough with any ingredient you ask for inside. Though part of its name means cheese, you must specify you want it with cheese or it won’t include it. This is actually a matter Mexicans from other places tease them about.
Merida – Panuchos
Panuchos are a food in Mexico made of fried dough filled with black refried beans, with turkey meat, lettuce, tomato, and onion on top. And, let me let you in on a little secret, the right way to eat it is to fold it before biting into it. That’s how people born and raised in Merida do it.
Guadalajara – Pozole / Torta ahogada
You can find pozole in a lot of Mexican cities, but none like the one made in Guadalajara. Its flavor is unique! They also have the torta ahogada, a sandwich totally submerged in hot sauce that runs through your fingers after each bite.
Just remember one important detail. Always check if the sauce is spicy or not. Mexicans are used to eating all their meals with, at least, a spoonful of sauce on top. It can be garlic cream, tomato sauce or most likely habanero sauce; the hottest chili ever created by nature.