Top 9 Mexican Food That You Must Try: The Quintessential Mexican Food Guide
Whether it's about the beaches, jungles or the mountains, the urban cityscape and upscale shopping destinations or the quaint museums revealing the heritage - Mexico will never leave you bored! And of course, when we think of this Central American country, one thing that strikes us most is the cuisine of this land.
If you are planning your next holiday and thinking of traveling to discover the best of Mexico, from cities, cuisines to ruins - then here's a list of the best dishes that you just can't afford to miss!
Of course, you've had quesadillas in your home town as well, but I bet you, they aren't any similar to the cheesy delights that you'll find in Mexico! It's the crispy taco, nicely toasted and filled with a special cheese, called Oaxacan cheese that looks and feels kind of like cheese curds before it simply melts. The best quesadilla (which is my absolute favorite) is called gringa, a flour tortilla stuffed with abundant cheese, meat, and pineapple - yum!
These mouth-watering delicacies are made with corn tortillas stuffed with anything from a variety of ingredients, including various meats, cheese, beans, potatoes, vegetables or combinations.. They're either rolled or folded over, baked in a red or green sauce and then topped with cream, cheese, and onion. Well, Mexican food is known to be spicy, and no wonder - the word 'enchilar' literally translates to 'seasoning with chili'.
One of the most popular breakfast dishes in Mexico, chilaquiles are lightly fried corn tortillas cut into quarters and topped with green or red salsa. It's usually topped with fried or scrambled eggs and puller chicken or pork, with a dash of spices and cheese or cream on top! This delicacy is usually served with fried beans or as a side dish. Needless to say, it's the perfect recipe that can be prepared with leftover tortillas!
Mexican food will be incomplete without this avocado dip, popularly known as Guacamole. There would be only a few people who will know that this traditional sauce dates back to the time of the Aztecs(surprised much?)! Made from mashed avocados, onions, tomatoes, lemon juice and chili peppers (and sometimes a clove or two of garlic), guacamole is often eaten with tortilla chips or used as a side dish with other starters!
Ready to give your taste buds some thrill? Well, then it's time that we tell you about this authentic Mexican delicacy that's pretty popular in different parts of Central America. Originated in Oaxaca Region, Mexico, locals fill their corn tortillas with deep-fried grasshoppers called chapulines! These were often seasoned with chilli and lime, these crunchy bugs add a yeasty, salty tang that one reviewer compares to “salt and vinegar potato chips, but a bit wetter!" In more recent years, chapulines have been touted as one of the most sustainable food sources in the world (crazy, right?), though they have been a staple in southern Mexico for centuries!
6. CHILES EN NOGADA
Deeply related to Mexican history, this dish portrays the nation's flag (with the colors of its ingredients) and has amazing flavors! It is usually made of poblano chilis filled with picadillo (a mixture usually containing shredded meat, aromatics, fruits, and spices) topped with a walnut-based cream sauce, called nogada, and pomegranate seeds - thus, gets the three colors of the Mexican flag: green from the chili, white from the nut sauce and red from the pomegranate. The traditional season for making and eating Chiles en nogada is August and first half of September when pomegranates appear in the markets of Central Mexico and the national independence festivities begin.
7. TACOS ÁRABES
No brownie points for guessing that this Mexican dish has some links with Arab, and if you are one of those who are in love with the Lebanese 'shawarma', then you'll absolutely love this too! Mexicans and Middle Easterners have long held a culinary connection and that's where this dish originated from. The meat that's used for this particular preparation is marinated in a blend of chilies, spices, and flecks of pineapple and then slow-cooked using an open flame. It utilizes flavorful slices of pork from a spit, which is then stuffed into a pillowy, pita-like tortilla.
8. A LA VERACRUZANA
For the seafood lovers out there, Mexico is not just all about meaty delights! The Mexican state of Veracruz has a very long coastline, where plenty of seafood is available and you can't just miss the signature dish when you are there. Usually prepared with shrimps or red snapper, this dish has a lot of flavorful tomato sauce enlivened with red bell pepper, olives, capers, and chilies. This coastal treat holds its roots from Spain and was popularized in colonized Mexico. However, the recipe has evolved with time for good, and it's one of the best dishes you'll ever eat.
The delicious crispy Spanish doughnuts have a Mexican cousin as well, and it's no less than the original! These fried strips of dough are light, crisp and sweet - thanks to their coating of cinnamon sugar. Although most of the people like to opt for the classic churros with a chocolate dip, you can also try out the ones that are usually filled with dulce de leche or cajeta and also with chocolate and vanilla cream at times. If you are a dessert lover, then you're totally gonna love this!
Already dreaming of a table laid out with all these unputdownable delights? Well, no wonders that even I'm feeling hungry a bit now!
While it might be tricky for tourists to try all these essentially delicious meals in one visit, I'm sure that gap year travelers in Mexico would definitely get enough time to explore and find out the best eateries to savor the authentic flavors. If you've been to Mexico, then do let us know about your food experience! And all those wanderlustful souls planning to travel to Central & Latin America yet wondering where to go and what to do - drop all your worries and write to us at [email protected] - our Travel Experts will get back to you!