Mexican food is not to be missed. With a mix of US, Spanish, Aztec, and Maya, you will get the vibrant and exciting feel and taste of the culture and authenticity of Mexican food. In fact, it is the only cuisine to have been named part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO for its bold flavors and elaborate ties to festivals and events.
The Flavors of Mexico That Make Mexican Food and Drinks Unique
Mexican food and drinks burst with unique ingredients, making it unlike any other food from any part of the world that you will taste. Their cuisine is a unique blend of Spanish and Indigenous Mexican cuisines. Its roots lie in a combination of Mesoamerican and Spanish cuisine. Explore authentic foods and top-rated tequila drinks from Mexico for a well-rounded experience.
Many of its ingredients and methods have their roots in the first agricultural communities such as the Maya who domesticated maize or corn. Mesoamerican groups brought with them their own cooking methods that have influenced the traditional ways Mexican food is prepared.
The Spaniards have also had a great influence on Mexican cuisine when they introduced meats from domesticated animals, dairy products, rice, sugar, olive oil, and various fruits and vegetables, along with cooking styles and recipes. You can taste Spanish influence in Mexican food noticeable in their sweet foods like churros, alfeñiques, borrachitos, and alfajores.
The Basic Elements of Mexican Cuisine That Make It So Great
The irresistible flavor of Mexican cuisine comes from a blend of different cultures. It represents diversity and pride by different geographic territories using distinct ingredients that make Mexican food so great. Here are the elements that give traditional Mexican food and drinks their amazing flavor:
It is the most consumed starch in almost all of Mexico and serves as the main ingredient in many traditional recipes. Aside from being eaten fresh, most corn used in recipes is dried and ground into a dough. The dough is prepared and sometimes fermented, to make a variety of dishes including drinks.
The most common way it is eaten is in the form of a tortilla, a round, thin, flatbread that accompanies almost every Mexican dish—enchiladas, quesadillas, tacos, tamales, and tlacoyos, among others.
In Mexico, it’s all about the maize! Mexican cuisine can do anything with corn, fresh or dried, to achieve its highest most delectable potential. It’s amazing how they can seemingly process corn into some of the most delicious food creations.
The importance of chili in Mexican food and drinks goes back to the Mesoamerican period where it was considered as one of the staple foods, along with corn and beans. Even today, most Mexicans would believe that their national identity would be at a loss without this basic ingredient.
Mexicans use chiles in a wide variety of ways in their food and drinks from subtle flavors to being very spicy. It is even added to fresh fruit and sweets. The most popular dishes defined by a hint of spice in their sauces include:
- Adobo or adobados
Other Mexican foods that are enjoyed without a sauce but are eaten with salsa flavored with pickled chiles are:
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables play an important role in Mexican food and drinks. They are an integral part of everyday cooking in Mexico. Fruits are beautifully sliced and seasoned and then sold on the Mexican street as a snack. The most common unique and delicious flavors of Mexican drinks include fruits like pineapple, melon, lime, and watermelon.
Vegetables are used in sauces, stews, garnishes, and so much more. This makes Mexican cuisine a generally healthy choice since their dishes contain large amounts of vegetables. In fact, Mexican cooking is one of the world’s most popular plant-forward cuisines.
Mexican food stands out because of the wide variety of spices that they use in cooking. Some of the most commonly used spices include garlic, onions, cilantro, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, and chilies. Believe it or not, they use over 100 different varieties of chili.
One unique herb and spice that Mexican cuisine has been using traditionally since ancient times is Epazote. It presents a strong, musky flavor that gives Mexican dishes their exceptional flavor especially when it is used in bean, fish, and corn dishes.
The Irresistible Taste of Mexican Food and Drinks
Experience the distinct cuisine of Mexican food and drinks that go a long way in history, variability, and authenticity. The next time you enter a Mexican restaurant, the experience will never be the same without the authentic elements that Mexican cuisine stands out for.