This week, Jesus Catalan Meneses, ex-journo turned blogger and very Mexican Taconnoiseur is back to give our readers the inside scoop on the Top 10 Quintessential Mexican Food Musts. Whether he’s writing, researching social media, travelling, cooking or finding the greatest places for tacos, quesadillas, and enchiladas, Jesus’s love for Mexico can only be matched by his love of Mexican food.
So you’ve think you’ve been to Mexico?
Then you know our country is one of those lands where gastronomy is one of the most delicious parts of the experience. It would be extremely daring to name the most representative (and appetizing) dishes of the country (so many!), but with this mouth-watering list I’ll be adventurous enough to say you haven’t been in Mexico unless you’ve tried:
Some say they come from the Mayans, some from the Aztecs. Taconnoiseurs know that the original name (in náhuatl, the Aztec dialect that is still alive) was quauhtaqualli, an unpronounceable word for the Spaniards, who just decided to call them tacos. Everywhere in Mexico you’ll find heavenly tortillas (rolled or folded) stuffed with just about anything delicious: meat, chicken, cheese, veggies…Seriously, tacos are basic and universal (the best thing that ever happened to the world, by the way). You really don’t know Mexico if you’ve never tried one.
The symbol of Mexican culinary tradition and passion, believed to have more than a thousand flavors and colors. It means ‘sauce’ in Aztec dialect, and it’s made out of a wide variety of ingredients: numerous differentchiles, tomatoes, garlic, almonds, raisins, sesame seeds, onions, bread, cinammon, lard, parsley, peanuts, chocolate…all together (and more) crushed by stone and mixed. Pour it on chicken or turkey, and feast on it.
If cooked properly, it can make you scream. The legend says Yucatan was the first place in the continent where Mayans tasted pork and thus created this formula incorporating exotic spices, wrapping it in banana leaves and cooking it in a natural underground oven all night long. The extremely tender meat is served on top of a panucho (small tortillas with black beans inside) and sprinkled with minced purple onion. Yumm…
After around 15 hours of cooking inside a natural subterranean oven made of stones, the flavorful young lamb’s meat wrapped in maguey’s stalk will melt in your hands when you’re preparing your tacos and topping them with velvety salsa borracha (which contains a bit of alcohol, oftenly pulque).
More corn (this time, large grains), in form of a succulent soup with meat. Woof. Try it whether it’s green, white or red, for it is the heritage of the blend of America, Europe and Asia. Besides the chunks of pork and the big corn oats, experts add chile, oregano, lime juice, fresh lettuce, avocado, sour cream, chopped onion and radish.
Sizzling pork for tacos (add onion, cilantro, nopales (cactus), fresh cheese, avocado and salsa) at its best. The skin is deep-fried in lard until it’s crispy. Don’t die before you try chicharrón prensado: a softer, creamier version.
You can also say you’ve been to Mexico if you’ve tried: chilaquiles, sopes, flautas, menudo, gorditas, pambazos, cabrito, molotes, tlayudas, aguachile, memelas, pancita, salbutes, discada, tinga, uchepos, chilorio, tlacoyos, migadas, burritos, chimichangas, rajas, tortas ahogadas, molletes, chalupas, papadzules, tetelas, tasajo, codzitos, polcanes, picadillo, huaraches, picaditas, ceviche, pelonas, mixiotes, chamorros, corundas, aporreadillo, churipos, guacamayas, quebraditas, pastes, manchamanteles, caldo tlalpeño, cemitas, chiles en nogada, sopa de lima, and so on.
Have I missed any? Absolutely, I’m sure.