Curious About Mexican Food?

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For­get every­thing you know about Tex-Mex food—sure, you can always find nachos, bur­ri­tos and que­sadil­las in Mex­ico but this is not what Mex­i­can food is about.

Food in Mex­ico is cheap, fill­ing, sim­ple and tasty. This is one of these cuisines where you can actu­ally rec­og­nize all the ingre­di­ents (i.e. unlike Chi­nese or French cui­sine) and where spices and sauces make all the difference.

We ate most of our meals in sim­ple lunchería and local restau­rants, with the excep­tion of a cou­ple of Ital­ian restau­rants (and an Argen­tinean one). Our bills ranged from 100 to 300 pesos (US$7 to $21) with a cou­ple of sodas.

In the morn­ing, eggs are a pop­u­lar choice. They can be scram­bled (usu­ally with bacon, ham, mush­rooms, chaya—the Mayan “spinach”—or chorizo), fried or served as an omelette. They usu­ally come with a side of beans and rice or salad. Dul­ces such as crois­sants or sweet breads are also widely avail­able, as well as “hot cakes” (pancakes).

There is always a bas­ket of corn chips and salsa—usually a red and a green salsa, one very spicy and the other one less so—on the table. You can munch on them while wait­ing for your food… it’s free!

Most mains (such as eggs, fish, meat, etc.) are served with tor­tillas, thin flat­bread made with corn or flour, stacked in a bas­ket and wrapped into a towel. This is basi­cally the Mex­i­can “baguette”, you put some of your food in the tor­tilla, add some salsa, wrap and eat. I can’t believe the num­ber of grin­gos who com­plain they are sick of tor­tillas… I could eat the entire bas­ket! I like the fact that the process of “wrap­ping” your food makes you slow down and enjoy it. Tor­tillas are also used in dishes such as bur­ri­tos, tacos, enchi­ladas, que­sadil­las etc.

Oh, note that the most pop­u­lar brand of sliced bread (and cakes) here is… Bimbo. Yep. Bimbo is also a big spon­sor of sport games, so you can find guys wear­ing “Bimbo” jer­seys. Always makes me smile.

What Yucatán dishes did I try?

  • Tamal, corn-made dough steamed in a leaf wrap­per and filled with pork or chicken
  • Papadzules, tor­tillas filled with diced boiled eggs and served with a spicy pump­kin seeds sauce
  • Cochinita pibil, a slow-roasted pork dish
  • Sopa de lime, a soup with chicken, shred­ded tor­tilla bits and a zest of lime

I had “Mex­i­can fast food” a few times, such as gordi­tas (thick tor­tillas filled with… well, what­ever you want, my favourite are bell pep­per with cream, pota­toes and chorizo and beans and cheese), que­sadil­las (same idea, with a folded tor­tilla) and bur­ri­tos. There are also sopes, huar­raches, etc.—same idea, dif­fer­ent way to serve some meat on a tor­tilla. I am not a huge fan of tacos, I find them messy to eat! Tor­tas are the local sand­wich, with some meat with avo­cado, tomato and salsa on a bun.

Another pop­u­lar dish, avail­able any­where, is faji­tas, stir-fried chicken, beef or fish with veg­gies and the usual beans, rice, tor­tilla and salsa. We had a lot of fish and chicken, grilled, breaded or steamed.

For dessert, there is always the panadería. Pop­u­lar street food include arroz con leche (rice and milk… riz au lait like in France!), pale­tas (ice cream bars) and chocobanana (my favourite—an entire banana coated in choco­late and served on a stick, frozen). And of course, mar­quise­tasvery thin and crusty crêpes with either Nutella, dulce de leche, jam, con­densed milk or cheese. Appar­ently, a local favourite is com­bi­nada, i.e. cheese AND Nutella. I like to keep an open mind but… I ditched the cheese and asked for just Nutella, muchas gra­cias.

There isn’t a lot of for­eign food in this part of Mex­ico, with the excep­tion of a few Argen­tinean par­il­las and Ital­ian restau­rants. Burger King seem to be the local favourite, McDon­alds’ was harder to find. I also spot­ted a few Sub­way, a KFC, Domi­noes and more “upscale” US fran­chises such as Starbucks.

There is noth­ing I didn’t like in Mexico—I cleaned my plate pretty much every time!

You can see the full set of Estación Méx­ico on Flickr.

Chips and Salsa

Chips and Salsa

Sopa

Sopa

Fajitas

Faji­tas

Fish

Fish

Tacos

Tacos

Raviolis

Ravi­o­lis

Parilla Argentina

Par­illa Argentina

Bimbo Bread

Bimbo Bread

Tamale

Tamal

Breakfast (Eggs and Beans)

Break­fast (Eggs and Beans)

Breakfast

Break­fast

Street Food

Street Food

Fish

Fish

Fish Fajitas

Fish Faji­tas

Ice Cream

Ice Cream

Mayan Crepe

Mayan Crêpe

Mexican Food

Mex­i­can Food

Fajitas

Faji­tas

Mayan Pork

Mayan Pork

Salsa

Salsa

Salad

Salad

Mayan Pork

Mayan Pork

Pollo Pilbil

Pollo Pil­bil

Chicken

Chicken

Tamale

Tamal

Papadzules

Papadzules

Making Quesadillas

Mak­ing Quesadillas

You can see the full set of Estación Méx­ico on Flickr.

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

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