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Curious About Mexican Food?

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 Crepe
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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