Can you identify a Mexican table?

Have you noticed that the most important moments in life, such as first dates, business meetings, and marriage proposals, involve conversation and food served around a table?

Mexico is an especially social nation, where gathering together to share food and stories is an essential part of life. This is why the Mexican tradition of sitting down around a table to eat is not a casual event – it is elevated to an art form.

No matter where you find yourself, a Mexican table is always recognizable. They’re almost always big tables, with a minimum of eight animated diners who won’t stop laughing, joking, and messing around with each other.

Usually, those who sit around this table have “eyes bigger than their stomachs,” which is why they order enormous quantities of food. Nevertheless, they usually leave the plates empty because everyone tastes everybody else’s dishes, and someone always ends up eating the leftovers others couldn’t finish.

Mexican family eating at table

Last but not least, conversation at a Mexican table is always extended after dessert because the jokes multiply and the pleasure of sharing a table becomes stronger throughout the food ritual, accompanied by coffee and/or drinks, making things cozier and relaxed. 

Hereafter we share some of the most important elements that play a part in the social expression of our gastronomic culture and symbolize Mexico’s idiosyncrasy around a table. 

Variety of dishes: Mexicans love having a lot of options to choose from, which is why you’ll always find a vast variety of dishes and garnishes on our menus. Even fondas (small restaurants) that offer one single dish for the day complement it with nopales, black beans, soup, rice, and desserts. 

If you want to try an array of exciting Mexican flavors in one evening, we recommend joining us on our Mexico City Food Tour in the Historic City Center.

Watermelon aguas frescas

Aguas Frescas (flavored water drinks): Horchata, tamarind, hibiscus, or lemon chia seed prepared drinks are typical. However, there’s always a “today’s special” water prepared with seasonal fruits that will surprise you with its sweetness and refreshing flavor that go perfectly well with any Mexican craving or dish you’re willing to taste. 

Tortillas: Formerly an eating utensil, tortillas are now used to make tacos with whatever stew one has on their plate, which is why you’ll always find a tortillero or tortilla warmer on the table. 

Bowl of salsa

Lemon, Salt, and Salsa: Mexicans’ palates are accustomed to a combination of acidity, hotness, and salt. Hence we usually add these three ingredients to soups, tacos, and other dishes, achieving a mixture that hits the right note every time. 

Family: Perhaps the most essential element of Mexico’s gastronomic ritual. Family allows us to be noisy at a table, have a good time while eating, and allows us to share problems, personal achievements, and anecdotes. Therefore, as mentioned before, a Mexican table is not complete without the presence of family and/or friends. 

Now that you’re familiar with the Mexican table, pay attention when you eat at a small restaurant, a street food trolley, a local’s house, or an elegant Mexican restaurant because we’re sure you’ll find some of the things mentioned above.

Do you want to deeply experience Mexican gastronomic culture and learn more about the customs around a Mexican table? In that case, we recommend experiencing one of our Food Tours in Mexico City

Please contact us if you have any questions about our tours or services.

Article by: María José Ordóñez Platas