Mexican food is important not just for Mexicans, and you can understand its universal significance when you analyze the various qualities that make it so unique. In other words, acknowledging its value is fundamental to understanding that the attained status as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity was not given by chance.
Authentic Mexican food is built upon ancient social practices, knowledge concerning nature, traditional craftsmanship and oral expressions that belong to our people. All of these qualities come together and achieve unique dishes that excel in flavor and character, delighting even the fussiest palate.
Some of the most famous Mexican dishes like mole, pozole, tamales, and tacos have all these things in common. Still, they can be individually identified by various traits exclusive to each dish. This is why we decided to share some details, so you get to know them and understand that you can’t leave Mexico without trying at least one of them.
And while you’re here, if you are traveling to Mexico City and want to sample classic Mexican flavors in the company of passionate local foodies, consider joining us on our Mexico City Food Tour in the Historic City Center.
Pozole is a classic choice at any Mexican celebration whether in its green, white or red varieties. The protagonist of this complex bouillon is cacahuazintle corn or pozole corn, recognizable for its grains’ size, soft consistency, and sweet flavor.
Pozole can be white if no extra salsa is added to the broth, red if the salsa has chile ancho and guajillo or green if it is prepared with green tomatoes. In addition, this soup contains chicken and/or pork meat, onion, radish, lettuce, lemon juice, and oregano and is sometimes accompanied by piquín chili powder and toasted tortillas (tostadas) with fresh cream and grated white cheese.
A complete truly complete meal!
Often chosen as the main course in popular celebrations like weddings and baptisms, mole originates in the prehispanic salsa “mulli” that was used to accompany chicken, steak or pork meat.
Mole is an evolving dish that has taken elements from different epochs, making them part of its composition and achieving a variety of styles and combinations, procuring the creation of more than fifty types.
Whether you decide to taste an almond mole with shredded chicken and red rice, a turkey leg with black mole, a duck breast with manchamanteles (tablecloth-staining) mole or some shrimps with green pipian, the search for chili, tomatoes, peanuts, almonds, chocolate, and/or spices that hide inside these complex salsas is worth the try. Do you accept the challenge? You won’t regret it.
It is undoubtedly ambiguous to say we want a taco because we could be thinking about a taco de canasta, taco de suadero or even a steak taco. Nevertheless, to be identified as a taco, maize-based food needs to have a cooked hash set on top of one (or two) tortillas. It has to be eaten without any utensils and should have been warmed in a Mexican griddle or comal.
You have probably heard or even tried the typical tacos al pastor. Still, we recommend tasting others, such as tacos gobernador, tacos de costilla, tacos de alambre or tacos de lengua. Experiencing our Tacos & Mezcal Tour will help you know the best features of this classic dish and figure out why it’s so famous inside and out of Mexico, sampling the best variety of Mexican tacos.
These cooked maize paste “wraps” can be stuffed with sweet or savory fillings containing meat, vegetables, fruits, chili or salsa.
There are between 500 and 5,000 tamales in Mexico, all with different shapes and hidden inside diverse leaves, which grant them specific characteristics and contribute a little flavor.
If you want to taste corn or maize differently than a classic tortilla, don’t miss the corundas from Michoacán, the chipilín tamales from Chiapas, the pink piloncillo tamales from Guerrero or the classic red or green salsa tamales eaten all around Mexico.
Have no fear if you can’t handle chili or if you’re not into some specific Mexican flavors. Remember there are pozole, tacos, tamales and mole for everyone, which is why we’re sure you’ll find some adequate version that fits your palate, and you’ll be able to enjoy it all the way.
Now that you know that the best way of appreciating Mexican gastronomy is eating, we invite you to taste the colors, flavors, and textures of our country in the best food tours Mexico has to offer.
Article by: María José Ordóñez Platas