This historical city is vibrant with an archipelago of culture, food and heritage. With its unique history, Mexico has inspired many movies such as the award-winning “Coco” and the heart-warming “Book of Life.” Mexican food is one of the healthiest in the world as it includes all food groups and is chock full of vegetables.
Food and History
With a long and diverse culture, traditional Mexican food has been said to be derived from the Mayans. The Mayans were nomadic hunters and gatherers. Food that was commonly eaten were corn tortillas, wild game, fish and fruits.
During the middle of the 14th century, the Aztec empire was prospering, and besides the Mayan staples, people also ate wild game, fish and nuts. Some wild animals, such as turkey and duck, were also domesticated.
When Spanish explorers arrived in Mexico, they introduced new livestock such as cattle, sheep and pigs. The Spanish were instrumental in shaping Mexican cuisine to the way it is now. Many plants were brought over from Asia such as garlic, herbs, wheat and sugarcane.
Fun Facts about Mexican Food
- Birthplace of Chocolate
Chocolate is made from cacao beans from the cacao tree. Mexico’s gift to the world is the cultivation of the cacao tree. Without it, there wouldn’t be the abundance of chocolate available worldwide. The Aztec emperor, Moctezuma drank chocolate daily, and cacao beans were trade items throughout the region and were also essential tribute items to the Aztec empire.
- No Cow Wasted
In Mexico, cows are important and not just only for ground beef. In traditional, authentic Mexican cuisine, all parts of the cow are eaten, and this includes the cow’s intestines, udders, testicles and uterus.
- Tamales are Ancient
The food might be one of the oldest dishes still prepared today! Historians have found evidence that tamales were invented at around 8000 BCE. This technique of food preparation was common among the Mayans, Incas and Aztecs as they made food convenient to be carried around.
- Exotic Foods
In some parts of Mexico, grasshoppers and caterpillars are consumed. Tacos are also eaten with fillings that are different from the norm, such as cow brains and testicles.
- Chilli is Number 1!
Every authentic Mexican dish contains chilli. It is the most used ingredient in Mexican cuisine. Chilli is also prevalent in desserts and drinks in Mexico.
- Corny, much?
Besides being the original home of corns, Mexico possesses over 59 varieties of the crop. For centuries now, corn has been cultivated in Mexico and is still continuing to do so despite pressure trade agreements and the import of genetically modified crops.
Popular Mexican Foods
Tacos are popular street food, and basically, you can wrap anything in a tortilla and still call it a taco! The filling is usually meat, but vegetarians may also fill it with mushrooms, beans or cheese. Sauces that are served with tacos are often guacamole and salsa sauce.
Commonly eaten in the mornings or evenings, tamales are even served at parties. They are dumplings that are made out of corn dough that comes wrapped with corn husk or banana leaf. They usually have fillings out of “mole,” which is salsa with chicken or “rajas,” which are poblano chilli strips with tomatoes and onions.
This food is a folded tortilla that has melted cheese on the inside. Quesadillas can either be made with corn or wheat tortillas and can be deep-fried or grilled.
Though tostadas have a similar appearance to tacos, they are different because of the tortilla texture. Tacos have soft tortillas while tostadas have a crispy tortilla base that is baked or fried and piled with toppings. There are many combinations of toppings to try, such as seafood, cheese and many more.
Try some Mexican food by ordering them from foodpanda!