It is claimed that Mexico has the most vast and varied cuisine in the world, after Chinese, which might be something of a shock to Mexican fast food fiends who thought that burritos and tacos were the only kinds of food Mexicans eat. Every area of Mexico has its own recipes and the Yucatan fare is especially flavorsome, with its Caribbean, Mexican, Mayan and Lebanese recipe influences.
Some Mexican dishes are spicy but not everything is. Chili peppers are widely used in Mexican cookery and there are lots of variations of them, including pasilla, habanero, serrano, poblano, and jalapeo. Mexicans like to vary their diets by eating meat, fish, poultry, seafood, fruit, vegetables and grains, or at least the ones who can afford to. Stews, soups, and sauces are common Mexican foods and cooking methods include baking, deep-frying and slow roasting.
Mexicans prefer fresh produce and anything more than two days old is no longer considered optimally fresh. Pesticides and herbicides are not used much because they are expensive and vegetables and fruit are picked when ripe or just about ripe. Seasonal produce is preferred to imported food and almost everything is grown locally. The exception to this is in Mexico City where the goods, which are not likely to be sold, are exported.
What is a Mexican Typical Meal Anyway?
Tortillas are so much a Mexican food staple that the price in controlled by the government and kept at five pesos a kilo! A tortilla is a ball of masa, or corn dough, which is flattened into a thin disc. They are traditionally made of corn and supermarkets make them fresh all day. Tortillas are used to make traditional Mexican tacos. Authentic tacos are soft, not like the rigid U-shaped Taco Bell variety.
Tortillas, tacos, and tamales are made from corn. Many stews and soups use beans such as lentils, fava beans, and kidney beans. Tomatoes are used in a lot of recipes, especially salsa recipes.
Fruit is popular in Mexico and is eaten fresh or used in desserts and sauces. Papaya, coconut, mango, and pineapple are all favorites. Nopales, which are prickly pear cactus paddles, are sauted and eaten like a vegetable. You can also get them sweetened and used in Mexican dessert recipes.
Popular Mexican Condiments and Salsas
Many people add lime, sour cream, or salsa to their Mexican food. You will also get little bowl of condiments served to you in a traditional Mexican restaurant. These will include chopped onion, fresh cilantro, lime, a hot chili salsa, a mild chili salsa and salsa Mexicana. Salsa Mexicana is made with chopped fresh tomatoes, chopped onion, habanero chili, and cilantro. You might also see a charred green onion, Worcestershire sauce (known in Mexico as salsa ingles) and limejuice dip. Guacamole is often served as well.
Many Mexican food recipes are rich in flavor and color and the use of fresh produce is important. A lot of people make the mistake of confusing Mexican fast food and Tex Mex style Mexican cooking for real, traditional Mexican food but authentic Mexican cuisine is a true delight.