31 Reasons Why Visit Mexico

+ The Truth Behind the Mexican Food

It is pretty usual that as a Mexican one of the first thing that everybody is asking me about is the Mexican food.
“Do you really have burritos everywhere?”
“You put really spicy sauce in everything, don’t you?”
Just a few of many similar questions people is shooting me with.

And as I always say: it depends on where you are.

Mexico has 31 different states. Each state could be as big as any European country. So imagine having 31 little countries, different traditions, different accents and of course different cuisine. Hence it’s not easy to answer these questions but here is my little guide for you where and what to try around Mexico.

Mexico states map
Did you know? 21 European countries can fit into Mexico!

The “Tex-Mex” from USA

I’m going to start with the southern part of the United States of America, where the “Tex-Mex” was introduced many years ago. What’s this “Tex-Mex”? The usual burritos that everyone knows, and “wanna be” tacos. Yes, just “wannabe”. It’s just simply not the same! Even though, I have tried really nice Mexican food in the States – at least Mexican influenced – but the big Mexican fast food restaurants just don’t know how to prepare the real Mexican food.

Tacos stall Mexico
Typical food stall selling Tacos de Barbacoa in Guadalajara

North of Mexico

Entering into Mexican soil, the North part of my country – states as Sonora, Nuevo Leon, Sinaloa – is well known for its “carne asada”. This Mexican dish is a thinly sliced, marinated beef steak grilled to perfection. Typical on Mexican grill parties – not just in the North. Of course the taste can still differ based on the marinade.

Carne Asada served with guacamole and corn tortilla

Another traditional northern Mexican dish – from Monterrey – is the “cabrito”, which is a roasted goat. I know, poor goats... The most common way to prepare is roasting it slowly beside glowing embers. Then served with tortilla, guacamole, frijoles, etc. just as usual. 😛 Even I don’t know how can the taste and flavor of this Mexican dish can be so different from for example the eastern part of Mexico.

North-West of Mexcio

If you go North-West to La paz, Ensenada or Cabo San Lucas, you will find a wide variety of Mexican seafood. Try out the ceviche, aguachile (HOT ALERT!) or some really tasty fish tacos.

Mexican seafood aguachiles
Aguachiles, Mexican seafood speciality

South of Mexico

Yucatán

Now we’re going directly to the Southern jungles of Mexico, Yucatán… my favorite Mexican cuisine – if I’d have to choose. If you go there, I beg you: try as much as you can (speaking about food of course). 

From “cochinita pibil” (slow roasted pork) to “panuchos” (beans stuffed refried tortilla with Mexican toppings), “papadzules” (egg filled, rolled corn tortillas dipped in salsa), “sopa de lima” (Mayan poultry and lime soup) you should definitely try a little bit of everything and then you can choose your favorite one.

Oaxaca

Oaxaca is another big exponent state of Mexican food. Don’t forget the word “tlayuda”! That’s what I’d describe as a truly Mexican pizza – my Italian friend would kill me for this. The tlayuda is made with tortilla, beef, avocado, and several more veggies.

The famous and popular Mexican sauce, the “mole” is also from Oaxaca. There they have not just 1 but 7 type of mole! You can order them in almost all of the Oaxacan restaurants, each one has a different color, taste and texture. It’s most commonly served over chicken.

Mid-West of Mexico

State of Jalisco with Guadalajara

How bad are you thinking to visit Mexico now? Hold on, ’cause now I’ll take you to my city, Guadalajara. The land of Tequila and Mariachi has some very special dishes too.

The “Torta ahogada” is one of the most typical amongst the Tapatios (people from Gudadalajara). What is torta ahogada? A “Bolillo” (similar to baguette bread) filled with beans, fried pork meat aka “carnitas” and soaked directly into a special tomato sauce. Originally the tomato sauce should be really spicy, but recently it’s up to you if you add that plus spiciness.

Mexican food torta ahogada
Torta Ahogada, the traditional food from Guadalajara

Another of my favourite dishes would be “carne en su jugo” which I would describe as our tomatillo and beef stew. When the meat is cooked it’s gravy is used for making the sauce and mix the two together again. Many restaurants in Jalisco have the carne en su jugo on their menu, but my favourite on is my grandma’s. <3

Mexican soup Jalisco Guadalajara
Carne en su Jugo, special meatsoup from the state Jalisco
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As you can see, the Mexican cuisine goes much much further than spicy burritos and guacamole. In almost all of the 31 states you can find a typical Mexican dish. And besides all I mentioned there are the tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, flautas, etc… but you can easily find all of these delicious dishes in all the cities and little towns around Mexico.

So, do I put really spicy sauce on everything? I’d say, it depends… 😉

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