Mexican cuisine is a thriving cultural legacy with recipes that passed through ages. The origins of Mexican cuisine go back to the Mayan people. Mayan people were gatherers and hunters. Tortillas, the collected tropical fruits, and fish were some of the food items of that time. During the Aztec development, chili took its place in Mexican cuisine. However, Spain had the most significant impact on this kitchen. Various herbs and spices, dairy products, and livestock joined the Mexican cuisine with the Spanish invasion. Since then, Mexican cuisine influenced by multiple cuisines and has taken today’s form.
Mexican Food in the U.S.
Being the 3rd most popular menu type in the U.S., Mexican food is on almost every restaurant’s menu today, mainly including delicious Mexican cuisine items like tacos, burritos, nachos, or quesadillas. Mexicans made us meet this flavorful cuisine by immigrating to the U.S. .
By the time they started making Mexican food at home with their ingredients, Tex-Mex food had emerged. The term Tex-Mex describes Mexican American cuisine consisting of Mexican foods made with other ingredients from original. Some Tex-Mex dishes are nachos, fajitas, and meals that use beef, black beans, canned vegetables, flour, or yellow cheese. Special spices such as coriander and epazote are used in traditional Mexican food, while Tex-Mex includes oregano and cumin. Generally, Mexican food is very spicy while Tex-Mex food is not, and you may prefer the two depending on your taste.
In the U.S., Mexican cuisine has become trendy lately, that we can find various restaurants serving Mexican dishes all over the country. We can buy Mexican food almost wherever we want, from traditional sit-ins, casual fast-food restaurants to food trucks. As Mexican Street food, we can count tacos, tamales, quesadillas, and pambazos.
As well as the ingredients, Mexican cuisine is about preparation. Special Mexican restaurant equipment and tools are required to make the delicious dishes of this fantastic cuisine. Some of them date back to the first time of the emergence of Mexican cuisine. In the early times of Mexico, people did not have ovens; they heated food on an open fire instead. Steaming was another option they used. Banana, corn, or cactus leaves are used to wrap and boil meat. And they used different tools such as molcajete bowl or metate y mano. You can also take a look at our article about all Mexican restaurant equipment.
Similarities and Differences Between Two Kitchens
- Mexican Cuisine and American cuisine are both combinations of different countries’ foods. Mexican food is made with the ingredients generally found in the country, like avocado, chili peppers, corn, etc., despite being adapted from Spanish cuisine.
- Due to its diverse population, American food consists of more diverse influences from different countries. And American cuisine is continually changing. Both cuisines use sauces almost in every food, and people love it. American and Mexican sauces are delicious and used in two countries like ketchup, mayo, mustard, bbq or Mexican salsa, rajas, and chile.
- Using sugar in food is common in America, while spices and salt are mostly used in Mexico.
- Tortilla is the main item of Mexican cuisine, but Americans use bread instead. And most of the food in Mexico is spicy and hot, which can be too much for Americans’ tolerance.
Popular Mexican Food
Mexican cuisine consists of fresh veggies, corn, beans, chili peppers, avocadoes, cactus, beef, pork, turkey, cheese, and special herbs and spices. Mexican breakfast mainly includes meat with broth, enchiladas, or tacos. Comida is the main meal in Mexico, which generally starts with soup and continues with beef as the main dish served with tortillas and beans.
Of course, there are dozens of Mexican food, but some of them are loved worldwide. And These are the perfect options to include in a Mexican restaurant menu.
1. Taco: Taco is often regarded as the most popular Mexican food in the world. As a snack or light dish, they are delicious and enjoyable. They can be made of flour, corn, or whole wheat. A tortilla can be filled with hundreds of different fillings. Different kinds of steak, turkey, pork, and even fish and shrimp can be the filling. And finishing with various toppings, you’ll get mouth-watering tacos. Another special thing about this food is its Middleeast roots.
2. Burrito: Burrito is a highly popular dish, especially in northern Mexico, close to U.S. borders. It is a flour tortilla that is rolled with a variety of ingredients inside. The most used ingredient is a stew, and fried beans burrito and machaca burritos are the most popular.
3. Quesadillas: They are generally made of flour or corn tortilla, loaded with cheese or other ingredients such as chicken, beef, or vegetables, but cheese is generally the main item. It is folded in half, and it can be served grilled or fried.
4. Enchiladas: The origin of enchiladas goes back to the Mayans, and they can be regarded as sauced types of burritos. Like most other Mexican cuisine items, corn and flour tortillas are used in this dish. They are stuffed with fish, meat, cheese, beans, veggies one by one or all together, then covered in chili sauce and finished with melted cheese.
6. Nachos: They are made of tortilla chips, the fried triangle slices of a tortilla. Nachos are topped with cheese and a selection of toppings and are perfect for enjoying as a snack.
7. Tostadas: Tostadas is a Mexican dish, which means toasted, made from fried flat corn tortillas served with various toppings like cheese, meat, fish, refried beans, and salsa.
8. Guacamole: Unquestionably, guacamole is one of the most popular Mexican cuisine food dates back to the Aztecs. It is a dipping sauce made with freshly mashed avocado, tomatoes, onions, chili, and lemon juice and is usually served as a side dish or with tortilla chips.
9. Chilaquiles: A breakfast dish made of corn tortillas cut into quarters covered in red or green salsa, which softens the tortillas. Then the chicken is added to the plate, and it is topped with crema, avocado, onion, and cheese. 11. Chiles En Nogada: It is a Mexican dish made with stuffed poblano pepper. The filling is called picadillo, which is a mix of shredded meat, fruit, and spices. It is served with a cream sauce called nogada, parsley, and pomegranate seed on top.
10. Elote: Elote is kindly a snack that refers to cooked sweet corn eaten directly from the cob. Ears of corn can be steamed, boiled, or roasted and served with salt and butter.
11. Mole Souce: It is a traditional sauce made with chili peppers, nuts, fruits, and spices such as cumin or cinnamon. It is traditionally served with turkey, but it is also possible to serve with chicken, pork, or other meat.
12. Tamale: It is a traditional Mexican dish made with corn-based dough, filled with meat, cheese, veggies, and chilies and steamed in a corn or banana leaf.
13. Huevos Rancheros: The name of the food represent the two ranchman’s hats. It is a breakfast dish made of fried eggs and fried tortillas topped with salsa Fresca which is made of chili, tomatoes, cilantro, and onion. Refried beans or guacamole are the side dishes served with Huevos Rancheros.
14. Machaca: This shredded dried beef dish is generally made of seasoned dried beef. It can be served in various ways like as filling for burritos or tacos, or with eggs, pepper and onions, but always with flour tortillas.
15. Pozole de Pollo o Guajolote: The soup is made from shredded chicken or turkey, and hominy then flavored with green chilies and tomatillos.
16. Discada (Plow disc BBQ): It is a dish full of mixed meat consisting of grilled on a disk harrow, as the name suggests. The meats are beef, ham, bacon, sausage, and chorizo (pork sausage). They are seasoned and aromatized with onions, bell peppers, garlic, lime juice, olive, and tomatoes.
17. Frijoles Puercos (Fried Beans): This traditional dish is made of blended pig beans boiled with olives, Monterey jack cheese, ranchera sauce, chorizo, and chili.
18. Esquites (Corn Stew): This Mexican snack is made of corn grains that are firstly boiled, then sauteed with butter, onions, chili, epazote herb, and salt. This popular street food is served in cups and topped with chile powder, lime juice, mayonnaise, and salt.
19. Pipián: It is a sauce also called green mole, made with tomatillos and peppers such as jalapeno, serrano, and poblano and with pumpkin and sesame seeds. It could be served with pork carnitas, roasted poultry, and veggies.
20. Pescado Zarandeado: This stirred fish table is made with seasoned and smoked fish. The seasonings are chili and lemon. The dish is also served with crisp greens and lime.
21. Ceviche: An appetizer made of raw, spiced seafood cured in lemon or lime juice. Aji and chili are the spices used in this dish in addition to onions and coriander herb.
22. Camarones a la Diabla: This seafood dish is made of large shrimp cooked with chilies, making it super spicy!
23. Tlayuda: Tlayuda is one of the popular dishes in south Mexico, made of a large corn tortilla with lard, beans, dried pork, cheese, and chorizo. İt is topped with sliced tomato, avocado, and chili.
24. Flautas (Flutes): It is a type of taco made with rolled corn tortillas. It is stuffed with cheese, chicken, and mashed potato, fried in oil, and topped with cheese, tomato, coriander, and sour cream.
25. Caldo Azteca: This Aztecsoup is a traditional dish made from fried tortilla strips with chicken broth, pepper, tomato, garlic, and onion. Cheese, avocado, and sour cream are the toppings.
Celebrations with Traditional Mexican Food
Celebrations have a great space in Mexican cuisine. When Christianity entered Mexico with the Spain invasion, Christian holidays became big celebration times, such as Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead). It is a memorial day of Mexicans dead; they visit the graves and make traditional Mexican foods. Pan de Muertos is a sweet bread in the shape of a body made for this special day.
Cinco de Mayo: In Spanish, Cinco de Mayo, meaning May 5, is a holiday celebrated every year for the win of Mexico over France at the Battle of Puebla. It became a memorial to Mexican culture and inheritance in the U.S., especially for Mexican American people. According to research, 81 million avocados are consumed at Cinco de Mayo, the busiest day for Mexican restaurants. The official meal of Cinco de Mayo is Molé Poblano, which is a sauce made from chili, nut, pumpkin seeds, and chocolate. It is usually served with turkey or chicken. And tamales used to be eaten just on holidays in history. Another celebration food is Barbacoa, which refers to roasted meat on an open fire.
Mexican cuisine deserves its fame with the cultural recipes passed through generation to generation and the use of various fantastic ingredients and flavors. Mexican cooking equipment made special for it is another exciting point in this kitchen. Whether you are a fancier of this cuisine -like most of us- or someone who wants to start a business with Mexican cuisine, you are not alone. This fantastic cuisine has many lovers not only in the U.S. but around the world. Mexican cuisine is a perfect option, whether as a light lunch, snack, or a long dinner.