We all think we are pretty familiar with Mexican food, with chain restaurants situated all over the world offering up their versions of Mexican classics there aren’t many of us that haven’t enjoyed a Mexican meal.
However much you enjoy the Mexican classics offered up over here they are nothing compared with traditional authentic dishes prepared and served in Mexico itself, in fact even your favourite dishes that you have had at home hundreds of times will feel entirely new to you when eating them here.
Here is a roundup of 5 of the top Mexican dishes best enjoyed in the heat of the country they originated from:
Most of us are fairly familiar with the taco, it’s become a family favourite in the UK with readymade packs available in every supermarket allowing you to just add the fresh ingredients and you have yourself a delicious meal. But a taco in Mexico is like none that you have experienced out of a box, the best way to enjoy this classic is at a stall on the street like the locals do. The cook expertly carves the meat off a spit, usually beef or chicken and piles it into a warm fresh corn tortilla which are then expertly folded into half moon shapes. The taco is then flavoured with guacamole; fresh coriander leaves (cilantro) and a little chilli sauce to taste.
Mole is a traditional Mexican sauce commonly used at dishes made for celebrations and large gatherings of family and friends. Although chilli peppers are the common factor in all of the variants of this popular sauce, the element that sets the mole apart from other chilli sauces is that it also features chocolate! The sauce features in many dishes including what is sometimes referred to as the national dish Mole Pablono, served over meat, typically turkey it is a favourite at birthday parties, weddings and baptisms. If you are lucky enough to enjoy mole at such a gathering you are experiencing Mexican cuisine at its most authentic.
An enchilada is a tortilla wrap filled with a variety of ingredients and topped with a chilli sauce (sometimes mole) the fillings can include a variety of meats or seafood, cheese, beans, potatoes and vegetables. Once the tortilla wrap has been filled with your choice of ingredients, the enchilada is usually baked with cheese over the top and the chilli sauce is added later, if the sauce is a little hot for you many add sour cream to lessen the chilli’s effects so don’t worry if you can’t stand the heat!
Tamale is a traditional dish made from masa (a starchy corn based dough) which is steamed or boiled in a plantain leaf, the dough is filled with a variety of different flavours including meats, fish, vegetables, cheese and spices. Tamales are said to be as varied as the sandwich in Mexico so you can get pretty much any flavour combination you can think of. Regarded as a comfort food in Mexico, tamales can be enjoyed for breakfast or lunch and are designed to keep you full for as long as possible. The most common fillings are pork and chicken with either red or green salsa or mole, if you want to try a sweet alternative, a tamal del dulche containing raisins and other dried fruits and made by adding pink coloured sugar to the corn mix is available.
For those with a sweet tooth you have to try Cajeta, the thickened syrup made from sweetened caramelised milk is a favourite in Mexico. Sometimes known as dulche de leche the syrup is poured over pastries particularly the Spanish favourite churros, used as a spread for sweet breads and as a topping on crepes and ice creams. In 2010 Cajeta was named the ‘Dessert of Mexico’ if thats not reason enough to try this delicious sweet treat whilst visiting Mexico I’m not sure what is!
If you like the sound of these delicious dishes, why not make your next holiday destination Mexico so you can experience them at their best. Before you jet off though, don’t forget to look for cheap holiday insurance to give you the peace of mind that’s so valuable when taking a well earned break from the 9-5 lifestyle.