- Posted February 7, 2013 by
As colorful as their costumes, Mexican food is a platter of many colors. The taste isn’t boring either. There’s tang and spice and a bit of kick. Even the simple and popular taco isn’t boring. Bite into crisp and crunch corn taco shell, it won’t end there but give the eater another crunch from lettuce and tomatoes plus juicy, spicy ground beef topped with cheese and salsa. Plain nachos are drizzled not only with salsa but cheese and sometimes topped with jalapeno and ground beef.
Mexican food staples are usually corns and beans. Corn is used as the main ingredient in tortilla, taco shells, and masa, or eaten on the cob. Beans are used in popular dishes like burritos or soup. It’s sometimes used as a main ingredient in nacho dip. Jalapeno peppers give their dishes a bit of a kick and are included tacos, quesadillas, and other popular dishes. Smoke dry the jalapeno pepper and it’s called chipotle, a popular spice along with cilantro, chili, and oregano, which gives Mexican food its characteristic taste, with a kick like a shot of tequila.
With Mexico’s large size, history, local climate, and ethnic differences, Mexican food varies per region. In fact Mexican cuisine is considered one of the largest in the world. It has a lot of Spanish influence as it was once a colony of Spain. Spain brought olive oil, meats, wine, almonds, and parsley. Rice, one of the most common grains, was brought by Spaniards.
Tacos, quesadillas, tortas, and tamales are popular dishes in Mexico, and those are the street food bought from vendors. There’s also a dish called carne asada, which consists of beef steak marinated with olive oil and sea salt, or in some recipes, have the addition of lemon and pepper before cooking on a grill. Some local villages have quite unusual sources of meat using exotic meats like rattlesnake, iguana, deer, and some other insects.
For the sweet tooth, bite into some chocolate as this very popular sweet has played an important role in Mexican cuisine. Did you know that aside from being sweet food, chocolate was once used as currency for trading and for religious rituals? Chocolate was once a drink, bitter and frothy called xocatl. This drink is sometimes flavored with vanilla or chili. Chili chocolate has been an interesting drink to try and is still served at some coffee shops today. Chocolate uses have evolved not only to hot drinks but as ingredients to meals.
Globalization takes part in the constant evolution of Mexican dishes. Some of these dishes have carried over to other parts of the globe. Tex-Mex cuisine, for example, fuses Mexican cooking with ingredients available in the US and this gave birth to many restaurants serving fajitas, chili con carne (a hearty bowl of meat and beans), and taco salads. This colorful cuisine continues to evolve throughout the years putting in more colors and flavors to their story.