Takes Two to Tango. So goes the same with the mouth watering, spicy, sultry Mexican recipes. It is a rich culture that Mexico has possession of, one that often lies embedded in the folds of the shadowy veils spread by its more dominating neighbours. Mexican food, a wonderful inheritance passed down to the present day Mexicans down their history, a blend of their European ancestors and natives of the red soil, do not deserve to share the same fate as everything else.
Mexican food is no longer a native word valid for use in Mexico only. Tex Mex has its influence on everything else, from burgers to fries, to pizzas to sandwiches. Nachos and Cheese is a favourite food everywhere in the world. Even those who are used to spice lemony pickles too can’t say no to fiery hot tabasco sauce, which of course is essentially named after the Mexican state of ‘Tabasco’. Tacos and burritos were too an instant favourite when the Mexican brands hit the international market. Tequila too is originally Mexican.
The common man would always confuse between a taco and a burrito, but ask a Mexican child, and he will point you out that the rough tortilla wraps made of wheat flour filled in with vegetables, cheese, seafood, meat or any other filling are the tacos, and the properly folded and enclosed cylindrical tortilla wrap with only meat or fried beans is the burrito.
Carne Asada or ‘grilled meat’ is a thin beaf steak marinated with olive oil and salt or spices like lemon and pepper or garlic salt or Worcestershire sauce before putting it in the grill. Recipes with meat vary across the whole of Mexico. In the Yucatan region, the food is known for sweetness instead of spiciness, while the Oaxacan region is famous for its savoury tamales and celebrated moles and simple tlayudas.
Street Mexican is however gaining popularity the fastest, since it’s the easiest access a common outsider as well as a native has to native food. The tacos, tortas, quesadillas, tamales, elotes, abulon, guacamole and chips, camotes, water-based ice cream, and candy; and drinks such as aguas frescas, tejuino, enchiladas, tepache, and atole are common delicacies for the insider; for an outsider it’s sheer heaven.
Once you capture the differences like a native does, you are free to let your senses run wild through the alluring platter of rich Mexican food lying before you. The fragrances of the spices are unbelievably sensual and yet down to earth, like the soil itself.
Mexico is the only descendent of Spain, which inherits its legacy in the matter of food. The raw sensuality of the Spanish rodeo arenas, the matador waving his red cape at the brazen, spitting bull razing the ground, its angry breath hissing through its nostrils, everything is brought to the mind, with one bite of the spicy Mexican food lying before you.
The points to be noted are many. Mexican food found in USA, is not real Mexican. Check. Mexico is not Spain. Check. Trip to Mexico successful to a little extent, at least you got a new insight. I at least guarantee you after you capture the spirit of Mexican cuisine, you will keep wishing you extended your stay. Probably you would come back some other time. This time, come at leisure. It is worth it.