It is unthinkable and practically impossible to make a list of Mexico´s traditional food without ending up writing dish after dish of the most diverse and peculiar recipes that tourists have the pleasure of sampling. A fusion of Mesoamerican and European cooking, it is one of the national cuisines that have most influenced the different styles of cooking around the world and it has also been influenced by others, such as the Spanish, African, Middle-Eastern and Asian gastronomy. It is one of the greatest cultural representations of the country, long before the Spanish conquest. It was not recognized as Intangible heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2010 for nothing. You can only ask for one more thing: to try it.
Diversity is the essence of this cuisine, which goes far beyond tortitas, tacos, guacamole and beans. Almost every Mexican state has its own cookbook featuring its own traditions and there is no town in the country that does not have one or several specialties that would leave many gourmets licking their fingers, some of them of recognized prestige and age-old creation. Such is the case with the Yucutan cochinita pibil, a slow-roasted pork dish with a pre-Hispanic condiment called achiote, orange juice and spices; the mole sauce from Puebla, the most symbolic of Mexican cuisine, or the black sauce of Oaxaca, considered one of the best; or even the cabrito asado (roasted goat) of Nuevo León, served with flour tortillas and accompanied with a good guacamole and frijoles charros (cowboy beans). We must not forget the typical pozole (corn stew) of Guerrero either, a ritual food which became a broth of cooked corn with pork or chicken, to which lettuce, radish, onion, oregano, lemon and a touch of spicy chili are added. We could complete the list with Campeche pan de cazón (rock-salmon bread), Michoacán corundas (similar to tamales), Sinaloa, Sonora and Chihuahua menudos (soups) and the unbeatable tacos al pastor (tacos with spit-grilled meat) which are made throughout the country with hardly any differences between the regions. In any of these dishes, however, you will find two or three, if not four, of the basic ingredients of Mexican cuisine: corn in all its possible uses, chili, beans and jitomate (fresh Mexican tomato), also in any of its uses.
But, in addition to the food, drinks are one of the elements that make Mexico and its gastronomy a place for all palates, from the most refined to those that eat everything with everything. Mezcal and tequila, now widespread across the world and available in many variations, join tepache, a drink formerly made with corn and now with pineapple skin and various additional ingredients. To these, we must add the rapid growth of Mexican beers beyond the country’s borders and a huge tradition in wine production, particularly in Baja California, Querétaro and Coahuila.
For the most daring: If you are always seeking experiences, you cannot miss some of the culinary specialties made with cooked and seasoned insects. The most popular are chinicuiles (butterfly larvae), mezcal worms, Atta ants, chapùlines (grasshopper), jumiles (stink bugs) and escamoles (ant larvae, considered the caviar of Mexico). Not for the faint hearted!
“The hotels of IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts in Mexico are located in spectacular zones to bring guests closer to all the country’s attributes: they are situated just a stone’s throw from the beaches, surrounded by nature and within reach of the most important archaeological sites.”