Sunday, October 9, 2016

This post is all about... FOOD! MEXICAN FOOD!

Todo el mundo le encanta la comida mexicana :)

Some of you have asked me about what true authentic Mexican food is like so here is my critique of the foods I have eaten so far in these past six or seven weeks here in Mexico. 

  • Tortillas- the base for practically all Mexican dishes
    • There are two main types of tortillas: corn and flour
      • Here in southern Mexico only corn flours are served and eaten here. Flour tortillas are more common in northern Mexico. Although, when I was on a work trip in the state of Mexico I was offered flour tortillas for my order which was probably a once in a blue moon kind of offer. Like in Iowa, there are numerous elote (corn) farms here.
    • To digress further there are three types of corn tortillas: white, yellow, and blue corn tortillas which are made from three different types of maza. The white and yellow ones taste the same for the most part but the blues ones have a different, slightly more earthy flavor which I like.
    • Tortillas azules
    • I think that Mexico City has terrible, bland tortillas but Tepoztlán and San Felipe del Progreso have more flavorful tortillas, which is probably due to the fact that there are many elote farms located on the outskirts of those towns.

  • Chiles! Peppers! Salsa! The ketchup and mustard of Mexico if you will.
    • There are red chiles and there are green chiles.
    • I have found salsas made from green chiles to be more flavorful and more rich than red chile salsas unless you're talking about salsa de chipotle. Now that is the richest salsa of them all in my opinion because it has a similar flavor to tomato based barbecue sauce which I am a fan of. 
    • I have eaten poblano chiles, habanero chiles, serrano chiles, other green chiles, cayenne peppers, other little red peppers, manzano peppers, and of course jalapeno peppers. Poblano chiles are the chiles that are used to make chile relleno (stuffed chiles) but they don't have very much heat; however, when you roast them it surely does smell like something is on fire! My host family has three manzano pepper plants so we eat a lot of salsa made from them in our household. They have a very strong and fiery flavor so it's best to pair them with meaty and maza based dishes like tamales.
    • Chile manzano
    • Tamales with green salsa are the best tamales in my opinion.

  • Desayuno- anything is game for breakfast food
    • Chilaquiles- fried tortilla chips with salsa, queso oaxaqueña, and refried beans; very common breakfast dish
    • Soft tacos of chile relleno, breaded chicken or fish, arroz, and salsa are typical restaurant breakfast dishes. Must be eaten with sweetened coffee!
    • Tamales (red or green) and coffee make a very rich breakfast combination.
    • Eggs and chorizo (Mexican sausage) is also a very common breakfast food. 
    • Chile rellenos by themselves are a very good breakfast.
    • Quesadillas (de
      queso) and fruit make a very healthy desayuno.
    • Hotcakes aren't just an American breakfast food... they are indeed a common Mexican breakfast food as well! Here they are served with jam or marmalade.
    • Chilaquiles (They're not nachos!)

  • Almuerzo (or comida as they call it here)- the biggest meal of the day
    • Tortilla plays a part in every almuerzo.
    • Chicken, chiles rellenos, frijoles con chorizo, cecina (sun-dried salted beef or pork), fried green squash (like fried green tomatoes), pozole (an elote based soup with pork or chicken), and all types of tacos can play the main parts.
    • Some type of salsa plays the main sidekick. 
    • Jícama (a sweet relative of the potato) or cucumber with lime and salt plays the soothing part after eating all of that chile!
    • Rice also sometimes plays a small part.
  • Cena- the smallest meal of the day
    • Café con pan (coffee with bread) is the staple cena here. This is what I usually eat for dinner every night perhaps with some fruit and/or a taco/quesadilla. The bread is usually a sweet pastry type thing or it is a hearty bread baked with aromatic spices like anise and cinnamon. Galletas are also a common dinner food.
    • Molletes- toasted white baguette style bread halves that are topped with refried beans, queso blanco, and pico de gallo that are so good after a long day's work.
    • Lemongrass tea is the common tea here
    • Atole de elote- hot Mexican corn chowder if you will but sweeter, less dense, and more corn than US corn chowder
    • Arroz con leche- rice pudding flavored with sweetened milk, cinnamon and sometimes raisins
  • Botanas (snacks)
    • A very common snack are Sabritas (Lays in Mexico) flavored with dried limes and salt which are very good. Also Fritos with limón y sal served with hot sauce are common. I have tried and liked both.
    • Popcorn topped with hot sauce is also a thing here. It's very good with a michelada which is a Corona or Victoria beer served in a glass rimmed with tomato salsa.
    Image result for nopal asado
  • Nopal or Cactus, which I don't like due to its slimy oyster-like texture, is either broiled/charred or boiled with onions and garlic. Before the first time I tried it I thought I was going to eat green beans because it was cut up! I came to find out that it was this foreign green, slimy tasting stuff which has a bland flavor. It is indeed a very common vegetable eaten here that is very good for you if you can get past its slimy texture.

  • Drinks
    • Beer- I've found that the Corona here tastes like water so I prefer not to drink it and also because I typically do not like light beers, but I have found a good porter brewed by a local microbrewery of Tepoztlan that has the likings of the Sierra Nevada porter.
    • Red wine- All of the US brands of cheap deep reds can be found here for rather cheap prices.
    • Tequila- At my host brother's birthday party, I had some of the smoothest tequila I have drank to this date which is Casco Viejo.
  • If there is another food that you would like me to try, please let me know!

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