The first thought that comes to our mind after hearing the words “Mexican food” is loads of bold flavors, an intense variety of spices, and colorful food servings. Tacos, burritos, salsas, and guacamole have become the top favorite cuisines worldwide despite their immediate relevance with the unique Mexican culture.
However, there’s so much more to their food culture than these ever-famous dishes. Here are some of the most interesting, fun facts about Mexican food that you may not know about!
Veggies and Fruits First, Meat Later
Most people imagine lots of spice, rice, meat, and refried beans when they go to an authentic Mexican restaurant. However, Mexico’s cuisine is made with healthy ingredients, like vegetables and fruits.
Most of the regular traditional Mexican foods include chili peppers, corn, and beans, rather than chicken and meat. Moreover, you may also find yourself indulging in several unique veggies, like cactus, chayote, and quintonil when visiting a Mexican restaurant. Fruits like mangoes, pomegranates, and jackfruit are also some of the key ingredients in several Mexican dishes.
Different Region, Different Food Cultures
While fruits and vegetables are among the top ingredients in all Mexican cuisines, not every region in Mexico serves the same kind of food. Residents in the northern area lean towards a meat-based diet, and the people in the southern part enjoy chicken-based food.
However, both meat and chicken aren’t used as Mexican recipes’ main ingredients. Instead, they are used as a suitable relish to enhance the food’s taste.
Origin of Caesar Salad
Caesar salad is often considered a must-have with steak and baked potato. The salad was conceived by Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant, in 1924. He owned a restaurant named Caesar’s in Tijuana during the prohibition era and wanted to get more patrons to visit his eatery despite the restrictions.
Over the fourth of July weekend that year, Caesar was short on ingredients. Hence, he decided to make something with what he had — romaine, croutons, garlic, eggs, Worcester sauce, parmesan cheese, and olive oil. This last-minute thinking on Ceasar’s part resulted in the invention of this salad!
The History of Nachos
Known around the world as a side and a snack, ‘Nacho’ is used as an endearing nickname within Mexico. So, how did the Nachos we know and love to eat got their name?
The story is similar to Caesar Salad. Ignacio Anaya Garcia, who also had the nickname Nacho, was a restaurateur entertaining the wives of some American soldiers at his restaurant in Piedras Negras. Ignacio fried some tortillas and served them with jalapeno peppers and grated cheese on top.
He called the dish ‘Nachos especiales.’ Rest assured, his snack dish was a success that only got more attention with time, further included in several Mexican food chain’s menus.
Where Tomatoes Were First Grown
Italy may take the title for making the best pasta sauces in the world, but they can’t claim tomatoes as their natural fruit. History proves that when the Spanish conquered Mexico back in the 16th century, they discovered that Aztecs generously used tomatoes in their cooking. Their seeds were brought over to Spain afterward.
World Heritage Cuisine
It might come to you as a surprise that UNESCO recognizes only three International cuisines in the world, declaring them worthy of being included in its intangible heritage lists. Mexican food is one of the three on the list, with the other two cuisines being French and Mediterranean.
Selection of Unique Ingredients
The things most of us find weird in our food culture, Mexicans find them the epitome of sumptuous cuisines. For example, several Mexican foods include grasshoppers as their primary ingredient. In some instances, ant larvae and worms are also added to tacos.
Furthermore, Mexicans love adding flowers to their cuisines. For instance, pumpkin flowers are a common additive in soups, and yucca flowers are used for making stew. That’s not all! Mexicans prefer to use veggies in place of meat, replacing it with meaty cactus because its taste comes closer to cooked meat and chicken.
Perfection Combination of Carbs and Protein
Authentic Mexican food is relatively healthier than you may think. Most Mexican cuisines are high in vitamins and minerals, while the ratio of fat and carbs is significantly low. Several diet programs encourage indulging in Mexican foods for promoting good health, as they consider them the perfect blend of all the essential ingredients, including fruits, vegetables, dairy, and meat.
Mexican Cuisines Waste Nothing
Traditional Mexican cuisines waste almost nothing. For example, you would find a different dish for practically every part of the cow’s meat, including rarer cuts like stomach, udder, tongue, and even testicles and uterus.
The Number One Ingredient
While almost every Mexican dish includes fruits and vegetables, the number one ingredient for Mexican recipes isn’t one of them. In reality, chili pepper is the most-used cooking ingredient, as it’s not just added in all savory dishes but also a handful of Mexican sweet desserts.
Tacos – The Lunch Food
Did you know? The meaning of the word ‘taco’ comes close to “light lunch.” While we have turned tacos into an all-time dish, history suggests that tacos were initially supposed to be eaten at lunch. Moreover, the only time you could have tacos at dinner was when you were eating antojitos, commonly known as street tacos.
According to another tradition, only tacos with seafood filling are meant to be eaten for lunch, while street tacos are for eating in the late afternoon or for dinner.
A Diverse Variety of Mole
The term ‘mole’ is associated with traditional Mexican sauces. While several people think there is only one kind of mole made from chocolate and cinnamon, the truth is far from this long-standing myth. Mole can be made from a variety of different ingredients.
Most Mexican mole recipes indeed include sweet kitchen elements. However, there is a whole other range of moles made from zesty spices and chili peppers.
No Such Thing as ‘Picky’ When It Comes to Tortillas
The only rule to remember when making a traditional Mexican tortilla is that there are no rules. Mexican dishes are usually dressed with a range of ingredients, like vegetables, fruits, pork, shrimp, meat, seafood, chicken, barbecued beef, cream, and even insects. You can put whatever you like on your tortilla, and this would not make it a less authentic Mexican dish.
Some Mexicans even add grasshoppers, eggs, tripe, and Korean sauce to their tortilla to match their personal preferences. Tacos can be sweet too with its tortilla filled with fruits and ice cream.
Churros Are Greater Than Doughnuts in Mexico
We can’t possibly forget about churros when talking about fun facts related to Mexican foods! Churros are considered ‘Spanish doughnuts’ and are significantly more prevalent in Mexico than the hole-in-the-center doughnuts that we’re used to. Initially, the sweet dish was introduced in the size of a normal breadstick.
However, they have turned quite smaller with time, which is a relief for our waistlines because you can’t stop your hands once you dip these fried and sugar-dipped sticks in caramel cream.
Our Final Verdict
From tacos and churros to tortillas, you can’t go wrong with the ever-delicious Mexican foods! We hope you enjoyed learning about these fun facts as much as you relish indulging in your favorite Mexican cuisines.