One of the best advantages of living luxury in Mexico are its exotic Mexican dishes. Mexico’s splendid and diverse food heritage predates thousands of years old traditional European cuisine. Experts from around the world recognize that the country has not only archaeological evidence but also sophisticated flavors to prove it.
In fact, in 2010, UNESCO recognized Mexican cuisine as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Mankind, deserving of the highest recognition and efforts for preservation, alongside other ancient and irreplaceable arts. From every corner of the country come dishes that you won’t want to miss.
According to the legendary chef Anthony Bourdain, “Like Lyon is to France, Oaxaca is to Mexico.” Oaxaca is famous for its broad array of spices and produce. Popular local menu items include mezcal, moles, and tlayudas.
To start with, there are several traditional versions of mole of all different colors and intensities around Mexico. They take hours, if not days, of intricate work to create, so be sure not to miss local moles at any Mexican destination. Therefore, one favorite–and famous–Oaxacan mole that you won’t want to miss is mole negro.
Like most moles, its complex recipe contains about 20 ingredients. Especially, Mole negro. It has chocolate, dried black chilis, and warming spices such as cinnamon and cloves. It is an inky black color and served over many foods, including meats, tacos, and vegetables.
Tlayudas are extra-large, thin tortillas. Oaxaca’s classic tlayudas are topped with refried beans, cheese, and meat.
Center of Mexico
Plural for chapulin, are grasshoppers that people from certain areas in center of Mexico eat as treats. The term derives from the Nahuatl word chapolimeh. They are toasted on a comal, a smooth, flat griddle that many Mexicans still use to cook. Often they are seasoned with garlic, lime juice, chilies and/or salt. To tell the truth, I was reluctant to try them. However once I did, I cannot stop eating them.
Mole de Olla
Other Mexican exotic dishes that are a must-try from the center of Mexico is the spicy mole de olla. Mole de Olla has its origins in pre-Hispanic Mexico. It is a delicious beef broth with a mixture of different kinds of chilies, meat, and vegetables.
Tacos al Pastor
Tacos al Pastor are the iconic tacos of Mexico City. A small, handmade corn soft tortilla with pork, chopped onions, cilantro, salsa, a dash of lime juice, and set off with a pineapple slice. The pork is marinated on a huge, vertical split, like the shawarma of the ancient Ottoman Empire, revealing the dish’s connection to the Lebanese immigrants of the 19th century.
Chiles en nogada
The legend goes that this dish was invented by nuns in Puebla, Mexico in 1821. It was made to present to the visiting Mexican Army General Agustin de Iturbide. He was involved in a decisive battle to gain control of Mexico City and win the Mexican War of Independence.
The recipe of the chiles en nogada includes a poblano chile, and the filling can be pork or beef, accompanied by tomato, onion, garlic, seasonal fruits, walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, and various spices. A sauce made of walnuts with a garniture of parsley and pomegranate tops it.
When serving this dish, you can appreciate the Mexican flag’s colors.
Yucatan Peninsula Exotic Mexican Dishes
This Yucatecan dish consists of a Dutch cheese (Edam) stuffed with minced pork, dipped in tomato sauce and a regional sauce called kool. It is the main course of an elegant traditional meal.
This specialty is one of the exotic Mexican dishes that the states of the Yucatan Peninsula share. It is customary to remove the lid from the cheeses and eat them during the year until they are empty.
Once they hollow out the cheese, they fill them and eat in special occasions. During the year, family members can eat as much cheese as they want when they are hungry or pass by the kitchen, but never cut the ball, as they take the crust of the cheese to refill it.
Along the Riviera Maya, you’ll enjoy not only the freshest ocean delights, such as scallops, sea urchins, sea snail, and octopus. You can also experience ceviche’s light, fresh, and intense nature.
Ceviche typically includes fresh cilantro, onions, and peppers, chopped and mixed with the key ingredient – fresh, raw seafood diced and “cooked” with lime juice. It is a perfect light yet filling meal on a hot, tropical day at the beach.
North of Mexico
It is originally from Sinaloa, a state whose main border is the Mexican Pacific coast. This dish is famous for its spiciness due to the type of chili used to prepare it.
Basically, it is a broth made with round and small fruits that are left to dry and marinate along with chiltepin chiles so that they absorb their characteristic flavor and spiciness. Its main ingredients are shrimp, onion, cucumber, lemon, water, and, of course, chili.
However, there are three different types, depending on the region. First is the traditional from Sinaloa; second is the mestizo with more water, salt, and pepper. Finally, the contemporary is a mix of different ingredients and colors, and you can enjoy it in any region of Mexico.
Cabrito al pastor
A classic of Nuevo Leon state cuisine. They prepare it with kids (baby goats) that are no more than 30 or 40 days old. The kid is fed only with goat’s milk so that its meat is tender and melts in the mouth. A dish that you cannot miss in Monterrey, Nuevo León.
Chilaquiles are a similar delicious and hearty breakfast. They consist of fried tortillas in red or green salsa. Additionally, they are topped with onions and coriander and a Mexican version of sour cream, which is softer in flavor. Finally, to the side they usually serve refried beans.
Sometimes after wedding parties, there is a tornaboda. It is a meal to enjoy at weddings, most commonly when the wedding extends to the early morning. Thus, it usually consists of chilaquiles, tamales or something spicy to ease the pain of a hangover.
“Chilaquiles” refers to chilis and greens in the Nahuatl language.
Perhaps Mexico’s most unusual native fruit is zapote negro. This dark, drab-looking fruit is a type of persimmon. It is soft when ripe and about the size of a peach. When you cut one open, you scoop out the seeds and mix the flesh with orange juice to eat it. The meat is nearly black, custard-like, and intensely sweet.
Also, another unique, enjoyable fruit in Mexico is mamey fruit. Its skin is fuzzy brown, and its edible flesh an intense orange. Its flesh is also sweet, and people often descibe it as something between a sweet potato and an apricot.
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