I'm finally getting around to doing a food post from Mexico, two weeks after I got back home. I got a ton of questions like "is the food good" and "have you eaten a lot of tacos", and now as I'm hungry at home, I decided it's time to talk about the foods I had the pleasure of devouring in Mexico.
"I'm surprised you haven't gotten a food poisoning, you've already been here three days! All Europeans get sick when they visit Mexico."
People, myself included, are often concerned about getting food poisoning when travelling, especially outside of western countries. In Finland, I can pretty much eat from the floor without getting sick, but flying half across the world, the bacterias are different from what my stomach is possibly used to. I was a bit concerned of course, because it would suck getting sick, but I didn't even take any probiotics as a means of protecting my stomach.
There are a lot of tips and warnings on the internet regarding food safety in Mexico and in general when travelling, some quite ridiculous, but other than not drinking the water from the tab, or eating from the small food stalls on the street, I didn't avoid anything. I ate meat from the buffet, salad, pre-cut fruits, drank soda from the can, and had ice in my cocktails, and I was fine the whole three week trip.
Unsurprisingly, the food in Mexico is amazing, and compared to Finland, dirt cheap! You don't have to go looking for a place to eat for too long, there are restaurants everywhere and every single one I tried, had great food. I tried to pick traditional foods and what Mexicans actually eat for this post, and not confuse real Mexican food with the Tex Mex type that is so often served in Western countries.
Tacos, tostadas and quesadillas. And more tacos!
Some variety of tortilla, topped or filled with meat and a few secondary ingredients like cheese and onions, drench in lime juice and season with spicy salsa, that is what all of these are, and they are delicious. I love tacos because you can pick and choose different fillings and easily snack on three different ones for your meal. The combination of meat, lime juice, cilantro, onion and spicy salsa is fresh and tasty. One noteworthy food to mention, which I don't have a picture of, was a quesadilla filled with cheese and cactus, which I stole from @zlatan-spielberg's plate on my last day. It was really interesting, pretty mild, kinda had the look and texture of a green bell pepper.
If you want a whole meal out of tacos/quesadillas, you eat them with rice, beans and a salad, but I often opted to just eat a ton of tacos by themselves. I ate tacos almost every day in Mexico, and never grew tired of them.
There is a great variety of different kinds of tacos made with pork, beef and chicken, but I think my favourite was tacos al pastor, the preparation showed in the two pictures above. The pork meat is seasoned, stacked on a skewer and cooked on a vertical rotisserie. As the meet cooks from the outside, it's shaved off and served. On every place I had it, it was very fresh because you could see one person cutting the meat non stop as it rotates and orders flying out at a rapid pace.
Chiles, aniseed, peppercorns, cinnamon, clove, thyme, ten other spices, chicken stock, and dark chocolate. Mole poblano is one the most known foods in Mexico, an ancient dish, and it originates from Puebla. It's a dark, rich sauce, often served with chicken and rice, and surprisingly, doesn't much taste of chocolate. The huge variety of spices gives it a very interesting and complex taste, quite christmassy in my opinion because of spices like cinnamon and clove.
While most of my meals in Mexico consisted of some sort of tacos, I had other food too. The dish above, which name I can't remember, was the only one I didn't like in Mexico. It had a tortilla underneath, topped with some sort of tomato salsa and fried eggs, the whole thing was just a soggy mess that I did not enjoy.
That is the dish in the middle, consisting of tortilla chips, red sauce and pulled chicken, topped with cheese and crema. The dish in front of me is just eggs, ham, rice and beans, which for my knowledge, is a pretty typical breakfast for Mexicans.
Say that three times fast, or try to even say it right once. Caldo tlalpeño is a traditional Mexican soup that is made with spicy chicken broth and has chicken, avocado, cheese cubes, veggies and tortilla chips. I'm sure it varies depending on where in Mexico you are, but where ever it is, I highly recommend tasting it. I really like soup but I was surprised that I liked having tortilla chips in it, but I think that was because they were pretty thick and I ate fast.
I once answered the phone by saying "I'll call you back once I've eaten my cereal, I don't want them to get soggy in the milk."
Where in western world restaurant tables often have ketchup, mustard, salt and pepper, Mexican ones have limes, variety of spicy salsas and sometimes pico de gallo and guacamole. I definitely prefer the Mexican variety of condiments for seasoning my food. I like having the option to mix and match and season a plate full of tacos differently. It's also great that the dishes itself are not super spicy, and you can add hotness to your food by your own preference with the salsa.
Food is something I'm probably gonna miss the most from Mexico, along with the weather in Yucatan peninsula.