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What I ate in Mexico
Posted by: HoboSylvain | 2014-03-31 19:52:03 | Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Keywords: food, summary
I love Mexican food in general, with very few exceptions. I always eaten spicy (onions and peppers, not garlic)... so I felt right at home in Mexico, as if I had been a Mexican in a previous life! Of course, the real food Mexican eats has little to do with what people North of the Rio Grande know of Mexican cuisine. Most of what we think is Mexican food is actually Tex-Mex, a mix of Mexican original recipes but adapted to the American taste buds and often tailor-made for fast-food service. The best example of that is that the restaurants KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell all belong to the same holding and you'll find plenty of the fried chicken and pizza outlets all over Mexico... but I never saw the other one!

I'm curious by nature and I always like to try new things. That's why I tried about everything in Mexico. Due to budget limitations, I rarely go into restaurants and usually eat street food or buy things at the grocery stores. In the grocery stores, I was intrigued by many differences I've noticed. The most surprising for me is the milk, which is almost exclusively available only in UHT containers, not fresh.

An aisle of UHT milk in a grocery store.

I've explored many staples of the Mexican cuisine in more details, beginning with the omnipresent tortilla. I've compared tortas and lonches in a delicious sandwich contest. The tacos and the tamales complete what the Mexicans refer to their vitamin T (Tacos, Tortas, Tamales). While I was in the town of Puebla, I had to try out the famous mole. Another regional product I discovered with another angle is the vanilla while I was in Papantla, learning it's a Mexican plant.

Mexicans also love street snacks, that are not really a meal but a nice hole filler between meals. One of the most common found is the Dori-lokos (the spelling varies from one region to the other). Corn is still very important in all aspects of Mexican cuisine, including the snacks... with the elotes and esquites as well as their Morelia cousin... the gaspacho.

There are only a handful of non-Mexican food you'll find in Mexico (except in very large cities or in American colonized small towns). The one that is present everywhere is Chinese. It's fascinating to see how many Chinese restaurants there are in Mexico. The other main foreign food you'll encounter is the pizza, more liberal in the North and much more conservative in the South in terms of toppings. Sometimes, they also prepare a common North-American dish like BBQ chicken with a new twist, preparing it almost like done in Portugal.

To wash all this down, I explored all the Mexican icy waters (aguas frescas). I must have tried a dozen variety or so... and there are only two I really don't like... while about 6 I can't never get enough of. I also had to try the drink Mexico is known for: the tequila. But what better place to try it than in the city of Tequila, visiting a distillery in the middle of blue agave fields?

Chicken with the famous mole poblano (from Puebla).

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