Food guides worldwide know what I’m talking about; after all, Mexican food is as complex as any other great cuisine out there, be it Indian, Chinese, French, or Italian. Mexican food reaches beyond what Taco Bell has to offer, and although the basic staples remain native foods such as corn, beans and chili peppers, Europeans introduced a large number of other foods (namely meat) in the 16th Century that helped add an unbeatable dimension to the country’s cooking. And now we can’t get enough of it; it’s just too darn delicious.
But beyond what food guides from California to France will teach you about Mexican cuisine (and, yes, they do have Mexican restaurants in France, all be they rare), there are other fascinating aspects of Mexico’s food culture. For example, heritage-history tour guides will explain that cooking for the family has always been considered women’s work and that girls are not eligible to marry until they’ve learned to cook. Guides in Mexico will also explain that unlike many Western countries where the evening meal is the main meal of the day, in Mexico, lunch is the time when the most food is consumed. Typically the meal begins with soup (often chicken broth with pasta), and proceeds to a main course of sauce-coated meat accompanied by salsa, beans, tortillas, and a fruit drink on the side. In the evening, it’s common to eat leftovers, or simply sweet bread with coffee or chocolate.
If you’re now wondering where you can find the best food in Mexico, you can rest assured I’ve got the answer for you: the streets. Yep, the streets! Guides who lead street art tours are familiar with how vibrant and crafty the streets can be, and Mexico’s street food lives up to their highest expectations. The most popular of Mexico’s street food is the taco, a dish that is based on the pre-Hispanic custom of picking up other foods with tortillas since utensils were not used.
To gain a comprehensive understanding of what real Mexican food is, simply enjoy the following one-minute-long video. But once you’ve given your eyes a taste of the country’s colorful cuisine, be sure to hire a guide in Mexico who will let your tastebuds share in the goodness too.