Growing up with Middle Eastern food made eating in México an exercise in acceptance and tolerance. Food components are almost identical to Middle Eastern food, but the taste is worlds apart. It seems like when the Spaniards came over, they brought the ingredients but forgot the recipes 😔. There’s even a faux shawarma dish, called Tacos al Pastor. The meat is cooked in a similar fashion but the spicing is very different. If you didn’t see the typical shawarma stack of meat, you wouldn’t think there’s any connection between the two. Both are very tasty though, just different.
Most Mexican dishes have 3 or 4 ingredients mixed and matched in all possible ways, fried and given different names. You’ve got meat, beans, cheese and often corn. Let’s fry! The meat is very tasty. If I could eat fried meat every meal, I’d be in heaven. Sadly my stomach doesn’t allow that kind of indulgence any more. Mexican beans are very boring and one dimensional. Disclaimer: I grew up in Egypt where beans are a culinary art form. Beans for Egyptians are like tofu for Japanese; they’re a food group on their own. If you’ve tasted a “foul” sandwich (Fava beans) in Egypt, you would understand my heartbreak trying to eat Mexican beans. Same goes for the cheese. There’s something missing in Mexican cheese: taste.
On the plus side, creativity with corn is impressive and commendable. I just wish there was a non-messy way to use tortillas. Maybe make tortilla pockets, like Arabic bread, instead of food falling out with every bite. They have the right idea: circular, flat, more or less neutral taste, now can we somehow staple two together to make it easier to put food inside?
Given the bland taste of most dishes, it’s not surprising most Mexicans drown their food in super spicy salsas. Sadly, again, my stomach doesn’t accept that kind of abuse anymore and I constantly have to request non spicy sauces.
On the other hand, I tip my hat to the following dishes: mole, ceviche, tamales and pozole. Which I believe are native American in origin. They are unique, creative and delicious! Sadly, they’re not as readily available as the meat, beans and cheese dishes which are everywhere. Also, the tropical fruit! Oh, “where do I begin, to tell the story of how great the fruit can be?”* Whether you eat or drink them, as “agua de frutas”, they’re delicious! The mangoes and the guavas would have aroma contests in my room. One corner smells like mangoes and the other like guavas. Even though they’re in the same dish. In México, unlike the USA, they breed fruit for taste, not looks. What a concept!
* Adapted from Andy Williams song from the 70s movie “Love Story”
#food #mexicanfood #mexico #travel #travelblog #culinaryadventure #tacos #tortilla #meat #beans #tropicalfruit #mango #guava #comidamexicana