Whether you go to Mexico for its beaches or to wander its colonial towns, there’s one thing everyone will take notice of. Mexico is so gastronomically diverse, UNESCO declared it as a representative for Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2010. Besides all the Mexican essentials like tacos, pozole, quesadillas, huevos rancheros, and tamales (which are obligatory), there are other lesser known exquisite treats you must try.
Here’s a short list of a few special dishes that would be hard to find outside Mexican territory:
Torta de chilaquiles
Sure you’ve heard about chilaquiles and you’ve heard about the Mexican sandwich, the torta. But have you ever seen a chilaquiles torta? This carb-on-carb delicacy is mostly found in the country’s capital, where people also call it Guajolota (which roughly translates to “female turkey”). It makes up for a hearty, filling breakfast and a perfect start to your day.
Huitlacoche is also known as a corn mushroom or Mexican truffle. This rare ingredient is treated as a plague outside its country of origin – giving it the nickname, corn smut. Technically speaking, it is a parasite. When a corn ear is infected it overtakes it, leaving no kernel left unharmed as each turns into a delicious black-tinted mushroom. For Mexicans it’s a rainy season delicacy, and even though it can be found pickled or canned in many countries, you must try it fresh, since textures and flavors change when it’s processed. You can find it served along with corn kernels in dishes like quesadillas, pizzas, pastas and even some unique desserts.
Even though mole is a dish you may find in some of the most authentic Mexican food restaurants, the offer is usually reduced to one single option: a dark, sweet and spicy mole. The variety of moles is enormous and their flavors are complex and unique to their regions. So when in Mexico, you could venture to try a green mole, which (in most cases) is a pumpkin seed-based, green-ish, sumptuous sauce. You will usually find it paired with pork and potatoes.
You might’ve heard about seafood-based dishes like fish tacos or tostadas. But there’s another delicious way to eat Mexico’s fruit of the sea: Aguachile. This unique dish has its origins in the northern coasts of Mexico and is a perfect way to cool off during a hot sunny day. Think of it as a spicy version of ceviche, with a citrusy brine. It is mixed with fresh or dried chilies such as chiltepín, (a tiny, but incredibly hot pepper) and other vegetables. It is usually served along crispy tostadas.
What traditional Mexican dishes are your favorites?