Say "Mexican food" and most will think of burritos and tacos. There's much more to the country and its cuisine. Those, and other very heavy foods, are the traditional product primarily of Northern Mexico.
Just as Mexico itself is a rich and diverse culture composed of elements from the centuries, so is Mexican cuisine equally varied. Mexican food history is long and colorful. Mexican cuisine shows influences from many countries, however, Mexican food has found the way to all tables and almost in other world cuisine you can find a hint of Mexico. Not only are there regional differences, but Mexico itself is a diverse land of Aztec, Mayan and Spanish influences, with a bit of French thrown in for good measure.
The results show up in the varied dishes and drinks that all can be justly labeled as Mexican.
Think pizza and your mind wanders to Italy. But there's a traditional Mexican pizza made from corn tortillas that is not to be missed. Slice it into wedges then dip it into some salsa and you've got a fine snack.
Frijoles refritos, refried beans, are used in a wide number of Mexican dishes. Beef, chicken and pork dishes are everywhere in Mexican cuisine. They provide protein and great taste. But there are an equal number of much lighter dishes that have never seen a bean. Ostiones (oysters), ceviche (raw fish marinated in citrus fruits) and many other types of seafood are traditional Mexican servings.
Cheeses are as popular in Mexico's dishes as it is in French cooking. And the cheeses of Mexico are not just derivatives from their distant European rivals. Chiapas may resemble feta, but it is a pure example of Mexican expertise in cheese. Criollo may look and taste similar to Muenster, but no German stuck into the country to produce this outstanding native product.
Desserts, as they are anywhere else, are highly popular south of the border. Flan, a kind of caramel custard, is the classic example, but there are many others. Just as one example, take ensaimadas. A sweet bread made from egg, milk and sugar that resembles French pastry, it has a distinctive flavor all its own.
Food, of course, isn't the only consumable product of this rich land. There are more native Mexican beverages than you could sample in a summer.
Rompope is a rum-flavored Mexican liqueur that will be welcome in any room that enjoys a fine Irish cream. Everyone has heard of the famed margarita, but make one with a superb Mexican Controy and your guests will never forget you. And a Michelada, a Mexican cerveza with tabasco, soy sauce and Worcestershire will add zing to any party.
But alcoholic drinks don't come anywhere close to exhausting the options. Horchata, a traditional milk drink, will help sooth the stomach after all that booze. And Aqua de fresca made from a variety of fruit juices is an ever popular addition to the Mexican table at any time.
Whatever your dining style and preference you'll find a Mexican-style dish to suit. Whether you prefer to eat out or prepare your own, the choices are limitless.
Mexican food traditions
Try Cinco de Mayo food because you don't need to be Mexican to love Cinco de Mayo. Here are some traditional foods to have at your fiesta.
El Dia de los Muertos is when Mexico celebrates the day of the dead. Contrary to what it might seem, It is not a sad day; el Día de los Muertos brings joy, gifts and candy to share with friends and family.