The Latin American country of Mexico has long been coveted for its food full of character and bursting with flavours. By Shubhanjana Das
The Mexican cuisine is best experienced on the streets and the locals themselves eat from street-side stalls at least twice a week. Given that even the most humble under-umbrella or window stalls serve up a storm, we don’t quite blame them. However, make no mistake, as they don’t shy away from their spices. If you don’t know what should be on your list when exploring the Mexican fare, let us guide you through it, including both the better-known and the lesser-known offerings.
What better way to kick start the list with some good ol’ trusted Tacos, which have gone on to become synonymous with the Mexican cuisine. The traditional tacos is generously filled with tender meat and some salsa or the trusted guac. For vegetarians, mushroom, potato, beans, or cheese are the options to explore. Try the tacos al pastor, tacos envenenados and taco dorado. How to spot the best joints? Look for the longest line outside the stall. The locals know the best.
One of the most defining Mexican street food items, Tamales is traditionally made from masa (a corn dough) formed around a filling, usually wrapped in a corn husk, filled with anything ranging from chicken mole, cheese, and even fruits, which is then steamed. However, every region in the country has its own version of the tamales with some of the most popular ones including Oaxaqueño, corn tamal, dry corn leaf, deep fried tamal, and tamal torta. Usually had for breakfast, we could binge on these all day, every day.
Made with either corn or wheat tortillas, which are either grilled or deep fried, a quesadilla is something that probably all of us have tried at one point. While it generally depicts a tortilla sandwiched with melted cheese, the kind of cheese keeps varying. Give the huitlacoche quesadillas a shot, made with a corn fungus sometimes that is referred to as corn truffle in English. In Mexico City, cheese is missing in the quesadillas if not asked for especially. They are often stuffed with chicken, corn-smut, or squash blossom.
Crispy, salted tortillas with ceviche, sliced avocado, and salad, tostadas sound only half as amazing as they taste. Take a break from what often turns out to be meat-heavy dishes with this light snack served throughout the country.
5. Elotes and Esquites
Elotes is corn on the cob while esquites is the sweetcorn that entire Mexico seems to be in love with. It’s no news that the Mexican cuisine relies heavily on corn and elotes and esquites are two innovative ways in which they are served. While elotes is served whole on a stick and then smothered with cream, mayonnaise, and chilli, esquites are sweetcorn shorn from its cob. Unarguably, the more graceful way to have corn, esquites are served in cups, layered with generous amounts of cream, mayo, lime juice and chilli.
End your exploration of the Mexican cuisine on a sweet note with churros, the perfect any-time snack for those with an insatiable sweet tooth. Look out for the street stall vendors which go a step further and fill the churro with dulce de leche, chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry sauces.