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Specialities of gastronomy
 Page updated on 03.10.2015
 
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A lot of specialities

Every State has its specific savors : the tropical coast is rich in fish and seafood; the hot land is rich in fruits and vegetables.

The gastronomic adventurous will see the content of their plates depends a lot upon the region where they are in this country with multiple climates, every state produces different ingredients and has its own specific gastronomy.
Here are some famous and interesting examples.


CAMPECHE
Among the large diversity of their cooking, we can note the fish dishes: bread, panuchos, empanadas, tamales and tacos de cazón, the pámpano en escabèche, the cold crab legs and the delicious papaché, bred in the mangroves. There are different recipes of octopus, calamari and divers fish. In summer time, you can find moro crab, prepared in many ways and considered by many as the “king of seafood”. The shrimps of Campeche are the best and the most popular in the country. You can choose various dishes made with any kind of shrimps from the giant ones to the very small called "siete barbas".

GUADALAJARA
Guadalajara is often considered the most Mexican among all the other cities because it incarnates the mestizaje (mixture of Spanish and Indian bloods) – At least it is true for the food traditions. To make the pozole, combine together dry corn and meat, bring to a boil and simmer. The birria is a spiced and smoked lamb barbacoa, then steamed and served with a stock.

GUERRERO
In this State, on the western coast of Mexico, a faraway link with China gave to the local cuisine a very artistic touch in the use of spices. This State is known for his big variety of fish. You need to taste fresh shrimps with chiles quajillos (prepared with a tomato sauce), or pescado a la talla, grilled fish served with a sauce. The chilapitas could be an excellent meal with small corn (or wheat) tortillas and beans or pieces of chicken. On Thursday, look for the pozole verde, soup specially served on this day, made from gourd seeds, cacahuazintle and seafood or pork. Finally, to end a good, spiced meal, taste the iguana tamales, cakes made from tamarind or coconut.

MEXICO City and the vicinity
The most typical menus are the tortas in any variety, a kind of sandwich served in a multitude of torterias.
You need to taste also these big steaks whose diameter can reach thirty centimeters with a half a centimeter thickness, called sábanas (sheets in English !), as well as the crepas de flor de culabaza, which look like regular French crepes stuffed with flowers of gourd and black huitlacoche for an exotic note.
During the main holidays, Mexicans eat barbacoa chicken or lamb. The preparation itself is a big event because Mexican built a sort of oven digging a hole that is coated with hot rocks holding ashes covered with maguey leaves (pencas) in their center in order not to burn the container. This container looks like a vase filled with rice water and chile, which will boil and release vapor that will cook the chicken or lamb meat. The stock will be eaten too and the whole dish will be served with a sauce made from maguey pulp, chile and garlic to go with the barbacoa. A real program ! The tlacoyos are snacks looking like turnover corn dough, tender and flavored corn, (sometimes blue or green corn), stuffed with diverse ingredients like flowers of gourd or huitlacoche and grilled.

mexican tacos MICHOACÁN
The carnitas consist in braised or fried pork served with corn tortillas and guacamole. Taste also the sopa tarasca, maybe the best soup of tortillas, at least the original one and the uchepos, succulent tamales from fresh, non-dry corn.
On Pátzcuaro, try the pescado blanco, white fish dipped in an egg and fried in olive oil with garlic and try also the charales as appetizer, small fried fish, or in soup.
In Morelia the specialty is the enchilada de plaza, with cheese, potatoes, carots, onions and chile and served with boiled chicken.

     Right picture : mexican tacos

NORTH and CENTER of MEXICO
The variety and the size of the region are not reflected in the cuisine since you would find everywhere grilled meat and wheat or corn tortillas.
Grilled beef is as good as the very fresh fish from Chihuahua.
In Monterrey, taste the broiled kid (cabrito al pastor) meaning cooked in the shepherds’ way : in barbecue. Enjoy also the tacos al carbon (grilled with mesquite barbecue wood), delicious grilled meat used to stuff the tortillas and the chimichangas served with water tortillas, very thin and stuffed with carne seca (dry meat), or machacado: minced and sun dried beef.

In San Luis Potosi, try the enchiladas potosinas, the tacos rojos potosinos or the tortas of shrimp with mole pipian. You can also taste the miel de tuna (prickly pear), and trompadas (sweet breads). Guanajuato owns a big diversity of typical regional dishes, as the pork legs, the pacholas of Guanajuato (fried ground beef meat), the empanadas of meat, the bread of Acambaro. The most typical dish is the enchilada. The most famous drinks are the sugar, the strawberry liquor and the water of mezquite. Also try the cajetas de Celaya (sweets) and the charamuscas, made from sugar.

OAXACA
chapulines are grasshoppers eaten in tacos with guacamole. They become red after cookingThere is a lot of local dishes. There is always panoply of tamales and chile chipotles; taste the oblong cheese that flows smoothly because you can’t find it anywhere else. In Oaxaca, you can also find : molotes, chicken soup, roasted lamb, lima beans cooked in clay pans, cactus fruits cooked in their juice, quelites, and tlayudas, big tortillas seasoned with a mixture of tomatoes, chile and garlic.

Left picture : chapulines are grasshoppers eaten in tacos with guacamole. They become red after cooking

PUEBLA
Looking like brioches, the cemitas are tortas made from small-scooped breads.
The Arab tacos are thin pita tortillas stuffed with grilled pork and a yogurt sauce (jocoque), honey and sometimes olive oil with herbs.
The sauce Mole, rich with more than three hundred varieties is said to be the work of Dominican nun Sister Andrea de la Asuncion who would have mixed the mulli, ground chile sauce with diverse spices. This sauce that would date from Colombian time can be found in the most famous Mexican preparation : the Mole Poblano, happy mixture of two cuisines.
Taste also the chiles en nogada that are chiles served with a creamed walnut sauce. It is the specialty of Puebla, and it is said that it was created for Iturbide Emperor and eaten for the celebration of the Independence war.
Looking like brioches, the cemitas are tortas made from small-scooped breads.
The Arab tacos are thin pita tortillas stuffed with grilled pork and a yogurt sauce (jocoque), honey and sometimes olive oil with herbs.
gastronomy in Puebla ! The sauce Mole, rich with more than three hundred varieties is said to be the work of Dominican nun Sister Andrea de la Asuncion who would have mixed the mulli, ground chile sauce with diverse spices. This sauce that would date from Colombian time can be found in the most famous Mexican preparation: the Mole Poblano, happy mixture of two cuisines.
Taste also the chiles en nogada that are chiles served with a creamed walnut sauce. It is the specialty of Puebla, and it is said that it was created for Iturbide Emperor and eaten for the celebration of the Independence war.

   Right picture : gastronomy in Puebla !

 


TABASCO
The name of Tabasco is associated with the hot sauce, well known and made from chile. The breakfast is composed of black coffee, a slice of guanabana or some tamalillos in their juice, green bananas, torrejas de yuca or crusty totopostes. The tamales are prepared with turkey or pork meat, seasoned with epazote or achiote, and served on a herbia santa leaf. The tamales de hoja de chipilin are a similar dish. You can add unlimited Tabasco sauce. Among the most popular dishes in Tabasco, there is the pochitoque, hicotea or quao tortuga. The animal is simmered with momo, chiles and
chiplin. The piquas, giant crawfish found only in Tabasco, are broiled with a garlic sauce.

 

VERACRUZ
Veracruz, first place of landing for the Conquistadors, maintains a strong gastronomic Spanish tradition, crossbred with Afro Caribbean and Indian influences. The huauchinango a la veracruzana (red snapper after the Veracruz style), boiled or sautéed, is served with a tomato, olives, capers and vinegar sauce.

YUCATÁN
The Mayan culture seems to have marked the Yucatán cuisine more than the Aztec cuisine or any other one.
The sopa de lima (lime soup) is a very good illustration : This is a soup made from chicken served with slices of fried tortillas and lime that you can’t find anywhere else but in Yucatán.
Taste the Cochinito pibil (suckling pig): the meat first marinated in a mixture of spices, the recado before being wrapped in bananas leaves and baked in an underground oven. The same recipe exists with chicken (polio pibil).
You can also eat huevos motulenos, boiled tortillas topped with a fried egg and smothered with ham, peas, shredded cheese and tomato sauce. You can also be served original tortillas stuffed with sweetened ground meat, Holland cheese, and gourd seeds, grilled and ground with epazote (spice) and pieces of chicken (salbutes).
The refreshing local drink that goes with all these dishes is the pozo.


 

Lexique

Bakery and pastry shop in a covered market What order ?

Antojitos : These are Mexican snacks. Whatever the name, it is always a corn tortilla that is used as a container. The quesadillas are made with cheese but can be stuffed with flowers of gourd, mushrooms or potatoes. The taquitos (small tacos) are made with meat or vegetables. The enchiladas are always adorned with red or green, more or less hot, chile, sprinkled with shredded cheese and cream, and then baked. The sopes are different from the tacos only because of their shape. You have to try them all but order them "poco picosos"... not too hot...

     Right picture : Bakery and pastry shop in a covered market

Atole. It is a drink made from corn flour mixed with water or milk and looks like porridge.
Caldo. It is a fish or shrimp soup, specialty of Veracruz. But, for sure, you would find more easily the caldo de pollo (chicken).
Camote. It is the sweet potato, often proposed as candied sweet potatoes.
Cecina. is a traditional cut of beef, sliced thin, salted and dried by the sun. The best one is from Yecapixtla in the State of Morelos.
Cilantro. It is an aromatic herb that is added to any salad.
Chapulines. There are grasshoppers eaten in tacos with guacamole.
Chilaquiles. Tortillas strips cooked in a hot sauce with chorizo, meat, beans, onions, avocado and cheese.
Chiles. This is one of the three elements of Mexican cuisine. There are hundred of varieties. It can be eaten raw, fresh, cooked marinated or as pickles. It is sweet or hot, small or big, with different color. The more used in cuisine are the cascabel, the chipotle, the guero, the jalapeno, the poblano, or the serrano. Be aware of two of them: the chile de arbol (long, thin and red) and the chile habanero (small and yellow), these two chiles could stop your trip !
Chiltomate. It is a mixture of tomato sauce and chile habanero. (Good for curing a hangover...)
Dulces. In Mexico, the tradition of pastries comes from Spain but it grows richer with the savor of the tropical fruits. The names are picturesque : charamusca, trompadas, pirulis, morelianas, alegrias, mamon, queques or birotes.
Escamoles. They are the larvae of ants, considered like the Mexican caviar (as expensive as the other caviar). It is said that if you eat this, you would be a centenarian.
Frijoles. They are black beans. It is the cure against the "turista", the antidote of the “fire" provoked by the hot chile. You can find it with different shades, from light red to dark black.
Guacamole. It is a purée of avocado, seasoned with onions, green chile, salt and a lot of lime.
stall of avocados in the market in Oaxaca Guajolote. is the turkey; it is also called the Pavo. It is the traditional holidays dish
Gusano de Maguey. They could be red or white. They are the worms from the agave plant. You could eat them in tacos with guacamole (in April/May). It is excellent.
Guanabana. It is a dark green fruit whose skin is covered with heart shaped grooves. The pulp is white and the seeds are black It is a sweet and refreshing fruit that is best in sorbet.
Huitlacoche. It is the parasite of the corn. The Náhuatl name means "cloudy corn " or "sleepy excrescence". In the State of Jalisco, it is called the "Cuervo" (raven) and "Tecolote" (crow) in the State of Michoacán, obviously because of the shape and color of this fungus. You can eat it, and again it is a delight, au gratin or fried with onions and chile, square cut, with a stem of epazote (spice).

     Left picture : stall of avocados in the market in Oaxaca

Maguey. "And among the beauty of the nature: the maguey. It grows on any piece of soil, is used to make paper; its sap will make a fermented drink called the Pulque; with its leaves, one’s could make a fabric strong enough to make clothes and finally its root is used to prepare a rich and nourishing food. The maguey was, alltogether, for Mexicans, food, drink, cloth and material for writing", free translation, Guillermo Prescot. 1843.


Mezcal. It is a Spirit distilled from the maguey. It is the drink of the Gods; it is the reason that it drives you mad. Here is a proverb : "For every bad thing, a mezcal, for every good thing, the same".


Mole Verde. It is a green sauce made from green tomato and green chile that should be served with roast pork.
Pulque. It was the ritual drink offered to the Gods in the ceremonial acts. Only the elderly people could get drunk. Nowadays, it is the commune drink for people in the countryside as well as in the working class districts. It is produced by the fermentation of the sap (aguamiel), mixed with the juice of the fruit. In addition, the pulque is used in making meringues and other cakes. These were sold at the doors of the "pulquerias" (reserved for men only) to let the husbands, bringing these sweets home, show their wife that they were late, not because of some infidelity, but only because of the pulque.
Nopal. They are leaves of cactus that produces prickly pears in the Mediterranean region. Once the spines removed, add bicarbonate to strain the cactus and boil it; it is then used in salads. Mexico exports its nopales to the United States and also Japan, very fond of them.
Tortilla. It is a small corn “pancake”.
Tequila. It is made from the agave. It is at the source of numerous cocktails among them, the famous"Margarita". The "margaritas" were prostitutes who were authorized to go inside some cantinas reserved for men. They were drinking light mixtures with lemon and a drop of tequila.


making sausages at the market

 

 

Left picture : making sausages at the market


 

 


Covered market in Guanajuato (el Bajio)


 

 

 

 

 

 



     Right picture : Covered market in Guanajuato (el Bajio)

 




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