Cultured Palate: Dishes of Mexico

If you’ve ever gone on a vacation to Mexico, chances are you’ve taken yourself to an all-inclusive resort to enjoy some beach time complemented by unlimited beverages and drinks. While these resorts are often known for the quality of their beaches, chances are they’re not known for their food.

Mexico is full of amazing food that has been evolving since the time of the Incas, Mayans, and Aztecs. All you need to do is get out of the resort to experience some of the freshest and most inventive food in the world. Here are a few dishes that should not be missed on your next trip to Mexico!

Tortillas

One of the most basic building blocks of Mexican cuisine is the humble tortilla.

Made from either wheat, or more traditionally maize (or even blue corn!), tortillas are flat rounds that are traditionally cooked over a hot griddle called a comal. Tortillas are found everywhere in Mexico, because they’re relatively simple to make, and can be made at home, on the street, or in a grocery store or restaurant.

Tortillas are generally freshest in the morning, when they’re made for the lunch rush. Many Mexican dishes like burritos or tacos rely heavily on tortillas. If you can find a vendor making tortillas on a traditional terracotta comal, you’ll know you’re in for a treat.

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Chilaquiles

While fresh tortillas may be king in Mexico, there are plenty of dishes that use stale or day-old tortillas as a key ingredient simply because there are always some left over.

Chilaquiles are a delicious breakfast dish composed of day-old tortillas, cut up into wedges, lightly fried, then mixed with eggs, salsa, and sometimes shredded chicken. Tossed together, these disparate ingredients make a delicious and filling breakfast.

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Birria

This soup is not only delicious, but it’s also rumored to be a hangover cure. Native to the Mexican state of Jalisco, birria starts with meat (traditionally goat or mutton) marinated in adobo spices, which is then pulled apart and added to a fiery red soup base.

Hugely popular all over Jalisco, birria is generally served in homes on special occasions like Christmas or Easter, but you can also find it on the streets of cities like Guadalajara, served in stalls called birrierias.

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