A journey to taste Mexico's authentic cuisine is a voyage to be savored, especially if you and your significant other are looking to plan a culinary-inspired honeymoon. Spend your first days as a couple sampling local fare that ranges from the grilled meats and cheeses of northern Mexico, to complex mole sauces made with 30-plus ingredients in Oaxaca, to the Afro-Cuban-Spanish fusion dishes found in the state of Veracruz. From street vendors to fine dining, Vacation uncovers Mexico’s bold food scene along with six of our favorite authentic dishes that we highly recommend you taste.
Delicious Roots of Mexican Cuisine
Blending indigenous ingredients and cooking methods (with European and African influences), Mexico’s staple foods like corn and beans are elevated with indigenous chili pepper seasoning. Corn is ubiquitous in all parts of the country and is used to make quintessential dishes such as tamales and sopes – thick fried corn discs topped with refried beans and cheese. Maize is also used, of course, to make tortillas which accompany almost every dish in Mexico. And chili pepper is a key component in Mexican food because its unique varieties give traditional dishes their signature flavors.
Cabrito… One of Northern Mexico’s Specialties
Meat is an important part of the cuisine served in Northern Mexico, and cabrito, roasted goat kid, is a specialty and popular entrée in Monterrey. It’s usually roasted in a pit next to a bed of glowing embers for about eight hours. And today, meat continues to be an important part of the typical Mexican meal.
Oaxacan Mole or More!
One of the most important Oaxacan contributions to Mexican food is its seven moles, which rank alongside the delicious mole poblano from the neighboring state of Puebla. Oaxaca is also known for having a variety of native cuisine, which means, for foodies, it’s worth a visit. And don’t forget to sample decadent Oaxacan chocolate if you’re looking to satisfy your craving for something sweet.
Dig into the Capital’s Diverse Cuisine
Like any major city, Mexico City is a cultural melting pot of people and food. Couples visiting should prepare to taste regional specialties in the city’s restaurants, cafes and street carts. Mexico’s capital city is the perfect place to sample traditional antojitos or street food and some of the best tacos. Head to the busy La Merced Market, where you can buy everything from an entire cow to crispy-fried insects. Not only is this city world-renowned for its rustic fare and street food, but also it features fine-dining restaurants. Pair your meal with mezcal – made from an agave plant native only to Mexico and meant to be savored like a malt whisky. It’s the perfect way to end a fun saunter through one of the world’s greatest culinary and cultural capitals.
Sample Mexican Desserts with French Origins
You might be surprised to know that many desserts made in Mexico – such as flan and crepas – were influenced by the French, especially in Oaxacan pastry shops such Tartamiel and Boulenc. Although the French withdrew from Mexico in 1866, these fusion desserts are evidence of their presence in Mexican cuisine. For example, pan de yema, or egg bread, closely resembles brioche. Flan is known as a Mexican dessert, but the name is derived from the Old French word, flaon.
Explore Tulum’s Beach Town Cuisine
Mayan archeological sites aren’t the only thing that attracts tourists to this seaside town with a bohemian vibe. Foodies should make a stop to visit Chamicos beach shack on Soliman Bay. This local favorite incorporates the bounty of the nearby lobster farm with other fresh seafood to make its delicious ceviche. After your meal, grab an icy Corona, and enjoy a short siesta in one of their beachfront hammocks. And at Kitchen Table – where customers can pay with cash or Bitcoin only – this restaurant serves wood-grilled seafood and tasty menu items, including charred octopus. Just make sure you bring your appetite.
Sample Fresh Seafood and the Catch of the Day
Couples who love fresh seafood won’t have to look very far to sample traditional Mexican dishes prepared with the catch of the day and local ingredients. Try stuffed crab in Tampico, oyster soup in Nayarit, arroz la tumbada in Veracruz, squid and octopus in the Yucatan Peninsula and aguachile in Sinaloa, grilled fish in Cabo San Lucas and tasty shrimp dishes in Mazatlán. And ceviche is a must! Fish, shrimp, octopus, squid, tuna and mackerel are popular bases for ceviche in Mexico, and the marinade ingredients include salt, lime, onion, chili peppers, avocado and cilantro. Don’t leave Mexico without tasting this traditional seafood dish – just remember to order enough to share.
Vacation’s Top 6 Mexican Dishes
Mole: (pronounced ‘moh-lay) It is the generic name for a number of rich sauces using chili peppers as the central ingredient. However, mole poblano is a chocolatey red sauce with chilis served with chicken and shrimp.
Torta: One of Mexico’s ultimate street foods, the torta is sandwich served on a white roll and can be eaten cold or hot, and grilled or toasted similar to a Cuban sandwich. Beans, avocados and a little crema are common fillings for this delicious sandwich.
Pozole: This traditional soup or stew predates Spanish colonialism. The foundation or base for this tasty stew is maize with pork, chicken, turkey, pork rinds, chili peppers and other seasonings.
Enchiladas verdes: Corn tortillas stuffed with shredded chicken and smothered in green salsa with a touch of crema – similar to crème fraiche – and a touch of white cheese.
Chiles end nogada: Poblano chilies filled with chopped meat, fruit and spices, and then doused in a walnut-laced cream sauce. It’s a popular treat served on patriotic holidays because it’s ingredients have the same colors as Mexico’s flag.
Tacos al pastor: With origins dating back to the 1920s and 30s, this is one of the most popular, but simple taco dishes made with spit-roasted strips of pork, onions, coriander leaves and pineapple… all served in a corn tortilla.
We promise you’ll leave Mexico delightfully full and inspired. And did we mention it’s the top honeymoon spot for American couples?
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