American food is a representation of American culture. Many aspects of this country’s cuisine are rooted in other countries of the world. For example, the all-American hamburger is a tweaked version of the traditional German burger. In essence, American cuisine is a beautiful melting pot of cultures. A recent survey showed that the food that is coming up in the country is Mexican food.
Mexican Food Blends Easily Into the American Culture
Some people might be wondering how Mexican food became so popular in the United States. Most ethnic foods stay relatively unknown for most of the population, but this slowly changed for Mexican food. Some say the reason this occurred was because many of the ingredients needed for the meals can be homegrown and are readily available. There has been a growing movement amongst Americans to buy local. Buying local also gives a person the opportunity to eat food as fresh as possible. A lot of other ethnic meals contain ingredients that do not grow in the United States, making purchasing the ingredients difficult or too costly.
In essence, Mexican food seems to be one of the easiest foods to integrate into a particular cuisine. More and more Americans are having Mexican food at least a few times in a month. In some households, there is a day called “Taco Tuesday,” and some Mexican festivities are becoming a part of the American experience.
Americans are Adding Their own Touch to Mexican Food
There is no doubt that this type of food is becoming increasingly popular, but American cuisine always makes something its own. Yes, at the moment, the most popular foods from Mexico are tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and even margaritas, but that does not mean that Americans are not adding their own touches.
One obvious change is the way that some people prepare the traditional Mexican nacho. Not many Americans watch a football game without having some nachos on the side, with a few added sprinkles. For example, some cooks out there use Dorito chips instead of regular corn chips. That addition definitely adds a cheesy effect to the dish and makes it unmistakably American.
A large number of Americans love to infuse popular healthful additions in some of the foods they cook. For example, some Americans use the ingredients that are traditional used in chorizo but add fermented tempeh or soybean. This dish is vegetarian and tastes just as good. Others might use something like tofu instead of meat to make their tacos or enchiladas. Some Americans have fused their love for a good tostada with their love for vegetables by simply topping the fried flat-bread with shredded carrots, zucchini slices, or even crumbled cauliflower. They may also add avocado, cheese, beans depending on their preference.
It is clear that Mexican food and American food are being influenced by each other in the country. Most culinary aficionados are usually excited when two cuisines find common ground as it appears to be happening now.
Consider the taco, a basic configuration involving a tortilla, a filling, a topping, and usually accompaniments to the side. Much like the American burger, the simplicity is misleading. Either dish can be made a ton of different ways and while tacos and burgers might define their respective cuisines for some, they’re hardly the last word in either.
Trying to pick five of the very best Mexican dishes can be a challenge considering the endless array of food represented. Assuming that we’re all familiar with some basic ideas such as tacos, tostadas, quesadillas, fajitas, and the faithful burrito the limelight now falls on a few rockstar dishes that might show up in any one of these, or perhaps branch out into new territory.
1. Tacos al pastor
Pork that has been marinated, roasted on a vertical spit called a trompo, and then sliced thin onto corn tortillas, served with onions, coriander leaves, and pineapple. Not just for flavor, enzymes in the pineapple marinade help to break down the meat. The idea came into Mexico with Lebanese and Syrian immigrants. ‘Al pastor’ means ‘in the style of the shepherd’ and the flavors have been a Mexican favorite since the 1920’s. Al pastor meat is used in many dishes.
Think shish kebab meets Philly cheesesteak on a tortilla, Alambre means ‘wire’ indicating cooking on a metal skewer though the meaning has been expanded to include cooking on a flat top or skillet. In any case, alambre is likely to include bacon, peppers, onion, salsa, and avocado topped at some point with cheese and served with a plentiful stack of tortillas.
Traditionally pork is used but now carnitas might also be beef or even chicken. Cooked low and slow in a manner almost like a confit, it’s a recipe that translates well to crock-pot cooking though the texture won’t be the same as in the stovetop and oven method. Once the filling is tender-cooked and spiced to perfection it can become a part of tacos or tostadas or even be wrapped in lettuce leaves if carbs are the enemy.
4. Caldo de Camaron y Pescado
A caldo is a brothy soup, camaron y pescado would be shrimp and fish. This comfort food usually includes potatoes and carrots with the seafood in a savory, flavorful broth. The dried chiles add depth of flavor rather than spiciness. Good eats on a winter day.
Mexican sandwiches made with thick, soft bread dipped in a salsa made from guajillo chiles and then griddled for a crisp signature finish. Usually stuffed with papas con chorizo , a potato and chorizo hash, pambazos can be ‘simple’ or stacked up ‘with everything’. The second option can cover a lot of ground including lettuce, queso fresco, pickled jalapenos, refried beans, and sour cream.
So many Mexican dishes deserve a highlight and a test drive on my plate, but I’m happy to start with these five. Bottom line: Mexican food is easy to get to know, easy to love, and really, really easy to eat.
Tacos al pastor http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/top-10-foods-try-mexico
al pastor and alambre: http://casablancamexican.com/real-mexican/
Caldo de Camaron y Pescado: http://www.allroadsleadtothe.kitchen/2013/08/CaldoDeCamaronYPescado.html
Mexico offers more than 761,600 square miles for the adventurous traveler. But how are you supposed to decide where to go and what to see? With so many beaches, mountains and resorts, which are truly worth your time? If you’re considering a trip to Mexico, here are just six destinations that you won’t want to miss.
1. Copper Canyon
Officially known as Barranca del Cobre, Copper Canyon is one of the great natural wonders of Mexico. Though it’s hailed as “Mexico’s Grand Canyon,” it’s actually bigger and deeper than the Grand Canyon, and it’s existed for hundreds of years as a permanent monument to the grand majesty of Mexican wilderness. Climb the cliffs of Copper Canyon for a one-of-a-kind view on top of the world.
Everyone knows about Tijuana’s reputation for wild partying. But were you aware that it’s also a hotbed of general commerce? Even after you’re done drinking, dancing and clubbing the night away, you can find all kinds of shops, malls, museums, cafes, restaurants, movie theaters and fashion boutiques lining the sidewalks of this busy metropolis. Shop ’til you drop when you visit Tijuana.
3. Mayan Riviera
The Mayan Riviera is home to many famous honeymoon locations like Cancun and Playa del Carmen. It’s a tropical paradise filled with fluffy clouds and umbrella drinks as far as the eye can see, and it’s the perfect place to get away from the daily grind. Swim with dolphins; dine at five-star resorts and restaurants; take helicopter tours of the coast. The Mayan Riviera has it all.
4. Chichen Itza
History buffs, this one is for you. Located on the Yucatan Peninsula, Chichen Itza is where you’ll find Aztec ruins in the form of crumbling pyramids and half-forgotten animal sculptures. More than 1.2 million people visit Chichen Ita each year, so it’s one of Mexico’s top tourist destinations and definitely one to put on your bucket list.
Guadalajara is a great place to go for authentic Mexican culture. Mariachis stroll the cobbled streets and play songs for spare change; advertisements for rodeos and salsa classes are pinned to lamp posts; cathedrals and churches loom over the sidewalks and block the sun. If you want the real deal during your vacation, go to Guadalajara.
6. La Paz
La Paz is perfect for travelers on a budget. Tucked away between several larger cities, it’s a hidden gem that offers beaches, bungalows and boardwalks for a fraction of the cost of well-known tourist towns. It’s a great way to see Mexico without emptying your wallet, so don’t let a lack of funds stop you from traveling to La Paz.
These are just a few destinations in Mexico that you have to see to believe. There are many more, of course, but these should be enough to inspire your own travel dreams. Mexico is a big country filled with even bigger opportunities, so don’t be afraid to make your own itinerary and do something new!