What is typical mexican food

Specialties from Mexico

The cuisine in Mexico is like the country itself: colorful, hot and fun-loving! The cuisine of this Latin American nation consists of much more than the Tex-Mex cuisine we know so well. Ancient Aztec traditions and the eating habits of the Spanish conquerors blend into a potpourri of culinary delights.

Banquet in Mexico

In Mexico people celebrate often and with pleasure: Fiestas like the national holiday or the day of the dead naturally also include the right food. Of great importance for Mexicans is their national holiday, September 16, on which they celebrate their independence. Then the whole house is decorated in the national colors of green-white-red and the food also has these colors. The three-colored rice, for example, is inspired by the Mexican flag, one third of which is colored with tomato puree and one third with green chili pepper puree, the middle third remains white. Other typical dishes are Chiles en Nogada, stuffed chili peppers in walnut sauce and Pozole, a corn stew. On the evening of September 15th, the celebrating crowds gather in the cities. They eat typical Mexican finger food such as quesadillas or buñuelos, sweet, fried dough sheets.

It gets scary in Mexico on November 2nd, because then the Día de los muertos, the day of the dead, is celebrated. At this festival there are tons of sugar skulls (Calaveras de dulce), marzipan coffins and All Saints 'Day breads (Pan de muertos) in the displays of the confectioners' shops. The sweets are eaten, but also offered to the dead on a festive altar. In Mexico, people believe that on the Día de los muertos the souls of the dead return to celebrate with their loved ones. Celebrating together in the cemetery usually appears macabre to European visitors, but this custom stems from ancient traditions of honoring the deceased.

Tex-Mex cuisine

In Germany, Tex-Mex cuisine is often incorrectly referred to as Mexican cuisine, which is culinary customs from the border area between Texas and Mexico. There are certainly culinary elements from Mexico in Tex-Mex cuisine, but the methods of preparation have often been Americanized. For example, the hard taco shells that are so popular in Tex-Mex cuisine are a purely American product. You won't find the classic Tex-Mex cuisine, chili con carne, on Mexican menus either, because this dish was created in Texas.

Chili peppers and herbs

Mexican food without chili peppers and herbs is unthinkable. Chili peppers originally come from Central America and are added to almost every hearty dish in Mexico. They are dried, pickled, filled with cheese and mashed in sauces, to name just a few processing methods. The most famous Mexican chili peppers are the green jalapeños. However, the Poblano chillies are much milder, even if the term “mild” is extremely relative with regard to Mexican dishes. On the other hand, the chiltepins, the small, round archetype of chilies, are particularly hot. These chili berries grow wild in the Sonoran Desert in northern Mexico and are particularly expensive as a delicacy. Interesting: Despite the ubiquity of the chilli pepper in Mexico, China is the largest chilli producer - Mexico only follows in third place.

In addition to chili peppers, fresh herbs such as coriander and epazote add flavor to dishes in Mexico. The tea herb Epazote is used with preference in bean dishes. It tastes slightly like lemon, but smells very unpleasant, which is why the Aztecs called the plant "skunk sweat". Epazote is rarely available in Germany, but it can be replaced by lemon balm.


What rice is to Asians, maize is to Mexicans. Tortillas in particular, flat corn cakes, which should not be confused with Spanish tortillas, are very popular in Mexico and are eaten at breakfast. They are rolled as tacos and filled with hearty meat and bean mixes. The rolls are gratinated and called enchiladas. Topped corn tortillas that are not rolled are known in Mexico under the name Tostada. In the north of Mexico, wheat tortillas are much more popular than corn tortillas and are known there as burritos or fajitas. Fried wheat tortillas filled with cheese, on the other hand, are called quesadillas.

Beans and corn

Although the supposedly most famous Mexican bean dish, chili con carne, does not come from Mexico at all, beans are ubiquitous in the Central American country. Frijoles, small bean kernels, are preferred. These are often found in tortilla fillings or are made into dip and served with totopos (tortilla chips).

In Mexico, maize is the basis for tortillas and tamales, as well as indispensable for the pozole stew. In Mexico, yellow corn is processed into tortilla flour after a special fermentation process. However, the white corn, which is rare in our country, is much more frequently available. The dried and peeled grains are added to the pozole, a corn stew with pork. Another sweet treat made from corn are tamales, small snacks made from cornmeal (Masa Harina) and steamed. They are filled with a savory or sweet filling and wrapped in a corn husk or banana leaf.

Mole and salsas from Mexico

Chocolate was already consumed by the Aztecs in Mexico and was highly revered. Today chocolate is added to savory foods: the most famous example of this is mole poblano, a sauce made from unsweetened dark chocolate, nuts, chili peppers and tomatoes. It is served with turkey or other poultry. Originally, Mole Poblano is said to come from central Mexico and was invented by a nun. She wanted to use the chocolate to defuse a sauce and make it more bearable for the bishop.

In addition to Mole Poblano, there are other traditional recipes for these thick sauces. Preparing a mole is usually a lengthy and complicated process with many ingredients. Not a traditional mole, but very well known to us is the guacamole, a paste made from pureed avocados, tomatoes and coriander, which is seasoned with lime juice and chillies.

Salsas, which simply means sauce, are also popular in Mexico. There are countless of these in Mexican cuisine that are raw, cooked, mild or spicy. Chillies are almost always part of these salsas. Often tomatoes or green tomatillos are also added.

Video Recipe: Spinach Quesadilla

A quesadilla is a type of tortilla that is prepared in the Mexican original with cheese. In our recipe, the snack is also refined with spinach.

Spinach quesadilla

Amaranth, chayotes and nopales

Mexico is full of interesting culinary discoveries. Amaranth, for example, comes from Mexico, a grain that is also becoming increasingly popular in Germany. The Aztecs used amaranth not only in food, but also as a religious food in ceremonies. However, this had the consequence that the Spanish invaders banned the plant as a pagan food from the menu. Amaranth is now widespread again, especially in central Mexico, where it is used in sweets, grain drinks or tamales.

If you go to Mexico, you shouldn't miss out on rare foods like chayotes or nopales. Chayotes are pear-shaped vegetables of the pumpkin family that have a slightly nutty flavor. The green vegetables can be baked, eaten raw in salads or cooked and stuffed. Another delicacy in Mexico is nopales, the leaves of the prickly pear. Only the young leaves are used, which are cooked or processed into the popular “Ensalada de nopalitos”. It is no coincidence that the cactus salad with green cactus leaves, red tomatoes and white onions has the popular colors of Mexico. Important: The spines must be removed during preparation - otherwise the meal will be very painful.

Dessert in Mexico

In Mexico, dessert is especially served in larger groups or at parties. Sweet puddings, for example, flan caramel or fruit in syrup are very popular. An extremely refreshing sweet is paleta, Mexican ice cream that has now also conquered the USA. This popsicle is mostly made with a juice base and rarely with a cream base. The sorts of fruit ice cream on the streets of Mexico range from mango to kiwi to pineapple and often contain pieces of fruit. Other popular types of paleta are tamarind, rice pudding, and lime. In any case, a refreshing treat in the hot temperatures in Mexico.