Mexican Cuisine

Corn-flavored Mexico contains 108 ways to eat corn

Out of 520 days in Mexico, maybe 500 of them we eat corn, it’s like air, it’s everywhere. Compared to rice, which is also a staple food, corn has a stronger presence in Mexico, a richer and more interesting form.

The most common one in Mexico is the Tortilla, readily available on the streets of any city, which is either machine-made or hand-made, and even more delicious when grilled by hand and charred. Sometimes a staple, sometimes a snack, tortilla chips are usually served free as a starter at Mexican restaurants, accompanied by a red-green chili sauce. And the Tamales, which I didn’t know about until I came to Mexico, have a lot going on, especially the Mayan tamales, which are steamed or roasted and have a lot of flavor. There are also corn drinks, which can be made hot or brewed.

In short, Mexican life is inseparable from corn, we travel in Mexico, it seems that we all carry a taste of corn.

Maize is native to Central America and grew in the highlands of southern Mexico about 9,000 years ago. Mexicans have been eating corn for thousands of years. But locals never seem to lose interest in corn. Still reveres the traditional god of corn. There are also local artists who specialize in art based on corn, which can often be found in graffiti murals in trendy cities.

Graffiti on the streets of Guadalajara

“Tortilla” is probably the first Spanish word you know when you travel to Mexico. A staple food in every household, Mexican tortillas come not only in white and yellow, but also in red, blue and even black. In the mountains of southern Mexico, because the soil is so fertile, indigenous people can plant corn by sowing seeds. Although the corn grown is not as uniform as that grown in greenhouses, and may have different colors, large and small grains arranged together randomly, it is therefore more possible to eat different colors of corn tortillas in these places, adding a little fun to ordinary daily life.

You don’t even need a store to make and sell tortillas in Mexico. All you need is a plastic pot to hold the corn dough, a stove to heat it, and a simple pressing tool to make round, fragrant tortillas. Really good tortillas, freshly baked, can be eaten in one sitting with a little salt. The smell of roasted corn will surround your mouth. I am often amazed at how such a simple ingredient can produce such delicious food.

It takes just a few hours to pick corn from the field, grind it, add water to make a dough, and turn it into tortillas, the staple food that every Mexican eats. This is something locals have been doing for thousands of years, but it still stays the same. The average tortilla workshop has only one or two local women, and every time I pass by, watching them repeat their movements, it’s like seeing a picture of time standing still.

The way to eat the tortilla is not as we think, just a simple “big cake to roll everything”, local people are more with some local dishes, such as broth and so on, use two hands to roll the tortilla into a thin roll, and then dip. But the extension of the tortilla, there are more ways to eat it.

Pork Taco

The most familiar Taco is Taco. Taco tortillas are small and easy to grasp. They come in single or double layers. Taco tortillas are not the main character of Taco, but if they are too soft and chewy, the best filling will become boring.

A larger tortilla can be made into a quesadilla, with cheese inside, a round that is closed to form a half circle and then heated on the oven. As the cheese melts, the tortilla bonds together and is eaten without too much sauce for a more delicate flavor. And tacos with fish or vegetables in them, they’re really crunchy.

The first tortilla chip many people know is Doritos, which is more mellow than potato chips and can’t stop eating. When I came to Mexico, I found tortilla chips sold in packets on street corners, in a variety of varieties, but they were eaten more heavily. Before eating, it is sprinkled with various seasonings: spicy powder, cheese, cream, tomato sauce, etc. “Con todo” is the most local way to eat it. It is not uncommon to see large families, children or adults, walking down the street, each taking a share.

Nachos are a fine side dish at a restaurant, but the taste of the chips and the combination of sauces are often a good indicator of the quality of the restaurant. Compared to the bags you can buy at the supermarket, it’s sure to be more flavorful if it’s fried in a restaurant. The traditional accompaniment to crunches is red and green hot sauce, avocado, or tomato, but I think it’s better served with a vinaigrette sauce.

When it comes to nachos, you can’t miss the Chilaquiles, one of Mexico’s most classic breakfast dishes. A kind of Mexican food you never heard of before you came to Mexico, but after you came, you can’t forget it.

An affordable version of the Chilaquiles

The Chilaquiles are not very appealing, and the corn chips tend to be hidden by red or green sauces. It’s hard to compare Chinese food, with its varied array of fried chips, boiled chicken shreds, raw avocados and juicy, gooey sauces, sometimes even a soft-boiled egg. In the process, the chili sauce softens the crisps, and eating Chilaquiles is a dynamic tasting process.

In addition to triangular chips, another round corn chip popular in Mexico is the tortilla. Different sizes of Tostadas are made in different regions, giving them different names and combinations.

Typical Tostadas are the size of your palm, and the base is brushed with chili sauce or mashed beans and topped with vegetables. It’s also one of those street foods where you stand on the side of the road and eat a Tostadas when you’re hungry. Restaurants are more elaborate, usually with salmon, tuna and other fillings.

Tostadas made at home

In the southern Mexican region of Oaxaca, Tostadas become Tlayuda, a dish larger than a plate known as “Oaxaca pizza.” The top of the crisp is filled with a variety of ingredients, but the bottom of the crisp can remain intact, when eating will be broken, although it is a staple food, and the amount of food is not small, but it has a feeling of eating snacks, very relaxed and enjoyable.

Mexico also has zongzi, but it’s made from corn and wrapped in corn or banana leaves. My first taste of the corn dumplings was dry and tasteless, leaving me with a very ordinary impression. It wasn’t until later, when I tasted more different flavors of zongzi from different regions, that I really fell in love with this very down-to-earth and rich local food.

All kinds of corn dumplings

There is a tradition of eating zongzi in different parts of Mexico. Every Saturday, red lanterns can be seen along the street as the sky fades, which means small shops selling zongzi have opened. It is usually a family workshop, with an elderly aunt shifting her limp body to open the lid and show the guests a variety of corn dumplings. There are meat and vegetables, sweet and salty, big and small, cheap one or two yuan, expensive less than ten yuan.

When you eat zongzi in Mexico, you may choose three or four different flavors at a time. It may be because of the rich choices that there is no “sweet and salty” debate as there is in China.

The zizo is a story of Mexican history, a blend of Spanish colonial experience and indigenous roots. Usually, each region will add local wild vegetables to the dumplings. Hot sauce and chicken are common fillings, and some will also add some cheese or cream. The flavors are very integrated and interesting, and the key is delicious. In these hard and soft tortillas, you’ll find the inner softness and delicacy of Mexican Indian damas.

The best place to eat them is at the market on Sunday morning. Sitting in the middle of a bustling crowd, the vendor will usually help you peel away the banana leaves on the spot, then scoop fresh chili paste from a plastic VAT and boldly sprinkle it on. Our favorite is the Yucatan. It’s tender, tender, and full of chicken, eggs, tomatoes, peppers, and so on. It’s a perfect breakfast, usually accompanied by a hot drink.

From time to time, the husband and wife stall owner would give a warm smile, indicating that if needed, can add drinks or sauces at any time. In a word, from the atmosphere to the food to the people, let me from this inexpensive food, eat the temperature between people.

Yucatan corn dumplings

Drinks made from corn aren’t exactly the most popular in Mexico. In Mexico, the wine industry has long been dominated by Tequila, once Tequila, and now Mezcal, which dominates most people’s taste buds. Only in some remote Aboriginal areas did it survive, and it was often associated with ancient religious rituals.

In the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, a corn wine called Posh is a staple in Maya homes. Posh was once reserved for traditional ceremonies, or special circumstances such as illness. Now, when a family guest comes to visit, the first thing to do is to welcome them with a few sips of home-brewed Posh. Posh doesn’t really have much flavour or taste like other wines. But the most precious of all is the preservation of tradition.

Mexico, of course, also has the most simple boiled corn, divided into a whole corn and kernels. Hearty Mexicans eat boiled corn, which, like the aforementioned crisps, is filled with a variety of seasonings. Because it is so simple, children under the age of 10 can be seen selling one of Mexico’s most popular foods from carts on the streets of some cities.

Corn is so common that even the poorest families can survive if they have it, and if they have it, Mexicans can find some way to make a living. That’s probably why Mexicans have always loved corn.

Corn makes Mexican food street, flexible and fun. There are a lot of other foods in Mexico that I didn’t know were made from corn, but they’re all supposed to be just as human and have a different kind of fireworks.


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