Very often when a certain nation’s cuisine crosses borders and becomes spread across the world, we see other countries taking the food and sort of making it their own, or at least adding some local touches to it. This has certainly been the case with Mexican cuisine and as such there have been a number of myths which have come to be, which simply are not true at al.
Today then I am with Mexican chef Javier Burillo as we look to debunk those crazy ideas which many have about Mexican cuisine.
Just Tacos Right?
Whilst it is true that tacos are life in Mexico, there is way more to the Mexican kitchen than just those tasty little parcels. Mexican cuisine is so broad ranging and they introduce an enormous amount of home-grown vegetables, flowers and styles which mark each state. From pork sandwiches to corn-based pizzas like Tlayudas, there is much, much more than the food here than just tacos.
Avoiding The Street Food
The stomach complaint which some tourists get when they come here, Moctezuma’s Revenge, happens because they don’t consider what or where they are eating and that puts them at risk. Sadly in their efforts to prevent this happening to tourists in the future many came up with the narrative that the best bet would be to avoid street food altogether. This is a bad narrative to have because some of the best food in the country can be bought on the street. The key is to go where the locals go and make sure that proper hygiene and storage is being followed.
Foods like nachos, chili con carne, burritos and tacos with hard shell tortillas and an abundance of Monterrey Jack is not Mexican cuisine. This food is what they call border food, hence the Tex-Mex tag. Now of course there are businesses who understand what the gringos are looking for when they come south of the border so of course these foods can be found throughout the country, so too can food from Israel, Greece and Germany for example. This however is not Mexican cuisine so you shouldn’t be looking for it if you want authentic fare.
Everything is Spicy
Salsa is a huge part of Mexican cuisine, but that is not to say that everything involving chili is spicy. There are some pretty hot chilis out there but Mexico is also able to grow sweet chilis, smokey chills and downright tasty chills which actually have no heat in them at all. There is also a huge number of dishes which do not involve any spice whatsoever, so the notion that everything here is spicy is plain wrong.
There is a terrible myth going around that Mexico has no high cuisine, a statement which simply isn’t true and throughout the country there are some very classy restaurants indeed. There has been something of a revolution in recent decades as many young and upcoming chefs have looked to turn the classic food from pueblos and put a Michellin-starred spin on it, something that they have done very successfully.
These are the common myths which you need to avoid.