Everyone knows what Mexican food basically is, right? It’s mostly tacos, burritos, jalapeños, salsa, avocados, cheddar cheese, and sour cream; except it’s not. There is a large amount of people who know of little more than those ingredients when it comes to Mexican food. Even fewer people know that two of those things don’t even belong there. Today we’re going to talk about that and more because a lot of people are missing out on good, authentic Mexican food.
First, I’m going to talk about the most famous Mexican dish in the United States; tacos. This is also where I state that Taco Bell is not authentic Mexican food. I say that because people seem to think that Mexicans use hard shells for their tacos. They don’t. What may be even more surprising, they don’t even use small flour tortillas for their tacos. Mexicans use soft corn tortillas that may either be heated in oil, on the grill, or on the stove top with a special, large dish for heating tortillas. Take a look at the photo above. There are no hard tortillas or flour tortillas. If a hard tortillas is used, it’s for tostadas.
Also, as seen in the photo above, Mexicans do not use ground beef for tacos. If any beef is used, it’s usually chopped or diced carne asada but you can also use a cut of beef called “Ranchera” that you usually barbecue and can be easily pulled apart. You can also use chopped or shredded chicken and chopped pork. If you eat a taco with pork, it will most likely be called “tacos al pastor”. At least, it will be called that if you’re eating at a restaurant with authentic Mexican food.
Restaurants that serve authentic Mexican food will most likely serve you your tacos with a bowl of chopped onions and cilantro, two or more bowls of salsa, key limes, and cream. Those are the main things that get put on tacos but what you may not know is that cheese usually doesn’t get put on tacos. I’ve actually never been to a restaurant that serves authentic Mexican food and been served tacos with cheese. If anything, cheese is sprinkled over the beans if I’m eating a full plate of food. The same thing goes for cream. It’s usually on the side because most people don’t put it on their tacos.
Additionally, Mexicans don’t ever use cheddar cheese which is one of those foods in the first paragraph that didn’t belong. The most common cheese used is queso fresco or fresh cheese in English. This cheese doesn’t have a strong flavor and it’s not very salty which is why when people use it, they use a lot of it. It’s also very brittle and is usually broken up with your hands and sprinkled over your dish. You can buy it regular or you can buy it cremoso or creamy. Both are the same except the creamy one has more moisture.
The second one of those foods in the first that didn’t belong was sour cream. Mexicans use a different cream which is usually just called cream. It’s thicker than sour cream and has a different flavor. Again, people usually don’t put this on their tacos. It may be in burritos but when I got to restaurants that serve authentic Mexican food, I usually have to ask for it.
Moving on from tacos, there is a lesser known dish that has been gaining popularity lately, though, it’s not much of a dish. It’s more like a Mexican sandwich. It’s called a Torta. Tortas are only tortas because of the bread they are made with. The loaf of bread itself is called a torta and when you put something in it to make a sandwich it’s also called a Torta. You can put anything in a that bread and it will called a torta. You can make a torta de carne asada (steak torta), torta de pollo (chicken torta), or a torta de huevos (egg torta) and many more. This can be used for breakfast, lunch, and dinner because you can put anything in it. Take a look at the torta in this article to see an example.
Mexican food also comes with a variety of sweets. These sweets usually consist of pastries like sweet bread. Sweet bread is just that. Bread that has been sweetened with sugar and other ingredients. The best sweet breads, though, are the ones that are buttery with sprinkle of sugar. They are amazing with a glass of milk, which is usually the way sweet bread is enjoyed.
Those are some common Mexican dishes that either get made incorrectly or that you can’t find in your regular Mexican-American restaurant but there are so many more. Go to a restaurant where the employees mostly speak Spanish. It may not a be a popular spot, but you’ll get some good, authentic Mexican food. Don’t just go to one, try a variety of restaurants because not every Mexican food restaurant tastes the same.
So what do you think? Does this sound like authentic Mexican food to you? Let me know in the comments below. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to get new posts sent directly to your inbox and follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.