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The Top Flavors Of Mexico

Updated on January 23, 2010

That cute little Taco Bell Mexipup didn't have the right idea after all. The true Mexican cuisine is not at all based on the burritos and tacos that we think is Mexican food north of the border. With the exception of some desert border areas in the Rio Grande area, barbecue and stews and lots of really fresh vegetables and also seafood in the coastal areas. Of course, Mexican cuisine is also based on literally hundreds of different types of chiles. Like all great national cuisines, Mexico is a tapestry made up of its highly variable regional cookery.

Chiles in Mexico go far beyond just the addition of searing heat, but are also utilized widely to control texture and color as well as flavor profiles which can be extremely complex and rewarding. Mexican cookery thrives on deriving flavors from techniques such as utilizing lard in cookery, and boiling meat prior to broiling it over ember filled charcoal pits.

Much of Mexico's population lives close to the poverty line, thus it is important that the cookery of the people be economical. Tamales are a time honored way to fill up on very little money. Much of the population prepares a wide variety of thin soups to stretch out the food ingredients for economy such as tortilla soup, and the very famous sopa de albondigas which is a beef broth with the most delectable miniature meatballs floating in it.

Key regional distinctions

Jalisco - The area which is in the western central part of the country stretching out to the Pacific Ocean. It is the location where just under a billion acres are planted in blue agave, which is the key ingredient in the distillation process of tequila.

Veracruz - This area is coastal to the Gulf of Mexico and renowned for its gulf shrimp and red snapper. The cookery of the area typically mingles these wondrous ingredients with onion, garlic, green chiles and tomatoes. Not only does this area have some of Mexico's finest coffee, but is generally considered the heart of Mexican cuisine.

Baja - The long peninsula which just southward from American California and incorporates the resort cities of Cabo San Lucas and La Paz. The area is well known for its batter-fried shrimp or fish tacos usually with a slaw cabbage and a white cream.

Oaxaca - Towards the southern end of Mexico on the Pacific side, this region is one of the most renowned of Mexico's areas for its cultural bounties. This is the part of the nation where you go for the best moles, which are much more complex and varied than many Americans believe. One of the more classic of the area's moles integrates chocolate with chiles, pumpkin seeds and cinnamon.

Yucatan - The Mayan tradition is strong in this huge peninsula jutting outwards into the Gulf of Mexico and it is the best region to go for the sizzling Habanero chiles, as well as fine black beans and pickled vegetables.

Chihuahua and Sonora - These two northernmost and largest states are the home of what many Americans believe Mexican cookery to actually be. The cuisine of these states most closely approximates Tex-Mex. These states have some of Mexico's finest beef, although in the Mediterranean tradition imported from Spain, they consume it fresh and never aged. 

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    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      8 years ago from Toronto

      You got it. The lovely 16th century palazzo in downtown Flatulenze.

      (BTW, you do know I just lifted fat David and added a plaque and a willy cover... wouldn't want to mislead ya!) :)

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      8 years ago from Ohio, USA

      You do need to mix in a few sit-ups.

      Wait... that is you, isn't it? In the rotunda of the Haladrome, right?

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      8 years ago from Toronto

      Who's the black (leather) private cat

      That's an edge detection stud?

      SHAFT... er... HAL!

      Ya damn right!

      :)

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      8 years ago from Ohio, USA

      \speechless\

      Once again, your edge detection is nonpareil.

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      8 years ago from Toronto

      Thanks, Springboard and allergy1! :)

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      8 years ago from Toronto

      It's the least I can do for you my friend! Just consider it a pean to you and to this site's "amazing" new logo (heheheh)! ChubPaqes forever!

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      8 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Just a note to say hi. It's so wearying being trolled by hubbers who think their self aggrandizing insipid context-free sarcasm might be remotely in the same universe as funny... I just need a palate cleansing.

      Ahhhh.......... sanctuary.

      Can you photoshop a funny for me? I crave creativity.

    • allergy1 profile image

      allergy1 

      8 years ago from United Arab Emirates

      you are really excellent in cookery also. try South Indian Foods.

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Great, now I'm hungry again. Great hub.

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      8 years ago from Toronto

      2patricias, thanks! Yes, I've often thought that I should open a REAL Mexican restaurant in London and make more money than Gordon Ramsay. I have travelled the world and never have I eaten worse Mexican food (and perhaps worse food of any kind) than at Chiquito Restaurant in Leicester Square in London. OMG! Mexican rats would turn their noses up at that sewage. How they can get away serving such slop in a culinary capital and charging 20 quid for a plate of it to boot, is completely beyond me!

      Wayne, if you go to the major cities in the Midwest, they all have great restaurants from all cuisines, including Mexico! Give it a try and let me know what you think! :)

    • Wayne Orvisburg profile image

      Kenneth Wayne 

      8 years ago from Alabama

      Would like to try some of the other cuisines, but not easy to find in the midwest.

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 

      8 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Interesting choice of topic, and a good Hub. We are deeply ignorant of Mexican cuisine. WE can buy stuff in boxes in our (English) grocery store, but don't believe it is at all authentic.

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