NonRecipes 31 Mexican Cuisine Food Facts: General, Fun, Nutrition, Dishes by Alex Bayev May 17, 2023 May 17, 2023 116 views 116 Mexican cuisine is a rich amalgamation of diverse influences and a testament to the country’s history. The following article presents a series of intriguing facts about Mexican food, broken down into several categories for your perusal. General Facts Fact 1: A Blend of Cultures Mexican cuisine is a delightful blend of Indigenous, Spanish, and other global influences. The indigenous people of Mexico primarily used corn, beans, and chili peppers in their meals, a tradition that has been carried forward to today. With the arrival of the Spanish, new ingredients like rice, wheat, and meats were introduced, adding complexity to the cuisine. Fact 2: UNESCO Recognition In 2010, Mexican cuisine was recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This accolade reflects the significant role that traditional Mexican food plays in the country’s cultural identity. Fact 3: Regional Diversity Mexico’s cuisine varies significantly by region. For example, the north is known for its meat dishes, while the south is famous for its spicy vegetables and chicken. Coastal areas primarily focus on seafood, while Oaxaca, often referred to as the “land of seven moles,” is renowned for its variety of mole sauces. Fact 4: Staple Ingredients Corn, beans, and chili peppers are considered staple ingredients in Mexican cuisine. They are used in a multitude of dishes, from tamales and tortillas to salsas and soups. Fact 5: The Importance of Maize Maize, or corn, is a central ingredient in Mexican cuisine. It’s used to make tortillas, tamales, and a variety of other dishes. Its importance can be traced back to the Mayan civilization, which regarded maize as sacred. One is great examples is mexican corn salad. Fun Facts Fact 6: Chocolate’s Mexican Roots Chocolate originated in Mexico, not Switzerland or Belgium. The ancient Mayans were the first to cultivate cacao beans and they used them to make a bitter beverage. Fact 7: Tequila’s Protected Status Tequila is a Mexican-origin drink that has a Denomination of Origin, meaning it can only be produced in certain regions. Specifically, it must be made in the Mexican state of Jalisco or in certain municipalities of Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas. Fact 8: The World’s Largest Tamale The largest tamale ever made was in Mexico. Created in 2010 in the city of Urupan, Michoacan, the tamale measured 11.99 meters and weighed 1,086 kilograms. Fact 9: The Hottest Chili in the World The Carolina Reaper may hold the title for the hottest pepper in the world, but did you know that the title used to belong to the Mexican-grown Ghost Pepper (Bhut Jolokia)? Fact 10: Burritos Aren’t Universally Mexican Despite their global popularity, burritos are not widely eaten in Mexico. They are more typical of the Tex-Mex food found in the United States. Nutrition Facts Fact 11: High in Fiber Traditional Mexican food is often high in fiber due to the heavy use of legumes like beans and high-fiber vegetables. Fact 12: Rich in Vitamins and Minerals Mexican cuisine is typically rich in vitamins and minerals. Ingredients like tomatoes, peppers, and avocados provide significant amounts of Vitamin C, A, and potassium. Fact 13: Balanced Proteins Mexican food often features a healthy balance of proteins. Beans and corn, which are staples in the diet, together form a complete protein. Fact 14: Potential for Lower Calorie While many popularized versions of Mexican food are high in calories, traditional Mexican dishes can often be made as lower-calorie options. By focusing on fresh vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, many Mexican dishes can be part of a balanced diet. Fact 15: Probiotic Benefits Fermented foods like pickled vegetables and certain types of salsas are often found in Mexican cuisine. These foods contain beneficial bacteria that can aid in digestion. Influence on Global Cuisine Fact 16: Tex-Mex Tex-Mex is a fusion of Mexican and American cuisines, originating from the border states of Texas and Mexico. Notable dishes include nachos, hardshell tacos, and chili con carne. Fact 17: Mexican Street Food Mexican street food, or antojitos, is popular worldwide. Tacos, quesadillas, and churros have found their way into global street food culture. Fact 18: Influence in the Philippines Mexico’s culinary influence can be seen in Filipino cuisine due to the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade (1565-1815). Dishes like adobo and lechon show evidence of this historical link. Fact 19: Nachos Around the World Nachos, despite being a relatively modern and non-traditional dish, have gained international popularity. They are enjoyed with a variety of toppings across the globe. Fact 20: Tequila’s Global Popularity Tequila, a Mexican-origin spirit, is enjoyed around the world, often in cocktails like the Margarita. It’s a testament to the global influence of Mexican beverages. Traditional Dishes Fact 21: Tacos Predate the Europeans The origins of the taco, a staple of Mexican cuisine, are believed to predate the arrival of Europeans in Mexico. Anthropological evidence suggests that the indigenous people living in the lake region of the Valley of Mexico traditionally ate tacos filled with small fish. Fact 22: Mole’s Many Varieties Mole, a traditional Mexican sauce, comes in various colors and flavors. These can include mole negro, mole rojo, and mole verde, each offering a unique blend of spices, chilies, and sometimes even chocolate. Fact 23: The Birth of Chiles en Nogada The patriotic dish, Chiles en Nogada, was reportedly invented by nuns in Puebla in the 19th century. The dish’s colors—green chile, white walnut sauce, and red pomegranate seeds—mirror the Mexican flag. Fact 24: The Importance of Pozole Pozole, a traditional soup made with hominy (dried corn kernels), meat, and garnished with shredded lettuce, chili pepper, radish, onion, lime, and oregano, is often served on special occasions, particularly Mexico’s Independence Day. Fact 25: Tamales: A Celebration Food Tamales, made of masa (a dough from corn) filled with meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, or chilies, wrapped in a corn husk and steamed, are often made for celebrations. The process is labor-intensive, making them a special treat. Culinary Techniques Fact 26: Nixtamalization Nixtamalization is a culinary technique where corn is soaked and cooked in an alkaline solution, usually limewater, then hulled. This process, used in Mexican cuisine, significantly enriches the nutritional value of maize. Fact 27: Stone Grinding Maize Traditional Mexican cuisine often involves grinding maize on a stone slab with a cylindrical stone, or metate. This process helps to produce a finer dough for tortillas and tamales. Fact 28: Pit Cooking Barbacoa, a cooking method that involves slow-cooking meat (usually lamb or beef) in a pit, is a traditional technique still used in many parts of Mexico. Fact 29: The Art of Tamale Wrapping Wrapping tamales is an art form in itself. Whether it’s in corn husks or banana leaves, the wrapping process is usually a family affair with many hands helping out. Fact 30: Clay Pot Cooking Mexican cuisine often involves cooking in clay pots, which are believed to impart a unique flavor to the food. This technique is especially used in making traditional dishes like mole and stews. Fact 31: Roasting Chili Peppers Roasting chilli peppers is a popular way to prepare chili peppers in Mexican cuisine. This process enhances the flavor of the peppers and makes the skin easier to remove. PinYumTweetShareTelegramVibeFlip0 Shares Leave a Comment Cancel Reply Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Recipe Rating Recipe Rating Δ You may also like Keeping the Zesty Goodness Fresh: Can You Freeze... The Ultimate Guide to Freezing and Defrosting Cheese The Complete Guide to Freezing and Defrosting Cheesecake How to make an omelet: principles + 4... 30+ Spanish Cuisine Food Facts: General, Fun, Nutrition 31 Italian Food Facts: General, Fun, Regional and... How to cut onions: Peel, Chop, Dice, Rings,... How to cook buckwheat quickly and deliciously How to cook bulgur correctly: all cooking methods Couscous – what it is, its varieties and... Alex Bayev Hi, I'm Alex Bayev, bayevskitchen.com founder and food blogger who is passionate about cooking and photography. Since starting my blog in 2015, I have been sharing simple yet elegant recipes made with high-quality ingredients that anyone can recreate at home. I believe that food has the power to create unforgettable experiences.