Mexican Foods to Try When You Dine

by James Eder on March 6, 2012

Champurrado - Empanada - TortaStepping into a restaurant in a foreign country can be a tough experience if you aren’t prepared. What if you can’t understand the menu? What if you can’t understand the waiter? Is there anything you might not like that you should specifically avoid? These are all serious questions, but most of your problems can be alleviated by a little research before you leave. Here are some Mexican Meals to try when dining in that part of the world, so you can enjoy new taste sensations and actually know what you’re getting.

Guacamole (literally “avocado paste”) is a sauce created by mashing avocados in a mortar, occasionally with other ingredients like tomato, onion, or lime juice for added flavors. Guacamole can often be found inside of a torta (which, in Mexico, is a type of firm sandwich with beef or chicken), offering a smooth and pleasant lunchtime experience. For a relatively safe culinary bet, looking for these two words together is a great start. For those who’d enjoy all of their meal to be milder, they can also order horchata with their meal; made from rice and cinnamon (and, in some places, vanilla), this is a sweet and often milky drink that can be enjoyed at any time of day.

For more of an appetizer, you can order an empanada, a sort of bread or pastry that is first stuffed, then baked or fried. The stuffing of empanada varies widely, from meats and cheeses to fruits or vegetables, making this a very versatile dish. Pay attention to the time of day when asking for one, though; empanadas are often served in lighter versions for breakfast throughout Mexico, and it’s important to specify which type you’d like.

If you’re looking for something smooth as dessert, though, why not try some champurrado? Served warm, champurrado is a frothy, airy mixture made primarily from hominy flour, piloncillo (a sort of unrefined whole cane sugar), water or milk, chocolate, and flavorings such as anise seed, cinnamon, and vanilla that vary by region. Other ingredients may also be added to thicken the mixture based on individual recipes, and this unique mixture is enjoyed as much for breakfast as it is a late afternoon snack. However, it should be noted that champurrado is occasionally made with alcohol; best to check before ordering if this is a concern for you (and they may be willing to make it without the alcohol on request).

Though often famed as a land of spicy foods, Mexico’s cuisine actually extends across a far wider (and tastier) area than many know. These are just a few of the many foods available throughout Mexico, and if you’re planning to visit the country, it won’t hurt to look up a few more. You might just find a new favorite meal.

Photo Sources and Mexican Recipes:

Grilled Chicken Torta Recipe

Champurrado Recipe

Baked Pumpkin Empanada Recipe

Horchata Recipe

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

James Eder March 9, 2012 at 6:37 am

I’d really like to try champurrado sometime. Knowing that there are foods I can enjoy in a foreign country makes me much more willing to go there if I get the opportunity.

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