Mexican Food: Facts and Fiction

Having eaten in countless Mexican restaurants and considering myself to be a true burrito, fajita and quesadilla lover, I was somewhat shocked by the authentic Mexican cuisine served up during my trip to Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Mexican Food Facts and Fiction: Steak fajita filling
Steak fajita filling via Flickr, Ginny CC2.0

Mexican Food Facts and Fiction

When I got home, I did a bit of research and found out that most of the food we think of as Mexican couldn’t possibly be further away from the truth. If you’re planning a trip to Mexico and don’t want to get caught out or just want to show off to your friends with some foodie trivia, take a look at these myths we conceive to be true about Mexican food and the facts that put them to shame.

Fiction: Mexican food is always smothered in melted cheese

Mexican food facts: Cheese is hardly ever used in real Mexican recipes and when it is, it’s used very sparingly. Whereas the rest of the world tends to smother enchiladas and the like with molten cheese to add flavour and a creamy texture, Mexican cuisine relies of delicious homemade sauces created from ground spices and fresh herbs to enhance the flavour.

Mexican Food Facts and Fiction: Open-Faced Steak Fajita
Open-Faced Steak Fajita via Flickr, Jeffreyw CC2.0

Fiction: A taco is a crisp, deep-fried semi-circular tortilla that comes out of a packet

Mexican food facts: An authentic Mexican taco is more like what we would call a tortilla – a soft round flat bread made from corn or wheat flour. Mexican tacos are one of the most popular bases for meals and are usually served flat, ready to be topped with a handful of ingredients before being folded in half and enjoyed.

Mexican Food Facts and Fiction: Pork Carnitas Taco
Pork Carnitas Taco via Flickr, CC2.0

Fiction: Mexican food is all deep-fried and full of fat

Mexican food facts: Typical Mexican food is actually pretty healthy – the stuff that we usually consider to be genuinely Mexican is normally more Tex-Mex or even Cal-Mex. Calorie-packed dishes like nachos, chimichangas and fried ice cream have all been adopted from locations across the border and aren’t authentically Mexican. Most real Mexican dishes are comprised of slow-cooked meat, fresh produce and grilled seafood – all of which are good for you.

Mexican Food Facts and Fiction: Prawn ceviche
Prawn ceviche via Flickr, Gustavo Andrade CC2.0

Fiction: Margaritas are served in sugar-rimmed glasses

Mexican food facts: Margaritas are usually served in salt-rimmed glasses – not sugar-rimmed. This tradition stems from hundreds of years ago when locals would do it in order to improve the nasty taste of cheap tequila. Whilst it’s not to everyone’s taste, having your glassed rimmed with sugar is the traditional way to sip a margarita.

Mexican Food Facts and Fiction: Salt-rimmed margarita
Salt-rimmed margarita at Fred’s via Flickr, Ralph Daily CC2.0

Ready to forget everything you thought you knew about Mexican food and experience the real stuff first hand? Then make Mexico your next holiday destination! If you love culture and historic sites, check out hotels in Oaxaca or if you want something more lively and party-orientated, try hotels in Cancun instead.

If you hate being stuck in one place for too long, you can also visit Mexico as part of a Panama Canal cruise and visit a host of other exciting destinations in North, Central and South America along the way.

About Nicola Quinn


Nicola is a travel and food writer living in the Canary Islands who loves exploring far-off places, pushing herself to the limit and trying local eats wherever she goes.

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One Response

  1. Avatar for Nicola Quinn

    Mexican Desserts

    I love mexican food and this recipe is mouthwatering. Good description about mexican food facts and fiction.


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