Authentic Mexican Food

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Joined Apr 26, 2012
I am sure most of us are aware that the Mexican food we find in the United States is quite a variation from authentic foods found in Mexico. Here are some of the more popular Mexican foods that were either taken from actual Mexican dishes or are completely an American invention...
  • Tacos - American crunchy or hard tacos are an American variation. Authentic Mexican tacos are made using small, soft corn tortillas and are typically filled with grilled meat and topped with cilantro and onion. We refer to them sometimes as "street tacos", as they are often sold from taco venders from trucks.
  • Salsa - Salsa simply means sauce in Spanish. It is an authentic Mexican side and is usually made by a variety of methods including salsa rojo, pico de gallo, salsa negro, and salsa verde.
  • Burritos - The American version of the burrito is far larger and much more elaborate than the Mexican version. Authentic Mexican burritos are usually small and thin, with flour tortillas containing only one or two ingredients, and are only eaten in the northern part of Mexico.
  • Enchiladas - These did actually originated in Mexico. However, like many dishes, they are much simpler than the American style enchilada. We tend to bury these in cheese and sauce. In their original form, the Mexican enchilada was simply a corn tortilla dipped in a chili sauce and eaten with no fillings. You can now find many varieties of enchiladas in Mexico, however cheddar cheese is nowhere to be found. They are more likely to have a sprinkle of grated cotija cheese over red chili sauce.
I am sure there must be some authentic Mexican dishes you have available here in America. Please share.
 
4,039
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Joined Dec 18, 2010
There is PLENTY of authentic Mexican food, from the many regions of Mexico, in Los Angeles. Both street food and restaurants. Most announce the regional origins on their signage. There is also a lot of Tex-Mex and Cal-Mex too. And... Mexican inspired American food like Taco Bell. :)
 
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Joined Sep 5, 2008
You think Americans bastardized Mexican cuisine? Wait 'till you travel a bit further. Have a look at these Tacos that can be found in North Africa. One of them contains chicken nuggets, a hamburger patty and french fries. Yes, the french fries are inside. In fact all of them have french fries inside. Hey, at least they have one they call "Tacos Mexico". Not sure what those are inside though. Breaded cheese sticks with tomato sauce? Or you could go for the Cordon Bleu taco: breaded chicken cutlet stuffed with ham and cheese, delicately nested with a bed of french fries inside the tortilla.

46001163_1049446738561169_1652919190362783744_n.jpg

Here in France we also have tacos. Here's one they call the "gourmet" taco. Don't ask.

tacos-gratiné-impensable.jpg
 
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french fries french fries : those N African taco's look like what we get as shawarma. And also with french fries inside. Soggy french fries.....
They are not bad as long as you remember to tell the guys in time that they should leave those french fries out
 
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Joined Aug 13, 2019
This is the kind of food we eat at home, barbecoa, cecina, tinga, etc. What is authentic anyway, caesar salad from tijuana?
 

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Joined Nov 27, 2012
Whatever floats you boat really. All bastardizations are good, they open the way for interest and eventually demand for the good stuff.
 
180
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Joined Nov 27, 2012
Same thing here in China shit everywhere, bad Mexican food has been here for awhile but it sparked peoples interest and eventually we are getting a demand for better Mexican.
I am working on getting a tortilleria going in the middle of Beijing in the near future. It will be afucking blast. Sourcing the corn will be nightmare though.
 
102
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Joined Apr 26, 2012
Same thing here in China shit everywhere, bad Mexican food has been here for awhile but it sparked peoples interest and eventually we are getting a demand for better Mexican.
I am working on getting a tortilleria going in the middle of Beijing in the near future. It will be afucking blast. Sourcing the corn will be nightmare though.
Check suppliers here in the states. Cargill, Masienda, Woodland Foods.
 
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Joined Apr 26, 2012
It is interesting that there are so many attempts in other cultures to create Mexican food that is not recognizable or has become another style of cuisine entirely.

I brought up this topic, in part, because for some reason Mexican food seems to be notorious for turning out so different in other cultures. This is not true for many types of cuisine. Indian food, for example, in places such as Australia is very close to the authentic cuisine found in India.

In America, we have even developed an entirely new sub-cuisine called Tex-Mex, which bears little resemblance to authentic Mexican food. I am not saying this is bad at all. Tex-Mex has some very good types of foods. But the authentic Mexican food made and found in Mexico is simply not the same.

There is absolutely a large population of southern California that comes directly from Mexico and these richly diverse people have brought much of their recipes. However, a large portion of it stays in the home and culture of these families.

Rick Bayless is well known for his recipes that are directly from Mexico. He acquired these by traveling in Mexico and going directly to the people to learn exactly how they cook, how they raise their food, and how they put together these recipes. But he is unique in this way. Most of the Mexican restaurants, especially chain restaurants, in the US have popularized the American version of many of these foods.

It is good to see more expansion of authentic Mexican foods here in American. With the sharing of information, the Internet, and more open culture, we have been able to see more exposure to this delicious cuisine.
 
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Joined Aug 13, 2019
It is interesting that there are so many attempts in other cultures to create Mexican food that is not recognizable or has become another style of cuisine entirely.

I brought up this topic, in part, because for some reason Mexican food seems to be notorious for turning out so different in other cultures. This is not true for many types of cuisine. Indian food, for example, in places such as Australia is very close to the authentic cuisine found in India.

In America, we have even developed an entirely new sub-cuisine called Tex-Mex, which bears little resemblance to authentic Mexican food. I am not saying this is bad at all. Tex-Mex has some very good types of foods. But the authentic Mexican food made and found in Mexico is simply not the same.

There is absolutely a large population of southern California that comes directly from Mexico and these richly diverse people have brought much of their recipes. However, a large portion of it stays in the home and culture of these families.

Rick Bayless is well known for his recipes that are directly from Mexico. He acquired these by traveling in Mexico and going directly to the people to learn exactly how they cook, how they raise their food, and how they put together these recipes. But he is unique in this way. Most of the Mexican restaurants, especially chain restaurants, in the US have popularized the American version of many of these foods.

It is good to see more expansion of authentic Mexican foods here in American. With the sharing of information, the Internet, and more open culture, we have been able to see more exposure to this delicious cuisine.
Really think cuisine south of the border is a mix, it might be better to distinguish between indigenous and the blend of European and indigenous that is known as mexican cuisine. We must not forget how integral the americas were in supplying things such as tomatoes, candy squash, corn, chocolate, coffee, and so many others, that define food as we know it , within modern European cuisine. Crazy to think about food before the americas.
 
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Joined Apr 26, 2012
Really think cuisine south of the border is a mix, it might be better to distinguish between indigenous and the blend of European and indigenous that is known as mexican cuisine. We must not forget how integral the americas were in supplying things such as tomatoes, candy squash, corn, chocolate, coffee, and so many others, that define food as we know it , within modern European cuisine. Crazy to think about food before the americas.
I agree. The southwestern United States cuisine is heavily influenced by our Mexican neighbors. Tex-Mex is a perfect example. A blend of Texas range food and Mexican cuisine. The original "cowboy" not only ate many Mexican inspired foods, but also merged with that culture.
 
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Joined Dec 18, 2010
I'm getting a real sense of cultural misunderstanding, or at least one that may not fully understand history. While some adaptation of traditional Mexican cuisine has happened like adding cheese and lettuce to a "traditional" taco dorado and selling it at Taco Bell, it is still a taco dorado, which is part of the regional Mexican cuisine. Likewise, what is common today as fajitas, a Tex-Mex "invention" that adds vegetable to grilled meat is a derivation of traditional Mexican cuisine.

Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California were inhabited by indigenous people and were part of Mexico (under Spanish or Mexican regimes) for longer than they have been under control of "white folk" (for lack of a better expression) or part of the United States. These cuisines could justifiably be considered just another regional cuisine of Mexico.

What is currently viewed as "real Mexican food" today seems to be that which is true to specific regions and brought North by recent immigrants. It is, indeed, traditional regional Mexican cuisine... and a lot closer to what they eat at home and on the streets.

But Southwestern cuisine probably should be viewed as Mexican cuisine that has been influenced by gringos rather than the other way around!
 
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... and let's face it... when talking about "authentic cuisine" of most countries, we likely to have a diversity of opinion due to regionality. What, after all, is authentic Italian food? Or authentic Chinese food? Or German. Or...

These, and many others have rich historical regional cuisines that really can't be "averaged" and called by the current country name.
 
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Joined Apr 26, 2012
OK,
I have done some research and the taco predates the Spanish arrival and before the writings of the Spanish Conquistadors. There is early anthropological evidence that the indigenous people would fill tortillas with fish.

That's an interesting fact. But whether that food resembles at all the flavors, spices, oils or methods of cooking and similarly grown and raised ingredients of today... who knows?

And that is not the point of my post... to nail down the exact etymology and history of foods.

Like I said, there is a clear difference between Mexican foods in the United States and Mexico, some of it due to distance, history, influences and culture. I was not trying to start a debate between what is or is not authentic Mexican food.
 
53
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Joined Aug 13, 2019
I'm getting a real sense of cultural misunderstanding, or at least one that may not fully understand history. While some adaptation of traditional Mexican cuisine has happened like adding cheese and lettuce to a "traditional" taco dorado and selling it at Taco Bell, it is still a taco dorado, which is part of the regional Mexican cuisine. Likewise, what is common today as fajitas, a Tex-Mex "invention" that adds vegetable to grilled meat is a derivation of traditional Mexican cuisine.

Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California were inhabited by indigenous people and were part of Mexico (under Spanish or Mexican regimes) for longer than they have been under control of "white folk" (for lack of a better expression) or part of the United States. These cuisines could justifiably be considered just another regional cuisine of Mexico.

What is currently viewed as "real Mexican food" today seems to be that which is true to specific regions and brought North by recent immigrants. It is, indeed, traditional regional Mexican cuisine... and a lot closer to what they eat at home and on the streets.

But Southwestern cuisine probably should be viewed as Mexican cuisine that has been influenced by gringos rather than the other way around!
Taco dorado might by called a tostada in mexico. Not folded, but, flat and round. The mother of my children is from mexico.....so most of the food I recreate is from a certain region. I look at much of the food as I do north american bbq. So diverse, so different across various regions. I also notice the influx of afro caribbean culture in food, especially in coastal areas both north and south of acapulco. Its just a world of good food, unraveling like a piece of rope. I love the food.
 
102
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Joined Apr 26, 2012
Taco dorado might by called a tostada in mexico. Not folded, but, flat and round. The mother of my children is from mexico.....so most of the food I recreate is from a certain region. I look at much of the food as I do north american bbq. So diverse, so different across various regions. I also notice the influx of afro caribbean culture in food, especially in coastal areas both north and south of acapulco. Its just a world of good food, unraveling like a piece of rope. I love the food.
S STEPHEN WOODARD
This is my point regarding the sharing and exposure to what you or your kids' mom grew up with. Much of your culture and foods are passed on through family.

I grew up in Southern California and the influence of Mexican Culture there is very strong. Yet, I had not even tasted nopales (Mexican cactus paddles) until a couple years ago when I was visiting a family from Mexico in Los Angeles. We have eaten at many Mexican restaurants in LA and I've never even seen nopales listed on a menu. This is not to say it can't be found, but I have never seen them.

Mexican food in the United States is widely available, but the food industry here tends to serve what sells. And cactus paddles is not a popular choice in American Mexican food.
 
4,039
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Joined Dec 18, 2010
Taco dorado might by called a tostada in mexico.
Yes... absolutely... and if rolled it would be called a taquito or rolled taco. Depends on where one is.

likewise, in some parts of Mexico a quesadilla is little more than a taco with cheese in it, yet it is not called a taco. In SoCal it is familiar but more Sonoran, featuring flour tortilla. :)
 
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Joined Dec 18, 2010
We have eaten at many Mexican restaurants in LA and I've never even seen nopales listed on a menu. This is not to say it can't be found, but I have never seen them.
Nopales is a great example. Not sure when you left LA or what kind of places you ate Mexican food. Nopales are rarely, if ever, seen in the commercialized “gringo” chain restaurants. But those restaurants are a poor choice for getting acquainted with the vast and tasty Mexican cuisines (intentionally written as a plural!).

Even in some smaller and “more authentic” restaurants they aren’t seen too often because they take a lot of prep. Maybe they don’t sell well either, I’m not exactly sure.

I think there are a lot of reasons why traditional cuisines mutate like they do.
 
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