Photography and travel blog

Mexican Meals

I’ve always had a fondness for Mexican food and it was one of the primary reasons why I decided to go to Mexico. I knew that Toronto had less than authentic Mexican food, but I was still surprised by the delights and not-so-delights awaiting me there. I discovered that:

  • I don’t like corn tortillas. They are too starchy, chewy and bland.
  • Mexicans really love ice cream. Consequently, the quality there is high.
  • Mexican chocolate is gross, gross, gross. It’s extremely granular and leaves a thick paste in the mouth after eating.
  • Corn on the cob slathered with butter, cheese, chili flakes and lime juice is not appetizing!
  • Tortas, tostadas and tortilla soup are addictive.

Most Mexican meals are based around tortillas, beans, meat and veggies. The toppings or the way the tortilla is prepared seem to determine when one dish is given a different name from another. In the end, almost all antojitos tasted the same to me although I’m sure Mexicans would beg to differ. When we were in Tulum, my friend and I frequented a restaurant, El Rincon, which served antojitos. On the menu, salbutes and panuchos were listed. The description didn’t tell me much so I asked the waiter, a Ray Romano lookalike, if they were similar. “No, muy differentes!” is what I was told. When I asked how it was “muy differentes”, he said panuchos have beans while salbutes do not.

Mexico City was a disappointment for food. Oaxaca had delicious and interesting food. San Cristobal had more international restaurants than local ones. The food got better as we inched towards the Yucatan, save one bad meal in Campeche (see below). The food at the beginning of our trip was pretty bland.

Here is a list of foods I tried/saw in Mexico:

Flautas – Mexico City, Mexico – My first meal in Mexico and a great disappointment! It overwhelmingly tasted like bad, reused oil. 1/10.

 

Torta de pollo – Mexico City, Mexico – The beginning of my love affair with the torta. It usually consists of meat (chicken was my choice), avocado, beans and fried onions. Pickled jalapenos (yum!) and salsas are usually served on the side. 10/10.

 

Totopos – Oaxaca City, Mexico – Totopos are deep-fried, triangular pieces of tortilla. They are delicious. This photo is from a semi-fancy restaurant where they served the chips with ground beef. 9/10.

 

Totopo Con Carne – Oaxaca City, Mexico –  A healthier version of the deep-fried totopo. The totopo was one giant piece (rather than the usual triangular piece) and was baked, not deep-fried. Beef and veggies were on top. 6/10.

 

Deep-fried grasshoppers – Oaxaca City, Mexico – I wasn’t brave enough to try. My friend tried it and the foodie she is, mentions how it’s really limy instead of making a disgusted face. Bravo, Melissa!

 

Amarillo de res – Oaxaca, Mexico – A stew with ox tail. I hadn’t had ox tail for around 14 years even though it was a pretty common soup base in my household growing up. 6/10

 

Tacos con carne – San Cristobal de las Casa, Mexico – Taco with beef. Overpriced and boring. 5/10

 

Sopa de Tortilla – San Cristobal de las Casa, Mexico – Tomato-based chicken broth with avocado, lime and crunchy pieces of tortilla. I’m not usually a big fan of lime in soups, but I love it in tortilla soup. A new obsession. 10/10

 

Tacos with beans and avocado – Campeche, Mexico – A fancy restaurant serves fancy tacos. We sit right by the window but it faces the Campeche wall. The weird view is compensated by a three-piece guitar band, one member who, with a missing finger and moustache, looks like a Mexican villain in a movie.

 

Worst meal ever – Campeche, Mexico – How many ways are there to say disgusting in Mexico? Apparently three. Serve totopos with not-so-fresh shark meat. Then serve a not-so-fresh fish with scales and organ fat. And top it off with very-not-so-fresh shrimp in a disgusting cocktail sauce. I think the fish they showed us to demonstrate its freshness came from a dried-ice box. Worst meal ever *comic guy’s voice*. 0/10.

 

Tostado de pollo – Tulum, Mexico – Tostada, a flat, deep-fried circular piece of tortilla, prepared by an obese woman with a grill and tables on a sidewalk, watching Mexican soaps on a heavy TV lugged down by her teenaged son, spawns a new obsession in a Korean-Canadian girl. Who woulda thunk it? 10/10.

 

Salbute and Panucho – Tulum, Mexico – See above for explanation. 9/10.

 

Yummy chicken stewed in a tomato-based sauce with potatoes and carrots. Mark deducted because portion is not big enough for this always hungry girl. 8/10.

 

Sopa de Lima – Tulum, Mexico – Sopa de Lima tastes a lot like Sopa de Tortilla but with vegetables and more lime. I’m not complaining. It’s still delicious and it ails a cold and sore throat. 9/10.

 

Taco de Pescado – Cancun, Mexico – So this is how fish is supposed to taste? Tacos are still too starchy but the filling is good. 9/10.

 

Burrito de pollo – Cancun, Mexico – Finally, a burrito! Wow, tortilla tastes so much better fried. It’s not as chewy. The way the chicken is handled by the cook is questionable but the meat is tender. Mass marks deducted because the meal is too salty. 6/10.

 

Shrimp Fajitas – Cancun, Mexico – Last meal in Mexico: shrimp fajitas. I was tempted to go back to a torta or tostada but opted for something different. The meal is good but like most Yucatanese food, it is much too salty. What happened to the blandness of Mexico City? 7/10.

 

Salsa – San Cristobal de las casa – Salsas were served with every meal. I wonder if the Mexican flag is based on salsa colours?

Other foods tried but not photographed by me: tortilla with red sauce (which is actually yellow), tortilla with flowers, fresh trout with rice and veggies (yum!), chile relleno (stuffed chili pepper), quesadilla (with nothing else but cheese, yuck), Oaxacan-style tamal with mole sauce, Yucatan-style tamal with chicken, Tejate (a disgusting corn drink), wafer with nutella and delicious fruit shakes.

I left Mexico with a fondness for tortas, tostadas, tortilla soup and a very full belly.



1 thought on “Mexican Meals”

  • The good, the bad and the ugly! I’m so hungry for a piece of that torta or that limey soup right now. Thanks for sharing đŸ™‚

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