Unlike many other countries in Latin America, Mexican cuisine actually originated in Mexico and has evolved through the blending of indigenous cultures over time. The foods and dishes of Mexico are known for their colourful decoration and variety of flavours, hot spices and ingredients.
Corn and beans are the real staples of Mexican cuisine. Corn is one of the primary ingredients in masa which is dough used for making tamales, tortillas, gorditas and other corn-based foods.
Tamales are usually stuffed with cheese and shredded pork or beef and then wrapped in a corn husk so they can be steamed and served hot. Tamales are a dish that is traditionally eaten at Christmas time with red tamales stuffed with shredded beef in a red sauce and green tamales stuffed with cheese and a green chili pepper. Tacos are made from tortillas, which are either warmed or deep fried, and then stuffed with thin-cut steak, fish, pork or potatoes.
Corn is also eaten as a fresh vegetable, with corn on the cob being most popular. Other vegetables that are widely eaten in Mexico are squash and peppers. Peppers are typically eaten as part of a prepared dish, such as Chile Relleno, which is a large poblano pepper stuffed with cheese and / or meat, dipped in a batter and then deep fried and covered with tomato sauce. Tomatoes and avocados also readily available are usually eaten in the form of salsa and guacamole, which is used as a dip. Rice also plays an important role in Mexican foods.
Mexicans like to use a variety of spices in their dishes, with the most common ones being chiles, which have been grown in Mexico for thousands of years, along with cilantro, oregano, cumin, epazote, cinnamon and cocoa. They also use chipotle which is a smoke-dried jalapeño chile as well as garlic and onions. Honey is frequently found in many Mexican dishes such as the Rosca De Miel, a cake in a Bundt shape, and the beverage known as balché.
Due to the great size and varied geography of the country, Mexican cuisine can also vary by region, representing the varying degrees in which the Spanish influenced the indigenous inhabitants and populations. Northern Mexico is known for its goat and ostrich production and the many ways in which meat is prepared in the region. One well-known dish is carne asada, or grilled meat, where the beef is cut very thin and marinated with olive oil and sea salt or with a spice rub that can consist of garlic salt, lime, lemon and pepper, and Worcestershire sauce and then cooked on a grill.
The Yucatán region is known for its locally produced foods that use natural sweeteners for flavoring rather than spices, while the Oaxacan region is more traditionally Mexican with savory tamales, elaborate spicy sauces and tlayudas which consist of a large crunchy tortilla that is partially fried and toasted and covered with refried beans, lettuce, avocadoes, shredded chicken, beef tenderloin or pork, salsa and cheese from the region.
The southeastern part of Mexico also serves traditionally spicy food based on a combination of vegetables and chicken. Due to its location, seafood is commonly served in those areas that border the Pacific Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico. Cerviche is a popular seafood dish is these parts of Mexico.
All in all you would need an extensive trip to Mexico to savour all the diversity and variety of foods in the various regions of the country.