Mexico cuisine and Mexican restaurants offer the recipes that define a cuisine as ancient as the Maya, as modern as Mexico City, as diverse as the culture all gathered from the country's regional kitchens and showcased in spectacular local settings.
Just as the people of Mexico are now mainly of mixed European and Indian heritage, so is the cuisine a dramatic creation of true fusion food. It is this unique mixture of ingredients and flavorings, woven together through tradition, that informs the well-loved dishes here, gathered from nearly half of Mexico's 31 states.
No doubt, you can try a Mexican food in one of Mexican restaurants in your country. However, a real Mexican food is quite unlike the dishes found in most Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants. In tourist areas you will find Mexican restaurants with familiar names and gringo menus, though the offerings will often be over-priced and not of a high standard.
If you have a taste for adventure you will be well rewarded in Mexico; if not stick to a few simple and traditional Mexican dishes that are almost always excellent and not too spicy. You will find standards much higher than if you search the menus for something familiar.
Once you have settled down, however, do try some of the regional specialties. It is all part of the experience, and for many people Mexican food is one of the great attractions of a vacation.
Why not to try in Mexican restaurants a salsa-drenched fish taco from a tiny stand in Ensenada, or one filled with succulent pieces of pork from a street vendor in Michoacan? If you crave something more elegant, have a delicate mushroom crepe in one of Mexico City's fine restaurants, or join a family birthday dinner in Puebla, with everyone sharing in the centuries-old celebratory meal of mole poblano.
Experience the moment of discovery over and over again in the foods of each region. This diversity fascinates, each dish a piece of the culinary mosaic that distinguishes the cuisine of Mexico. Make a culinary journey! Know the taste of tortillas - the staple food of generations of ordinary Mexicans, tortillas can be made of flour (more common in the north) or maize (the traditional method and still the most common in the south). Often served alongside a meal as bread would be, tortillas are also used in many typical dishes - rolled and baked for enchiladas, fried for tacos or grilled for quesadillas.
While in Mexican restaurant order Frijoles (beans) - a good source of protein, beans of different varieties are most commonly boiled and then fried. They can be a main ingredient in a meal or served almost as a garnish. Or Salsa - is actually just a sauce, although it is most commonly associated with the red or green mix of tomatoes, onion, chili and cilantro (coriander) served on your table as a relish or a dip. Beware of Salsa habaãero in innocuous bottles like small jars of ketchup, and always try just a little salsa first as a precaution.
And, certainly, do not forget about Tequila! This infamous spirit is most commonly served to tourists in the form of a margarita - mixed with lime juice in salt-rimmed glasses. It is actually derived from the maguey plant - a spiky bush often seen growing in fields. Mezcal is a cruder form of Tequila traditionally served with a worm in the bottle - the worm should be eaten when the bottle is finished!