Finding Fine Mexican Cuisine
With a long land border with the southern United States, Mexico has, for centuries, been a juggernaut in the scene of local cuisine, and both authentic and Americanized recipes and dishes from Mexico and its borders with Texas have spread across the United States, ending up in many popular restaurants and home recipes alike. Today, Mexican food is bigger than ever, and is often the most popular foreign food in any region or city. Tacos, nachos, burritos, enchiladas, and many more, both authentic and Tex-Mex, dominate the American collective concept of good food. Top Mexican restaurants can be found nearly anywhere, whether close to the Mexican border or not, and top Mexican restaurants can bring the exotic and flavorful taste of Mexico to any table.
The History of Mexican Food
Due to Spanish contact and intermingling with native Mexican populations, the concept of “Mexican food” has changed over the centuries and draws on a number of sources. Native peoples such as the Mayans and Aztecs made good use of local ingredients for their cuisine, such as beans, born, peppers, fruits, and chocolate, as well as livestock such as chicken, turkey, and duck. The tomatillo is a fruit that definitely goes back at least to 800 BC in native recipes, and it is the word for “round and plump” in some native languages.
Later, when Spain invaded Mexico and colonized the area, Spanish cuisine was introduced, along with its ingredients. New live stock such as sheep, cows, and pigs were infused into local cuisine, as well as dairy products, garlic, and various herbs, wheats, and spices. A few centuries later, after this Mexican cuisine was well defined, it came into contact with American settlers in the modern Texas region, where beef and wheat were common ingredients in food. Here, where Mexico met the growing United States, what we today call Tex-Mex was born, where Mexican-inspired foods gained new ingredients typical of the Texas region. Original Mexican food, rather than wheat and beef, often involves chicken, white cheese, avocado, and limes, and it may sometimes be overshadowed by the more commercially widespread Tex-Mex. Today, the best Mexican cuisine may contain any or all of these sources of inspiration, and top Mexican restaurants can cater to nearly any patron’s palate.
Mexican Food Today
By now, Mexican food has easily made its way into top restaurants across the nation, as well as smaller restaurant chains, “Mom and Pop” restaurants, and more. It also stands as a very popular choice for home cooking, and ingredients for Mexican cuisine, especially Tex-Mex, can range from shredded cheese to taco shells to beef and diced tomatoes, and these and may more ingredients are easily found in most grocery stores. In fact, based on U.S. Census data and Simmons National Consumer Survey (NHCS), some 233.28 million Americans had used Mexican foods and ingredients for home cooking in the year 2017. Often, ingredients touted as “restaurant style” or restaurant quality can be found, from corn chips to tortillas to salsa, and this can bring the taste of Mexico to the home kitchen. Meanwhile, top Mexican restaurants offer an even wider variety of dishes and the work of professional chefs for patrons across the United States, whether in areas with high Hispanic populations like Texas and Florida, or anywhere else, too.