There are many things to relate Mexico with, but perhaps the most popular is food. Many travellers frequently comment that they are thrilled by the exotic flavours flowing inside their mouths; flavours so intense and rich that you can fall in love with the culture. You may have been to the famous Mexican beach in Cancun, but you’re missing out if you’ve never tried the food during Christmas time. There are a lot of special dishes that can only be found during the festivities and they fall mostly into two categories: the first four dishes below are found in general festivities, whilst the last four special meals are reserved for the bigger festivities like Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
Mexico is legendarily the land of Maize, which is why this dish has a special meaning to Mexicans. It is a stew made of hominy and chicken or pork, with both vegetarian and non-spicy versions available. Common optional ingredients to add are spicy salsas, chili peppers, avocado, and chicharrón (fried pork skin).
Tamale is a millennial dish that dates back to at least 5,000 BC. It is a piece of boiled maize dough filled either with stewed pork, stewed chicken (an option with mole is available), chilli, beans, or fruits, wrapped with corn or banana leaves. There is a new trend of having more exotic ingredients, which are worth to try: cream cheese with fruits, chocolate, hazelnut cream, among others.
Ponche (Christmas Punch)
Ponche is a tropical fruit punch added with piloncillo (dark cane sugar). It also has added fruit that comes in big pieces and can include: apple, pear, tejocotes (a smaller version of a peach), prunes, raisins, oranges, and for decoration, a piece of sugar cane stick.
If you feel more like having something sweet, a great option is to try a churro. Churros are a traditional pastry of fried dough, powdered with sugar. They can be filled or poured with chocolate or cajeta (a goat’s milk-based syrup caramel). Coffee or hot chocolate are the traditional drinks that go along with them.
Bacalao (Salted Cod)
The proper name of the dish is Bacalao a la Vizcaína, for it mixes Mediterranean and Mexican ingredients. The special chilli used in Bacalao is Banana Pepper, which is barely found outside the country. Its spiciness is very mild, so it’s a good option if you want to start getting used to the marvellous taste of chillies. The mixture of cod, chilli, and olives is what makes Mexicans yearn 11 months a year before tasting it again.
The literal translation of Romeritos would be “Little Rosemary”, but it shouldn’t mislead you for this ingredient is not used at all in this dish. Romeritos is a very traditional dish that mixes the leaves of Suaeda or seepweeds, with a dark Mole. This mixture is served with prawns, potatoes, and prawn-dust patties. Fresh baked bread is a great companion for this meal.
Pavo Relleno (Stuffed Turkey)
If you prefer to recall the feeling of a Thanksgiving turkey, the Mexican version includes some ingredients that will indeed thrill you. As the usual recipe says, the turkey is stuffed and baked in an oven, but the Mexican twist is that the stuffing is usually a type of minced meat stew called Picadillo. We recommend that you to try it in a taco at one of the many authentic taco restaurants first; you won’t regret it!
Pierna al Horno (Roasted Pork Leg)
If you feel like having a greater dose of meat, we recommend the Pierna al Horno. Ingredients such as chilli, piloncillo, thyme and bay, all sodden in orange juice, will please even the strictest of tastes.
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