Uno Más Por Favor
Spicy tacos, satisfying soups and refreshing agua fresca: Mexican chefs are taking south-of-the-border cuisine to a whole new level. And we have the recipes.
AUTHENTIC RECIPES FROM THE PEOPLE WHO KNOW THEM
Steeped in history and packed with the punch of New World heat, Mexico’s cuisine covers a vast array of flavors, regions and stories. Get to know them with these south-of-the-border recipes to try at home. ¡Buen provecho!
TWith excerpts and recipes adapted from Lonely Planet’s Mexico From the Source, written by
KATE ARMSTRONG, KRISTIN DIAZ DE SANDI, SCARLETT LINDEMAN, JOHN HECHT & MICHELE PETERSON
Photographs by LINDSAY LAUCKNER GUNDLOCK Illustrations by LOUISE SHEERAN
he story of Mexican cuisine is an epic spanning eras, landscapes and people. It begins in Mesoamerica, with characters from the pre–Columbian cultures of the Aztec and Maya. Today, many local staples come from the Aztec diet, which was primarily vegetarian and centered around corn. In Yucatán, ancient Maya flavors live on in the often-used ingredients of lime, orange and the notorious habanero chili pepper. The arrival of the Spanish brought domesticated animals and European cooking techniques, giving the nation new twists on old methods, a tradition that continues to this day.
Today, Mexico is home to one of the world’s most renowned street food cultures. In Mexico City, antojitos (street-food bites) bestow the streets with scents of homemade salsa, rich onion- and beef-topped chalupas, and woody, blackened corn. Head to Oaxaca for a colorful street food scene with snacks like garnachas, originally served as party food at velas (festivals). Venture to Puebla and you’ll experience the city that gave birth to the chocolate-and-chili mole poblano.
A blossoming gourmet scene also has established itself in the country. In Baja California, upmarket seafood, trendy craft breweries and vineyards stretch across one of the world’s largest peninsulas. In coastal restaurants here, young chefs mix local delicacies like lobster and fish tacos with contemporary Asian flavors. On the Pacific Coast, diners eat on sun-soaked terraces alongside shrimp markets, sampling local fruits, herbs and edible flowers that complement exotic dishes like fish and coconut ceviche.
In spite of Mexico’s regional variations, the overriding theme is a collective resourcefulness. Communities unite in preparing for fiestas, where food is created both to feed the masses and deliver a celebratory exclamation point. Dishes come alive in the pueblos, with festivities marking patron saint celebrations, weddings and birthdays – especially quinceañeras (15th birthday celebrations) – think warming chiles en nogada, pork tacos and pots of pozole stew.
This is the essence of what makes Mexican cuisine unique: a fusion of Old World and New World; local, fresh ingredients; and a strong sense of community. So pull up a chair. We have some stories – and some recipes – for you.