The good side of living in a different culture is that you start to learn about it, having a more realistic point of view.
Who had the possibility of eating japanese food in Japan, chinese in China, or maybe thai in Thailand will agree with me that 99% of the times what is said to be international food is never exactly prepared as it should be. And it is far from the exact flavour as when served in its home country.
I, for example, love chinese food in Brazil. When I lived in China, the local food did not appeal to me.
Here in Mexico I found an infinity of dishes that I have never heard about.
Living here, I finally understood that what I learnt about mexican food back home was simply what is labeled as Tex-Mex, which means the americanised version. It is very different from the authentic and peculiar gastronomy from the people around here at the other side of the imaginary wall of Mr. Trump.
To start, here mature cheese is not used on traditional plates, the authentic tortilha is really made of corn, and the nachos are seasoned like our dearest Doritos.
By the way, talking about corn, I see a glorification about it on the mexican table in various forms, and researching a little bit further, I discovered that the ingredient is one of the main local agricultural productions. There is also a relevance heritage from the aztecs.
The mythology says that corn has its origins from the nail of the god Cinteotl, corn god.
The coolest thing is to to see that despite the social class, or how many Michelin stars the restaurant has, every mexican grabs a taco by the hands, without formalities. (It’s beautiful to witness!)
Now, talking about desserts (and I’m an expert because this is my life addiction), here I have always noticed that sweets are actually less sweet than brazilian ones. I believe this is due to a different relationship to it, since all my mexican found ‘brigadeiro’, pies and tarts made by brazilians a little too sweet.
The tradicional rice with milk, flan and jelly are desserts that are always remembered here.
In this case, my favourite mexican sweet is ‘cajeta’: mexican ‘dulce de leche’ made exclusively from goat milk. (The flavour is very similar to the one made with cow’s milk).
‘But Hylka, how about the fame that the mexicans carry of eating hot peppers as no one else?’
Yes, the fame is true. The people here eats hot peppers (chilli) in every single dish and since their early ages! I see children consuming an enormous quantity of hot food in a level that I could never do it today.
Here, if you buy little fruits chopped on a stand around the corner, it can be accompanied of granola, honey or Tajin: a red pot with a mix of chilli, sugar and lime. (And don’t do this face because I’ve already tested it and got addicted, it’s delicious!)
Hot peppers are also an additional side when you order a pizza delivery!
I have to say that it took me a while to adjust to the local time of meals.
Mexico is huge, like Brazil, and habits and traditions change according to the state or region.
But in general, I can say that the time that mexicans eating habits aretotally different from what I was used to in Brazil.
Here, breakfast is at 11am, lunch, at 4pm, and dinner, 9:30pm.
Imagine a person that was really hungry waiting at work to have lunch!!!
In almost a year living at Mexico City, I still didn’t get the chance to taste traditional dishes. Each region has its own dishes. But I learnt to appreciatte this hot, spicy and delicious food in a different way.
I am still curious to taste what I haven’t tasted, to enjoy what I haven’t enjoyed, to see what I haven’t seen, following the same cautious manner:
‘Is it too hot?’
Hylka Maria is a brazilian actress and model, carioca, writer of the blog Do Rio Pra Cá, currently living in Mexico and with a gigantic curiosity to discover the world.
Do Rio Pra Cá is our gracious collaborator. The blog is full of fabulous stories from a group of women experiencing life around the world.