The History and Basics of Mexican Cuisine

Mexican food has a long history that has enriched its dishes with flavor, variety, and deliciousness. While this regional cuisine has been a great export to the United States and South America, Mexican restaurants are only now becoming a common sight in Europe and Asia. This article will tell you about how Mexican food developed, which dishes are the most popular, and how you can find a Mexican restaurant where you can enjoy the diverse flavors offered by this type of dining. This guide will also suggest other resources to help you learn more about Mexican food, including and several other websites.
How Mexican Food Started and Continues to Develop
Mexico is a large country in Central America, joining North America and South America. The country has a long history of occupants, including the Aztec and Mayan peoples. In the 16th century BCE, Spanish conquistadors landed in Mesoamerica. This event began a cultural osmosis that created a conduit of trade and exchange between the Old World of Europe and the New World of the Americas. In the New World, many new types of food were discovered. Before the conquest, no one in Europe had ever sampled corn, tomatoes, potatoes, chilies, avocado, cacao, peppers, squash, or beans, to name a few. It's difficult to imagine a world without these modern cooking staples, and the Spanish were dually impressed.
As the point of contact became a more permanent resident for Spaniards, the traditional Aztec cuisine began adopting aspects of European dishes. The Spanish introduced numerous spices, dairy products, and the meat of domesticated animals. Cows, pigs, horses, chickens, and goats did not exist in the Americas before the Spanish invasion. All of these ingredients were fused into amazing delicacies that continue to tantalize the palates of diners the world over.
Typical Mexican Entrees and Desserts
Some of the most popular Mexican dishes are rice and beans, tamales, burritos, enchiladas, tostadas, and quesadillas. Most Mexican entrees use corn and flour tortillas; salsas made of tomatoes, peppers, onions, and chillies; cheese; and a variety of meats. Arroz con leche (a type of rice pudding with cinnamon), flan, and tres leches (sweet cake soaked in milk) are popular desserts. Tequila and light beers are also common alcoholic beverages that are made in Mexico and exported around the world.
Finding a Mexican Restaurant
If you would like to sample the rich array of ingredients and flavors in Mexican cooking, you can find a restaurant near you. You can look on, or on business sites like Yelp, to help you locate one.
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