Written by: Byronne
Over the years, Mexican regions have topped the list of the most visited destinations during holidays. What’s good there? The region attracts both food lovers and sun seekers. In case you are planning to visit this beautiful country, ensure you sample the wide range of flavors and tastes that both the Northern and Southern Mexico offer. It is quite interesting how a country with little topography can boast of a rich culinary culture that leaves you thirsting for more.
What brings this huge variation among the cuisines?
Norteno, as the Mexicans say it, refers to the Northern Cuisine that that is rich with Sinaloan seafood and the famous roast cabrito. Some of the regions in the South Pacific Coast include Chiapas and Oaxaca highlands. Southern Mexico was inhabited native Mexicans and Indians as the colonists had settled in the North. The region boasts of indigenous Mexican culinary culture. The people of Oaxaca mostly keep chicken and pigs. Therefore, most cuisines include chicken or pork stew served with corn; the regions staple food. Unlike in the North where tortillas are served as the main meal, Mexicans in the South use them to prepare tamales and empanadas. Oaxaca cheese is added to black beans or Chiapas chiles.
Chilaquiles and Cochinita Pibil
The North borders various American States including Texas and Southern California, which is why you will come across many Tex-Mex restaurants. Chilaquiles dish roots from the American ideas. Tortillas are cut small squares and fried. When served, most northern restaurants cover the tortillas in melted cheese or sauce. Served with shredded beef or guacamole, the meal is taken by Mexicans in the north as brunch.
Cochinita Pibil has influence from the Mayan origin in the south but fused with modern cooking techniques and ingredients. Mexicans from the South wrap pork inside banana leaves. The dish is then marinated in seasoned achiote seeds or juice. According to Mexican cooking guides, Cochinita pibil is usually served with corn tortillas.
Coconut and Chocolate Birria
The North Coast Pacific stretches along the shoreline of the Pacific Ocean and boasts of the freshest Cheese, vegetables, fruits, and grains. Birria is the most popular dish in this region. It is a spicy stew often prepared from mutton or goat meat. Rarely would you find it prepared from beef or chicken. The food is referred to as the culinary identity of Guadalajara and Jalisco. Because of the diverse range of coconut plantations at the Pacific Coast, Birria is spiced with coconut juice to give the stew a mouthwatering and heavy appearance.
In the south, birria is prepared similar to the north, but chocolate is added to the stew instead of coconut. The southern birria has a chocolate flavor while the northern birria is flavored with coconut.
Morisquesta and Achiote
Bajio region in the north attracts visitors for its beautiful scenes of the plateau that borders its mountains. The Spanish Colonists lived here, which contributes significantly to its cuisines that resemble the Spanish culture. Morisquesta is a rice dish served with sausage and toppings of fried pork and carnitas. Michoacan and its neighboring cities are famous for their desserts like chongos and goats milk (cajeta).
The Yucatan Peninsula in the south prides itself on its distinct foods. Since the region borders Caribbean islands and Cuba, much of the influence on their cuisines is derived from European and Asian cultures. Achiote is the region’s main spice used to give a reddish color to the foods. For instance, Poc-Chuc refers to a pork meal that is marinated with achiote. Since the region has plenty of tomato plantations, Chiltomate sauce, prepared from roasted tomatoes, onions and chilies.
Beef and Chicken
Most of the widely known Mexican Cuisines are from the traditional foods of the North. The Northern cuisines are favored with beef as their staple meat, unlike the southern cuisines that favor vegetable or chicken. Spanish rice is usually served with dried meat or burritos that are rare to find in the south. Almost every dish in the south is served with corn tortillas.
Pinto Refried Beans and Black Beans
If you walk into any Mexican restaurant in the north and have no clue of what to eat, the waiters will recommend pinto re fried beans. Vegetable oil is used to fry the cooked beans along with onions and seasoning, which offers them a unique flavor. Often pinto re fried beans are served with nachos or burritos.
In the southern Mexican region, black beans are heated in a hot sauce and chicken broth to give a creamy yet richly nutritious taste. Southern Mexicans prefer the black beans because of their rich fiber content and essential amino acids.
Negro Mole and Green Mole
Mole refers to a variety of sauces to prepare the dish. Originally from Oaxaca, the dish includes seven types of mole. Negro is the most popular mole usually served chicken, spiced with chocolate, nuts or banana make mole fierier. Green mole is common in the North but different from Negro Mole. It lives up to its name with fresh pumpkin seeds and hubs as ingredients.