While in Mexico last spring, there were a few foods that we wished to try to round out our cultural experience. Mexican cuisine is well known for its various meat dishes, so it was a bit of a challenge to find vegetarian food. But we managed.
Here are some Mexican dishes we tried and enjoyed on the trip.
Aguas Frescas: This was one aspect of every meal that I thoroughly enjoyed. Nearly every restaurant we visited had these in one flavor or another. Hibiscus infused, or coconut-based, cucumber, or just lime, these were a special treat each time.
Coca Cola: Although not a fan of soft drinks, we had to try the Coke in Mexico, which tasted genuinely good. It’s made of cane sugar, and the sweetness and flavor are just so much better.
Café de Olla: Black coffee spiced up with cinnamon, raw sugar, and possibly vanilla. It made me a believer in black coffee!!
Elote: All my pre-trip research talked about elotes or corn on the cob. Often sold by street-side vendors, elotes were a hit with the family. Not surprisingly, they were very popular with the locals. Often we had to gather around the vendor’s cart and wait for our turn. Elotes were sold mixed with spices or with mayo and cheese. We tried both on the cob and spiced kernels in cups. Great snack while on the go!
Pastes: Baked pastries with either savory or sweet fillings. Great for a snack on a long road trip!
Tacos: Taco places of many different kinds. At first, it was almost startling to see only one or two tacos on a plate. Eventually, we learned to mix and match. For vegetarians, most places served either cactus based (nopales) or corn truffle-based (huitlacoche). Eggs were another option, which sometimes the kids chose. On the food tour, we ate potato curry-based filling on beet flavored tortilla, and cauliflower tempura filling on a wheat tortilla.
Torta: Mexican sandwich on fluffy bun filled with the works, we tried the seitan based one on the food tour.
Potato pancakes with a side of spiced nopales (cactus).
Mole sauce: I did not dare ask what went into the making of the mole sauce. Likely a broth that I do not want to know. But I did wish to taste the sauce and liked the flavor. Next time, I would like to try a vegetarian version as an entrée instead of just the sauce.
Dulce de leche: slowly heated milk and sugar, in many flavors, make these confections so tempting.
Agave and cactus based drinks like Tequila and Mescal: The perfect place for exploring and savoring them. The one we bought at the Teotihuacan store was made from the prickly pear cactus, was slightly denser and sweet, just a perfect fit for my taste.
Avocados: Unlike TexMex guacamole, we were served freshly sliced avocado with our entrees everywhere.
Cheese: especially the handcrafted soft cheese and the others we tasted in Queretaro were very flavorful.
Breads: Especially the sweetbreads from La Charamusca in the Queretaro area.
Fresh Fruits: Local markets were full of fresh fruits and vegetables. We didn’t cook as often as we have on other trips, but enjoyed the variety of fruits.
While vegetarian food may not be as widepread as meats, our family found many different choices in Mexico. We were able to find satisfying food and drinks.
Happy armchair travels!