It's only been for the last 30 or 40 years that people in the rest of the world have really started to take notice of how good Mexican cuisine is. There's a long history in the country of making incredibly delicious foods that dates back a very long time, we're talking thousands of years here. Even if a lot of people only know the basics like tacos and burritos, there's a heck of a lot more worth looking into, with a variety of amazing flavors that you just can't find anywhere else.
With recipes that can be traced back to the Aztec and Mayan cultures, there are not just tasty meals to be appreciated in Mexican cuisine, there's a lot of history, too. Understanding Mexican food feeds your body and your mind, how can you go wrong with that? The answer is you can't! So with that in mind if you have any kind of love for foods from South of the border, why not test that knowledge right here and right now. There's a lot to go through and we've hand-picked some of the best. if you think you know your delicious Mexican foods, then pull up a chair and take the quiz!
You need to have pork and pineapple if you want this street food done right. Name it!
Tacos al Pastor
Tacos al pastor can actually trace its roots to Lebanese immigrants who came to Mexico. They're very much like a merging of both tacos and shawarma and should be made with pork that's cooked on a spit.
Dating back to Mayan times, this dish needs a sauce on it to be complete. What is it called?
Enchiladas are a lot like burritos in that they're made with a corn or flour tortilla wrapped around some kind of filling which could be beef or chicken or whatever you like, really. It's then smothered in a chili sauce to complete the dish.
Do you know this soup that has hominy as the key ingredient?
Pico de Gallo
Pozole (sometimes spelled posole) is a soup made from hominy corn at its base and then either meat or veggies along with spices. If you want it the right way you need to put in some time - traditional pozole should take hours to cook if not overnight.
This simple dish is so popular you can even find it on the menu at Taco Bell. What is it?
Tostada just means "toasted," and that's a very simplistic way of describing the dish which can either be the flat tortilla base or the whole dish itself. Usually a tostada is going to be that crispy corn tortilla with a lot of toppings stacked on it.
Elote is the Mexican version of your standard corn on the cob and it's a pretty popular street food. You can find it on a stick or in a cup and it's seasoned with salt, lime, chili, butter, cheese, sour cream and mayo. Enjoy!
This could be the most patriotic dish in all of Mexico. Do you know it?
Chiles en Nogada
Chiles en nogada is said to represent the colors of the Mexican flag. You have green from the poblano chiles, white from the sauce and red comes from pomegranate seeds. Word is the dish was first served to Emperor Agustin.
Is this food of which there are numerous versions, some of which include chocolate, familiar to you?
Mole is a sauce of which there are numerous kinds like mole blanco, mole verde and mole poblano. Generally, a good mole should have a lot of ingredients to achieve the right flavor and making it takes hours or even days to do properly.
Aztecs and Mayans enjoyed this dish before we discovered them. What are they?
Tamales are made with cornmeal dough stuffed with veggies or meat and cooked inside a corn husk or a banana leaf. It's believed Aztec, Maya and Inca warriors could take tamales into battle since they were portable and full of goodness, like an ancient Hot Pocket.
Tell us the name of this incredibly popular sauce that can be found all around the world these days.
Guacamole may be in the top 10 most popular Mexican dishes ever and is extremely old. A simple dish it's usually just mashed avocado with onion, lemon, chili pepper, and some tomato and garlic. Try it on toast!
The name of this food means "little donkey." What is it?
Burritos and tacos are pretty similar in the grand scheme of things, the main difference mostly being that a burrito is rolled up while a taco is just folded over. In American Tex Mex cuisine, a burrito will include everything but the kitchen sink while a traditional burrito is usually just meat and beans.
What other name does it this dish, sometimes called "arroz rojo," go by?
Mexican rice or "red rice" is a popular Mexican dish that is essentially just rice and tomato with seasoning. It's also sometimes called Spanish rice but it's not really a dish that exists in Spain, so the name is a little deceptive.
Chalupas are traditionally little boat-shaped masa shells that get filled with lettuce, cheese and salsa. Some variants include meat like chorizo. Taco Bell sells something called a chalupa which is pretty much nothing at all like a proper Mexican chalupa.
Got a hangover? This goat-filled stew might cure it if you know what to ask for.
Birria is usually made with goat or mutton, but no one is going to sue you for using chicken. It's often served at celebrations, so if you want a stew for your wedding, why not try this? Maybe that's where it got its reputation as a hangover cure.
If you need a cold drink and have a hankering for some corn, this could be the thing for you. Tell us what it is.
Dulce de Leche
Tejuino is a cold drink made from fermented corn and is essentially the same stuff you'd use to make a tortilla only mixed with water and brown sugar. So yes, we do have a way to drink tacos if that's what you're into.
What do you call this dish that, despite being essentially just fried pork fat, you can still get in a vegetarian version?
Chicharrónes are popular in many Latin American countries with various different ways to prepare them but essentially they're just fried pork belly or pork rinds. The vegetarian version is made of puffed cornmeal batter.
One of the more popular desserts you'll find in Mexico, this is made from sweetened milk. Do you know it?
Dulce de Leche
Dulce de Leche is pretty popular not just in Latin American countries but all over the world. You can get dulce de leche candies, ice cream, cakes and pretty much any other sweet thing you can think of. There's even dulce de leche booze.
Stewed ingredients in a tortilla make up this dish. Name it!
Tacos al Pastor
Guisada style tacos involve some slow-cooking to properly prepare the food which is usually something like braised beef in a spicy sauce. They make for a pretty decent breakfast, too, if you're not a fan of eggs.
What are these fried treats can be either savory or sweet?
Empanadas are a lot like Hot Pockets, which is kind of awesome. It's fried dough with some kind of stuffing which can be sweet or it can be savory. There are variations of the dish in a heck of a lot of countries around the world, too.
You can call these little things "tacos dorados" or "flautas." What else are they called?
Taquitos are a popular snack food because there's nothing better than meat and cheese that you can roll up and fry. In some places, they call tiny tacos taquitos too, just in case the variety of names wasn't confusing enough.
What is this dish that, even though it's made with tortillas and not noodles, has a lot in common with lasagna?
Pastel Azteca might be better known to you as tortilla pie or tortilla casserole. You layer fried corn tortillas with salsa, veggies, peppers and cheese and, if you're feeling especially adventurous, some meat.
Do you know the name of this food you should try during the Day of the Dead celebrations?
Pan de Muerto
Pan de Muerto literally means "bread of the dead" which is creepy or awesome depending on your world view. Because the bread is part of the Day of the Dead celebration, it's often decorated with some morbid imagery like bone shapes
What are you going to ask for if you order this for breakfast?
Huevos Rancheros are ranch-style eggs. If that description isn't clear enough then know that it's fried eggs on a tortilla topped with salsa, onion, cilantro and chili peppers. Want some refried beans and avocado? You go ahead and add them.
Tell us what they call this dish that's closest American equivalent is called cowboy beans.
Frijoles Charros are named for Mexican cowboys or charros. The dish is pretty simple consisting of beans stewed with onion, tomato, garlic, cilantro and some kind of meat. It's not exactly a soup but it's kind of soupy.
There's a Puerto Rican boy band with the same name as this dish but they don't have much in common. What is it?
Menudo is sometimes called "mole de panza" which means "stomach sauce" and is an objectively horrible name for food. It's made from tripe though, which is a cow's stomach, so it's not like it's inaccurate. It just sounds better when you call it Menudo.
Is this stuffed dish that is very popular in Mexico and lots of other places familiar?
Chile rellenos can be found on the menu at a lot of Mexican eateries and are basically stuffed peppers. A jalapeno popper is a kind of chili relleno that's obviously got a bit of a bar food twist to it.
What's the dish that Johnny Depp shoots a cook for making so well in "Once Upon a Time in Mexico?"
Dulce de Leche
Cochinita pibil is slow-roasted pork and is traditionally made with suckling pig though you can use pork butt or shoulder as well because why not? The meat is roasted in banana leaves with citrus and spices. Johnny Depp liked his so much he killed the cook.
You can make this dish a few hundred different ways at least. What is it called?
Sopes are a lot like tostadas or even tacos. They are thick tortillas that have pinched sides traditionally but can also be flat. Pinto beans usually go on top but there are nearly endless variations of toppings that people use, so you just kind of go with your gut.
Have you heard that this dish also goes by the unsexy name of "corn smut?"
Cuitlacoche or corn smut is not an easy food to love because it looks pretty revolting. It's a kind of fungus that grows on corn and can be eaten in soup, in quesadillas or whatever you like as long as you can get past how unattractive it is.
People have been making this drink for over 1,000 years. Do you know it?
Agua de Jamaica
Pulque is made from fermented agave syrup and looks a bit milky. Myths about the drink say it was made for the gods or even by them in some cases. In the 1800s, it became incredibly popular and there were hundreds of haciendas producing it.
If you like beef you'll probably like this dish. What is it?
Carne Asada is grilled sliced beef and can be served in tacos or on anything else, really. The meat should have some kind of marinade before it's prepared but that could be as simple as a dry salt rub or something a little saucier.
Bionico is a fruit salad from Guadalajara. You chop up whatever fruit you like, which is usually various kinds of melon, papaya and berries, and slather it with cream, coconut and maybe some raisins or honey.
The proper way to serve this dish is to make a basic preparation and then let the diner customize it with a lot of ingredients. What is it?
Tortilla soup is usually a stock prepared with salsa and tortilla strips. The person eating it then has the opportunity to add all kinds of stuff table side like chicharrones, avocado, chili, lime or whatever else.
You can find this drink under the names roselle and sorrel. What do they call it in Mexico?
Dulce de Leche
Agua de Jamaica
Agua de Jamaica is iced hibiscus tea made from something called a roselle flower. There are versions of the tea that you can get pretty much all over the world, though with slightly different recipes depending on the region.
Do you like wet sandwiches? Why don't you tell us what this one is called.
Pambazos are a street food sandwich usually made with chorizo and potato. The whole thing is dipped in red chili sauce and then fried and there's not much varying from that recipe, unlike with a taco, for instance, which can be made dozens of ways.
You can find this unusual dish being sold as a snack in places like Oaxaca. Do you know it?
Chapulines are crickets, so right away this may not appeal to everyone. You clean the little guys, then toast them with some garlic, lime and salt. You can buy them at sporting events sometimes if popcorn isn't exotic enough for you.
Is this dish that is sometimes filled with dulce de leche something you know?
Churros are arguably the most popular dessert item in Mexican cuisine, not necessarily in Mexico itself but outside for people who want to eat Mexican. You can find them in Portugal, Spain, state fairs and all throughout Latin America.