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Let's talk about Mexican cuisine in Malta!
- Loco For Mexican Food! -
Mexican Cuisine in Malta
Mexican food deserves a position on the global stage of gastronomy. It’s hard to come by a truly traditional Mexican restaurant in Malta and it really deserves to have so much more attention!
What do you think of when someone mentions ‘Mexican Food’? The stereotypical reply would be that of chilli, beans, nachos and tacos!
But Let’s Taco About Tacos…
Or not… because Mexican food is SO much more than that and it is almost offensive to be so dismissive of the diversely rich, colourful and intense variety of flavours that are found in this delicious cuisine.
Mexican gastronomy is mind-blowing, and we don’t mean in terms of just heat and spice, but in the sense that most dishes are a perfectly well-balanced taste of sweet, savoury and sour. Of course, their fresh flavours that excite you with their flamboyant colours create an amazing experience for your taste buds with each and every bite.
Another misconception is that it’s all about the meat – but they do have some incredible vegetarian dishes, which you won’t find anywhere else!
From the Roots to its Fruits
To understand a cuisine, you really need to delve into its roots. In this case, Mexican cuisine dates back to thousands of years before the Spanish laid a foot on the land.
The Aztecs, Maya and Mesoamerican people lived off of what nature provided them with, on a healthy, wholesome diet that centred around corn. They made breads from the corn flour, ate beans and squashes, root vegetables and an array of chillies. However, one cannot deny that the arrival of the Spanish brought with it lasting culinary delights that feature in modern day Mexican cuisine, such as rice, beef, olive oil, cheese and milk along with herbs and spices such as coriander, parsley and cinnamon. These ingredients enriched the already fascinating Mexican cuisine and allowed them to create other staple dishes that now form part of modern day Mexican gastronomy.
The Mexican Holy Trinity Lives On…
There are 3 staple ingredients that are (and will always be) the very heart of Mexican cuisine:
Corn – Mexican food was born from corn. It is sacred and necessary to this cuisine. Aside from it being eaten in its natural form, once processed, it becomes the primary ingredient for creating the basis of other inexpensive dishes – tacos, tortilla chips and enchiladas – that even the poorest can afford.
Pinto or Black Beans – They are used in various dishes in Mexican cuisine, such as refried beans, as a filling for enchiladas or burritos, as a side dish or in soups and salsas.
Chillis – We won’t go into much detail over here, mostly because the list of chilli types is endless, but also because you’ll find quite the debate online as to which the ‘traditional’ chillies are. That being said, chillies are synonymous with Mexico, and whether it’s the poblano, jalapeno, habanero or serrano, there is always room for them in most dishes.
Worth mentioning here is ‘mole’. In both the Central and South regions, mole (a unique blend of hot poblano peppers and chocolate) plays a significant role when it comes to festivities, celebrations, birthdays (and whatever reason they like!) and is what encouraged Mexican cuisine to be listed on UNESCOs Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
Healthy = Popular
Mexican food is considered to be healthy, so it deserves to be popular even just for that! It is a varied diet which makes use of most food groups in each dish. True Mexican meals are complemented with fresh ingredients such as avocados (long live guacamole!), limes, tomatoes, beans, meats and plenty of other fruits and vegetables which provide all the necessary proteins, carbs and vitamins and minerals that our bodies need. We could definitely all make use of learning more about how they combine these elements to create a healthy, balanced diet.
With all the above being said, Malta should really invest in creating more of a following for Mexican food. It’s healthy, has plenty of variety to tickle everyone’s taste buds, colourful, inexpensive and will certainly add a kick to your life! At the moment, Mexican restaurants aren’t all the rave, but between Ta’ Xbiex and Sliema, St. Paul’s Bay and a few food trucks , you can source some delicious Mexican meals to satisfy your cravings. We have no doubt that there will be plenty more Mexican restaurants serving up mouth-watering Mexican food in no time!