There are approximately 67,391 restaurants in the U.S. that serve burritos, and odds are you've eaten at one of them. But have you ever stopped to consider where that particular type of cuisine in your Mexican restaurant came from? Or if it's authentic Mexican food at all?
If you answered no to either of those questions, you've come to the right place. This blog will serve as your guide to one of the seven regions of Mexican cuisine, as well as a few signature dishes you should aim to try. Vamanos!
Exploring Northern Mexico
Ranching has a long history in Northern Mexico, which means that beef is a key element in much of this region's cuisine. As a result, grilling is one of the most popular food preparation methods here, complete with beautifully cooked meat and hearty side dishes.
Fun Fact: This region is one of the only places in Mexico where you won't get funny looks if you ask for a burrito. The North alone produces almost 40 different types of flour tortillas for their signature meat-filled dishes.
A culture steeped in ranching may mean meat, but that's not where the food possibilities end. Rather, this region is also known for its wide variety of cheeses. Queso fresco, ranchero, cuajada, and asadero are just a few of the many varieties of cheese you might try when visiting this region.
As we just learned, Northern Mexico is home to a culture rich with hearty meat and cheese dishes. Not to mention their tortillas! But let's take a closer look at a few of this region's signature dishes.
- Machaca - This dish is traditionally made by rehydrating dried meat,
but modern times call for modern kitchen innovation. Now, the dish is typically made using well-cooked, shredded beef which is then simmered in its own juices and a blend of spices.
- Cabrito - As you may have guessed, this is another traditional meat dish; roast baby goat. This dish is particularly popular in Mexican restaurants in Monterrey and has origins in Jewish cuisine.
- Queso Fresco - As we learned, queso fresco is a staple in Northern Mexico. If you're wondering how to spot authentic Mexican food, look for this crumbly white cheese on top of traditional dishes.
Of course, these are just a few dishes you might find at authentic Mexican restaurants in the North. And next time you grab a burrito, you can be sure to thank Northern Mexico for their wonderful contribution to food culture.