Americans love Mexican food. That is a fact. In the United States, the typical way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo is by eating tacos and drinking margaritas and Mexican beers like Tecate or Corona and of course tequila. Every gathering gets called a fiesta and themed a cinco de mayo party. But in Mexico, you won't find ground beef tacos, nachos and frozen margaritas on Cinco de Mayo. What are the real Cinco de Mayo foods?
What Foods Should You Eat on Cinco De Mayo?
Cinco de Mayo is an annual celebration held on May 5th commemorating the Mexican Army's victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla, on May 5, 1862 The victory of the smaller Mexican fighters against a larger French force was definitely cause for celebration. Today, the city of Puebla celebrates with an arts festival, a food festival, and re-enactments of the battle. But it's actually a much bigger holiday in America than it is in Mexico. And with how huge US beer sales are for Cinco de Mayo, there's probably much less puking too.
The Mexican state of Puebla was already the foodie capital of Mexico. Within Puebla is a sacred town called Cholula. There was a super cool pre-Columbian pyramid there and visitors would come to pray at this pyramid. The faithful still needed to eat and pre- Columbian street food was born right outside the holy pyramid. And we all know that street food is the best food.
What Ingredients Are In Traditional Mexican Recipes?
Nachos with refried beans, shredded Velveeta, and jalapenos are not surprisingly NOT on this list of Mexican dishes. That deliciousness is purely an American thangggg. It will not fly in Mexico. Taco Bell has even tried opening up in Mexico. Let's just say, it did not go well. There are no drunken drive-thrus for a box of burritos or a bag churros happening south of the border.
You won't find spiced ground beef plopped in crispy hard shell tacos topped with iceberg lettuce and sprinkled with cheddar and a plop of sour cream. But, you will find lamb barbacoa or carnitas topped with queso fresco, homemade salsa verde wrapped in a warm soft corn tortilla. These Mexican traditional food recipes are based on freshness.
Try Some Of These Cinco De Mayo Foods!
Along with the standard guacamole recipe ingredients like lime juice and cilantro, this guacamole recipe calls for an extra hit of citrus by adding orange juice! Trust me on this one.
This recipe uses mini corn making a perfect appetizer recipe. A fun twist on classic Mexican street corn. Who remembers Tom Hanks discovering mini corn in "Big" ?
Pico de Gallo translates to "beak of the rooster" in Spanish. Hmmm. I have no idea why but that's a pretty cool name for a fresh delicious salsa made of chopped tomatoes, onion, chiles like jalapeños or serranos, cilantro, salt and lime juice. Served chopped, it's also called "salsa fresca" sometimes.
This is a fun and colorful handheld party food that uses a green enchilada sauce and a chopped up rotisserie chicken! Maybe not the most authentic but still delicious.
Layers of flavor piled onto crispy corn tortillas. Tostadas are so versatile. If you can fit in on the shell, it goes! Make your own shells out of any size corn tortillas, some vegetable oil baked in the oven.
Fish tacos are a favorite common street food all over Mexico. When you make this taco recipe at home, you can use the cod or substitute tilapia, flounder or any mild white fish.
Traditionally made using flank steak, the marinade maximizes the flavor. Definitely the most labor intensive recipe of the bunch, but sooo worth it.
PERFECT FOOD ALERT! Cute little taquitos with a cheesecake filling. The tortillas are rolled in cinnamon and sugar and baked for this recipe. Pro tip: They fit right in your pocket for handy snacking.
Did someone say easy prep and easy cleanup? I'm there. Chicken fajitas involve a lot of moving parts. Marinade, slicing, chopping, sauteeing. This recipe makes it easy in a Ziploc bag and one sheet pan. Everyone loves an "assemble your own" meal too. Toss some tortillas, lettuce, and cheese at your hungry family and watch them go nuts.
Tamales are a traditional Cinco de Mayo food. They can be fruit-filled and sweet. Savory tamales are filled meats, cheese, or fish. Both types can be wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves. The prep is time consuming but so worth it. Reminds me of making stuffed cabbage with my Russian grandma. And isn't food all about keeping cultural traditions alive?
All you need to make this Mexican style flan is sugar, eggs, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and vanilla. Mexican Flan is different from other flan recipes because you don't need to make a custard! Just open some cans and and crack some eggs for this authentic Mexiacan dessert.
So let's get the elephant out of the room right away. Black bean dip is ugly. There, I said it. But it tastes so good and it's so good for you. The ingredients in this recipe can be adjusted to your preferred spice level or cilantro level as well. Some people really have strong feelings about cilantro! I personally love it.
Here's another sheet pan recipe that makes feeding a crowd easy and quick. Assemble all your ingredients on a cookie sheet and bake. Set up a fixin's bar and relax with a margarita. I highly recommend paper plates to make this the easiest cleanup ever.
Mexican chorizo is different from Spanish chorizo which is a cured meat. Use fresh Mexican chorizo for this rice dish and lots of it to really get the flavor all throughout the dish. It's so colorful that even a little pile of it on a dish looks like a cinco de mayo celebration.