6 Delicious Mexican Dishes You Might Not Have Heard Of

I’ve spent the last three weeks poking around Tulum, Merida, and Playa del Carmen, Mexico. There was cenote swimming, beach laying, and lots of reading while laying a hammock. Also: face-stuffing.
If you grew up in America, you probably eat some form of ‘Mexican’ food on the regular. (I put quotation marks around that because I don’t think they use Colby Jack cheese in Mexico city.) My regular go-tos are tortilla soup, horchata, and I used to get in full-fledged arguments with an ex-boyfriend about the ‘right’ way to make guacamole. (I’m pro-cilantro, pro-cumin, pro-tomato. He wasn’t.)
Like any travel experience, when you’re in The Actual Country, you discover that
a) the food you’ve been eating at home bears only a passing resemblance to the food locals eat
b) THERE ARE SO MANY OTHER DELICIOUS THINGS THAT PEOPLE COOK HERE. Why u keep secrets, Mexican restaurants in Minnesota?
Here are six delicious things I discovered on my trip – and recipes to recreate them in your own, Midwestern kitchen!

6 Mexican Dishes You Should Try

Mexican Dishes You Need to Try: Sopa Lima

Sopa de lima

Now, I looooove me some tortilla soup, but it can be a bit rich and heavy day after a day of roasting on the beach. Sopa de lima is a lighter alternative with a lot of the same ingredients and a brightening shot of lime. Frequently, you’ll find wedges of lime in your soup! It’s traditionally made with chicken but it’s easy to pick around it and if you’re making it yourself, you can obviously leave it out.
Mexican Dishes You Need to Try:  Agua Fresca de Jamacia

Agua Fresca Jamaica

I’m on a personal mission to bring agua frescas to America. True, they’re basically watered-down juice, but doesn’t that seem like something those green juice drinkers would like? Jamaica translates to ‘Hibiscus’ and this drink is essentially delicious flower tea. While that probably doesn’t sound very appealing, it tastes like slightly sweeter cranberry juice.
Mexican Dishes You Need to Try:  Silak Pak

Silak Pak

Ooooh, you’re about to win your next potluck. “Oh, this? Well, it’s just an ancient Mayan recipe that I ate on a beach in Mexico. NBD.” (You’ll also win because it’s totally good.)
Mexican Dishes You Need to Try:  Sweet Corn Cake

Sweet corn cake

While we Midwesterners hold sweet corn in proper esteem as a summer staple (Garrison Keillor allegedly likes sweet corn more than sex!) I think it’s high time we incorporated it into more dishes. Sweet corn ice cream! Sweet corn au gratin! And this insanely moist, delicately sweet cake.
Mexican Dishes You Need to Try: masquestias

Marquesitas

First, I would like to address the fact that THERE IS A DESSERT THAT INCLUDES NUTELLA AND CHEESE AND CARBS AND YOU GUYS DIDN’T TELL ME. Rude.You can make it up to me by coming to my house and making a dozen of them. These wafer thin waffle-y cookies can be filled with all sorts of delicious things. Even Nutella and cheese. Like, that’s a socially-sanctioned filling. Yes, I considered cancelling my return ticket.
Mexican Dishes You Need to Try: Cochinita pebil

Cochinita pebil

Now, I cannot personally speak to this dish’s awesomeness because I eat very little meat. However! My girl Meredith had it (based on another friend’s raving endorsement) and loved it. And what’s not to love about citrus-marinated barbecued pork?
Tell us about your favorite discovered-through-travel recipes!

19 Comments

Amanda

I love agua fresca! My grandma used to make it for us, pretty much everyday, during summer. Watered down fruit juice doesn't do any justice to all the amazing that it truly is. I pretty much ask my aunt and grandma "Me mandas la receta para…" ("Can you send me the recipe to…") every week.

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Sarah M

Um, now I'm super hungry. I would love to eat my way through Mexico. 'Mexican food' is one of my favorites, too, and every single one of these sounded delicious, even flower tea. 🙂
Sarah M

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Catherine

Woah, they all sound amazing. Cheese and chocolate does sound like a little bit of a strange combo, but I'd still actually quite like to try it!

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Haley Keller

These all sound delicious!

I've actually made sweet corn cake before. In my high school Spanish class, my teacher wanted us all to bring in a food from a Spanish speaking country, and aside from one or two people who she allowed to bring things common to us, she wanted the rest of us to pick things we hadn't tried. I did the sweet corn cake, but almost everyone in the class was too scared to try it for some reason. I really enjoyed it, but then again, I love just about anything with corn.

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Creole Wisdom

I just need to know where you are finding Mexican restaurants in MN. I've yet to find one that I love. Def. making that dip for a party. Keep the good food coming… and like a few others above, I'm not starving.

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Rachel

Aguas frescas! Indispensable at most Central American spots here in L.A. People love the jamaica and watermelon ones the most, generalmente.

My fave foreign discovery is really my mom's: when she lived in France and worked as a camp counselor, the little kids would all stop for an afternoon snack break of a hunk of baguette… with a chocolate bar stuck in it. That's right, CARBS INSIDE CARBS.

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Jess. R.

I'm a transplanted Connecticut Yankee living in New Mexico and have become totally addicted to agua fresca. My favorite is "sandia" or watermelon. So refreshing on a hot summer day!!

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Yuni

Those food look sooo good!

Here in Indonesia cheese+chocolate combo is sooo common. I mean, we eat it with our toast, pancakes, well basically you can find that combo in desserts that require topping or filling. Others perhaps find it weird, but we looove it!

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