Mexican food - what it's not

Mexican food - what it's not

I spent many years loving Mexican food before I ever traveled to Mexico. For me, I loved getting a big burrito at a colorful restaurant. I loved my mom's tacos.

Even traveling to Mexico might not dispel your conception of Mexican food because in touristy places, they serve what Americans are familiar with. But now that I live in Mexico, and in a part that has almost zero foreign tourism, it's great to discover that Mexican food is even better than I'd thought.

At least where I'm from, the midwest, a regular meal is a big burrito or another flour tortilla based dish, and then a little salad, rice and refried beans.It's pretty rare to find that combination all in one place here in Mexico. First of all, burritos don't exist. Well, of course they do, especially in the north, but they are considered a U.S. import. Same for margaritas. When my Mexican friends in my town want to go for margaritas, they go to Chili's or T.G.I. Friday's.

Nachos don't exist either, at least I haven't yet found a big plate of nachos covered with meat, veggies and quality cheese. You can, however, find the gas-station yellow pump cheese variety, like those featured in Primus' “Jerry was a Race Car Driver” music video.

And, sorry mom, but the hard-shelled things filled with ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes and salsa with the consistency of ketchup aren't tacos either. But they are delicious nevertheless.

Mexican food has a great deal of variety. Also, there are some restaurants that do their best to serve up the real stuff. But if you really want to eat Mexican cuisine, you have to come down here and get off the tourist track.