When you walk into a Mexican restaurant in America, what is the first thing you crave? Chips and salsa, right? Well, what if we told you that chips and salsa aren’t a part of their daily eating habits! Believe it or not, salsa is used as a relish or topping to add flavor to whatever meal they have prepared. You’ll never see a basket of chips and salsa on a traditional Mexican dinner table. The salsa is always made fresh and usually fills the role of hot sauce by adding heat like in American cuisine. Hot sauce (or Salsa Picante), as it’s called in Mexico, however, is used more as a dipping sauce for snacks. One of the most popular brands is Valentina. You can find this in our Discoveries display! Grab a bag of chips and a bowl for a quick and easy authentic Mexican snack!
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Dinner Time es especial in Mexico
When thinking about dinner time in America, what comes to mind? For a lot of us, dinner time is the place to come together and enjoy a meal. At least that’s the goal. However, things don’t always work out that way. Busy schedules and technology can sometimes tarnish a daily tradition that is taken much more seriously in other countries.
In Mexico, a dinner is a family event. No phones, just food, and conversation! The head of the household generally prepares the meal. It always consists of tostada, tortilla, or some other form of carbohydrate. These carbs are used in the replacement of silverware in some meals making it easy to scoop up the ingredients for each bite. Chicken, pork, or seafood is served consistently as the protein. Sides are also critical; dinner is not complete without some form of rice or bean topped with cheese. Our favorite cheese is Panela found in our International Department. Head to our Discoveries display to pick up some authentic La Preferida rice & beans. Then head over to our meat counter to select your protein. We suggest our chorizo made fresh in the Jungle! Remember, keep it simple, seasoning such as salt, pepper, goes a long way!
Let’s not forget the beverages! Traditionally, you will see Horchata, which consists of rice, cinnamon, and sugar. Horchata is made by soaking white rice in water and cinnamon for several hours, straining, and adding sugar. Commonly compared to flavors of rice pudding, we agree that this beverage is a perfect tabletop addition to Mexican coke!
You will also see Jamaica (Hibiscus), or better known in Mexico as “agua de Jamaica” on the dinner table. Although not native to Mexico, Jamaica flowers originated between Africa and India and also arrived in Mexico during colonial times. Jamaica is used to make fresh flavored water (agua fresca) and is enjoyed daily throughout Mexico. This pink tea is tart and makes for a perfect pairing with Mexican cuisine. Look for the Jumex brand Aguas Frescas in our Discoveries display!
Last but certainly not least are the desserts. Flan, sopapillas, and fried ice cream are the most traditional Mexican desserts found on menus in the United States. The range of sweets in Mexico, however, is much more extensive! Mexican desserts include everything from puddings to fresh fruit. Try this simple recipe using mango or watermelon topped with a traditional Tajín spice. This recipe is a simple, authentic way to snack year-round. Find the Tajín spice in our Discoveries Display and follow the recipe below!
Another authentic sweet snack is Concha Bread. Concha Bread is a traditional Mexican sweet bread roll (pan dulce). The name Conchas comes from the Spanish word meaning shell because of their round shape and striped, seashell-like appearance. A Concha consists of two parts, a sweetened bread roll, and a crunchy topping (composed of sugar, butter, and flour) then a distinctive pattern is made by pressing a bread stamp over the topping while the dough is proofing. Rolls tend to be consistent in flavor, but the top layer may vary in colors and flavoring, such as (strawberry, coffee, chocolate, etc.). Conchas are popular in bakeries in Mexico and are usually eaten as a dessert or with coffee at breakfast. You can find this delicious treat and more in our International Department!
We’re taking a note from Mexico and challenge you to do the same! Turn your dinner table into an authentic get-a-way to Mexico’s cuisine at your home. Ditch the phones, the news, and your preconceptions roll up your sleeves and dig into Mexico the right way. Use our recipes below to get yourself started!
We’d love to see you in-store. Please stop by our Discoveries at the Jungle kiosk to pick up everything you need for Discover Mexico or to try something new. Then, we would appreciate it if you send us a message on Facebook, Tweet at us @JungleJimsmrkt, or tag us on Instagram @JungleJimsMarket!