Your Guide to Mexican Food: How To Find the Best Authentic Mexican Food

Every chef would agree that Mexican food is every bit as dynamic as any food culture anywhere in the world.

That is why it has constantly evolved, adapting new techniques and ingredients. So, the question Mexican food lovers ask is how to find authentic Mexican food.

If Mexican food is about identity and agency, how will you know that it is prepared to show respect for where it came from, who created it, and what its origins are?

Learn the staple ingredients of the Mexican diet including beans, rice, and tortillas, used in some of the more familiar dishes: burritos, fajitas, quesadillas, and tacos.

These are the authentic dishes that are steeped in traditional Mexican food history and tradition.

Whether you get your Mexican food from traditional sit-down locations, fast-casual restaurants, or even food trucks, learn how to find traditional authentic Mexican food.

These are also the types of Mexican food and ingredients that you should be looking for when you crave a light lunch or hefty dinner:

  1. Traditional Mexican spices that bring out unique flavor.

    Authentic Mexican food is smothered with Mexican spices that create distinctive characteristics and unique flavors to the dishes.

    Every type of Mexican food should have one or more of these spices:

    • Dried and smoked Jalapeños give off a smoky flavor.
    • Achiote seeds and paste are great for seasoning meats like chicken and fish.
    • Canella or white cinnamon that adds a delicate flavor to dishes
    • Fresh or powdered garlic helps bring out the flavors of a dish and creates a delicious scent
    • Staple spices like onions, chili powder, cumin, cilantro, and oregano give off a unique earthy flavor once they are sautéed together with other ingredients.
    • Chile is often mixed with cumin and oregano to spice up and add rich flavor to meat, vegetables, and other dishes.
    • Chipotle, is the main spice that adds flavor to chicken and meat marinades.

    Mexican food is known for these distinct herbs and spices that make every dish flavorful and delicious.

    Traditional Mexican spices are one of the most important elements of authentic Mexican food.

    The complex dishes and stews of authentic Mexican cuisine rely heavily on just the right combination of spices.

    Even Mexican baked goods like the pillowy pan dulce are flavored with the sweet aroma of anise.

  2. Soft Tacos Made With Traditional Mexican Ingredients

    Authentic Street Tacos - El Rincon Mexican Kitchen and Tequila BarThe evolution of different types of Mexican food has resulted in plenty of variations that are available today in Mexican restaurants and even supermarkets. How to find authentic Mexican food in the form of tacos?

    Authentic Mexican tacos are small and soft because they are usually grilled or steamed. These tacos are hard to find in the U.S. since several chilies are simply not grown north of the border.

    But, to know if the tacos you’re eating are authentically Mexican, they should be made from these ingredients:

    • Soft corn tortillas
    • Topped with fresh cilantro and finely diced white onion
    • Not typically spicy, but can be made with homemade salsa that can be as spicy as you want
    • Made of stewed, fried, or grilled meat that is marinated overnight with cumin, oregano, paprika, lime, onions, and chilies; seasoned with nothing but salt and pepper

    And to make them even more authentic, here are the names of the most popular types of tacos that you would see similar to those that are sold on many street corners in Mexico:

    • Asador
    • Cazo
    • Cazuela
    • Al pastor or adobada
    • Tacos al carbon

    To top it all off, an authentic Mexican taco is completed with a little salsa on top. The salsa in Mexican cuisine is more than just a dip. It enhances the flavors of the meat in the tacos. That’s how big a part it plays.

    The different salsa’s in authentic Mexican cuisine are named:

    Salsa Roja
    Avocado salsa (which should not be confused with guacamole)
    Pico de gallo
    Salsa Negra
    Salsa verde

  3. Fresh and Healthy Ingredients

    Mexico has one of the country’s best tropical climates making them abundant in different kinds of fruits and vegetables.

    This is why one of the best ways in knowing how to find authentic Mexican food is to look if these usual Mexican cuisine ingredients are present:

    • Beans
    • Tomatoes
    • Chiles
    • White corn
    • Seafood
    • Meat
    • Poultry
    • Gluten-free tortillas made with “masa harina” and water

    Related: Vegan Mexican Dishes You Need to Try

  4. White Cheese Instead of Cheddar Cheese

    Mexican fast-food restaurants and Tex-Mex restaurants mostly use yellow cheddar cheese.

    Cheeze Assortment - El Rincon Mexican Kitchen and Tequila BarAuthentic Mexican cuisine uses white cheese which is flavorful, tangy, and tasty. It balances the intense flavors from the herbs and spices in most Mexican dishes.

    Authentic Mexican main course dishes like enchiladas and chili are served with white cheese. It is also used to make traditional Mexican side dishes like tacos, grilled corn, bean dip, and taquitos.

    You don’t get the real deal when you are served with orange cheese. The white cheese used in real Mexican dishes like Rellenos and tacos is queso fresco, made from cow’s milk.

  5. Simple and Light Enchiladas Dipped in Spicy Sauce

You cannot miss the most well-known and probably the best Mexican food there is—Enchiladas! It is served in many restaurants around the world because of its great flavor.

Traditional enchiladas’ authentic ingredients and originality come lightly with small meat stuffing inside and are dipped in spicy sauce. The corn tortilla is fried or grilled in oil slightly before being filled.

The real enchiladas that follow the Mexican way it is prepared since it was born in Mexico would have these ingredients:

  • Chicken or pork (you will never or rarely find beef in a traditional authentic Mexican enchilada)
  • Corn or maize tortilla all the way, never flour
  • Chile peppers and cilantro are the main spices
  • White cheese-like cotija tucked into the tortilla rather than blanketed across the top of the dish

How Can You Tell if Mexican Food is Real?

Appreciate the Mexican indigenous traditions to this day by eating authentic Mexican food.

The tips on how to find authentic Mexican food will let you appreciate the unique flavors of Mexican cuisine.

Even if several Mexican dishes have evolved into different versions, the real ones taste the best.

Get top authentic Mexican food recipes from El Rincon Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar. Find our restaurants in Carrollton and Addison.

Related: 10 Signs You Haven’t Tried Authentic Mexican Food

More from El Rincon Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar

Is Mexican Food Good for Diabetics?
Anything You Need to Know About Different Tortillas
10 Types of Mexican Soups You Need To Try

El Rincon Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar or known as El Rincon among the locals around the restaurant serves Mexican food and drink made from the freshest ingredients.

Besides serving food for our customers in Carrollton and Addison we’re also active in communities across Texas.

Contact us now!

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