Undoubtedly an important part of Mexican culture is its varied cuisine. When Christopher Columbus started his search for valuable species in 1492, instead of arriving in India, he found America, sparking off the conquest of countries which like México opened the world to new culinary horizons with its universal donation of vanilla, avocado, corn, tomato and chocolate, among others.
In central México you'll find a blend of Aztec and Spanish. Typical is the centuries old "mole poblano", a thick, dark sauce made with dried chilies, nuts, seeds, spices, cocoa and other ingredients.
Southern México, with its variety of dried peppers, is famous for its savory herbed stews and sauces.
Seafood, garnished with tomatoes and herbs followed by rich coffee is the basic meal along the Pacific Coast. And in the Yucatan Peninsula, dinner is likely to be a Mayan delicacy like "pork pibil" cooked in banana leaves with the famed "achiote" sauce.
Mexican food is popular throughout the world. But the kind you're probably used to—tacos with guacamole, quesadillas, enchiladas and carnitas—is only a small part of this country's culinary repertoire. With it's variety of indigenous civilizations, each region in México is marked by a distinct aroma, taste and texture.
One of the most popular drinks in Mexico is tequila. This infamous spirit is most commonly served to tourists in the form of a margarita – mixed with lime juice in salt-rimmed glasses. Mezcal is a cruder form of Tequila traditionally served with a worm in the bottle – the worm should be eaten when the bottle is finished!
The other popular alcoholic beverage of choice is Cerveza or Mexican beer. Corona, Sol and Dos Equis are common brands, usually served cold and a very refreshing alternative to iced drinks.
Staples foods in Mexico are very similar to what you would find in most Mexican restaurants in your city. Tortillas are the staple food of generations of ordinary Mexicans; tortillas can be made of flour (more common in the north) or maize (the traditional method and still the most common in the south). Often served alongside a meal as bread would be, tortillas are also used in many typical dishes – rolled and baked for enchiladas, fried for tacos or grilled for quesadillas.
Frijoles (beans) are good source of protein and are a part of almost every Mexican meal. They use beans of different varieties and they are most commonly boiled and then fried. They can be a main ingredient in a meal or served almost as a garnish.
Chilies or peppers are also an important part of Mexican cuisine. When choosing a chili dish in general, the bigger the chili, the milder the flavor. Large Poblano chilies are stuffed and served as a main course; the small habañero is ferociously hot and is usually used only as a garnish or to add a little heat to the dish.
Guacamole is also a common addition to a traditional Mexican meal. This side dip is made from Avocado mashed with onions, chilies and cilantro or coriander.
And no Mexican meal is complete without Salsa. Salsa is actually just a sauce, although it is most commonly associated with the red or green mix of tomatoes, onion, chili and cilantro (coriander) served on your table as a relish or a dip.