Whether presented as a dip, a topping, or a filling, no one can resist the mouthwatering creamy taste of Guacamole. It seems that countries like the USA and Europe can’t get enough of this nutty Mexican concoction of avocado, spices, and lime, but do they even eat Guacamole in Mexico, or is it actually American?
The people of Mexico do eat Guacamole. When prepared it is usually in its most basic form of avocado and chili and eaten as a snack or on tacos. Although Guacamole originated from Mexico, today it is more popular in Europe and America.
If we hear the words burrito and fajitas, we immediately think of Mexican cuisine. You’ll be surprised to hear that this is far from the truth. So I did some research to find out where these dishes actually originated which I wrote about in this article.
Is Guacamole Popular In Mexico?
Guacamole is one of Mexico’s most popular dishes and dates back to the time of the Aztecs. Mexico has the perfect climate for avocados which are the main ingredient in guacamole.
Avocados, or ‘green gold‘ as they are known in Mexico, is a multi-billion-dollar industry, so yes, Guacamole is still popular all over Mexico. However, avocado volumes are declining because of the high demand for these fruits from countries like the US.
Because of this decline, it is getting increasingly more difficult for them to serve authentic guac in cafés, stalls, and restaurants in their own country. To make matters even worse, avocado farmers often fear for their own lives and the existence of their crops as they are in constant danger from cartels.
As reported by Courier-Journal, a true story is that of an avocado farmer telling journalists that he used to lose up to five trucks (10 tons) of avocados per day as the cartels stole them.
All is not lost though, as most Mexican homes still serve guac in its purest form, which is basically just avocado and chili. You can also find guac in its purest form at most taquerias all over the country.
The dish is so popular that some restaurants have even started to invent different and exciting combinations of this Mexican favorite.
When Is Guacamole Eaten In Mexico?
Guacamole is commonly eaten as a snack, or as an accompaniment or topping to a main meal.
In Mexico, mealtime is family time, as with so many other cultures. In Mexico, though, there is one dish that almost always gets served whether sitting down for breakfast, lunch, or dinner: tortillas! And what better condiment to go with tortillas than Guacamole?
Mexico has a vast array of unique festivities and celebrations. Whether they celebrate their flag, their constitution, or their independence, food, including Guacamole and fried beans, is usually included in the party.
How Is Guacamole Eaten In Mexico?
In most restaurants in Mexico, Guacamole is served as a snack before the main meal arrives. The guacamole is set out on the table together with a plate of ‘Totopos,’ the Mexican version of what the US refer to as Nachos.
It is also quite common to replace Totopos with bread while also replacing the Guacamole with refried beans. Luckily, there is always the possibility to order a separate bowl of Guacamole to accompany your main meal.
For instance, in Polanco, a district in Mexico City, you can enjoy Guacamole made from avocado and marinated pork skin. Other exciting variations are found in Colonia Roma, San Angel, and Roma Norte where guacamole recipes include ingredients like chunks of beef, ant-larvae, slices of watermelon, and goat cheese. In Oaxaca they eat it with fried grasshoppers.
As the people of Mexico tend to think of Guacamole more in terms of a side dish, they commonly serve a bowl of Guacamole to compliment the main meal of carne asada and other meats. It can also be used on top of tacos.
Mexico also has variations on avocado salsas and other green sauces. See the differences in my post guacamole vs avocado salsa.
When Was Guacamole Invented?
The origins of basic Guacamole dates back to the 14th century when it was made in Southern Mexico by the Aztecs, a Mesoamerican culture from central Mexico. It is believed that the Aztecs domesticated the avocado tree almost 5,000 years ago.
Researchers believe it is in Puebla, a Mexican state, where the first avocados were grown and consumed almost 10,000 years ago.
The Aztecs were so enthralled with avocados that they even believed this fruit to have mythological powers and provide strength to those who ate it.
Subsequently, they started mashing up avocados in stone bowls to spread over tortillas. The Spanish began putting their own spin on Guacamole two centuries later by adding certain European flavors like lime, onion, and cilantro.
Is Guacamole Really Mexican?
Guacamole is Mexican as it was the Mexican people who first came up with the idea of mashing their native avocados and consuming it.
Furthermore, giving the Mexicans credit for Guacamole makes sense as this country has forever dominated the avocado market. The state of Michoacan, for example, export mostly all of its avocados to another country – the United States.
This tasty green dish even resembles the colors of the Mexican flag:
- Green from the avocado and the serrano chili;
- White from the onion;
- Red from the tomato.
Mexican Dishes Which Aren’t Popular In Mexico
In the early 1500s, Spain conquered the Aztec Empire of Mexico; the result was the gradual incorporation of various ingredients into authentic indigenous Mexican dishes.
Today, various Americanized Mexican dishes are not popular in Mexico. I found in my research that many of the Mexican dishes we love are not actually Mexican, but Mexico does have very similar dishes called by different names. Here is a list of “Tex-Mex” dishes that are not common in Mexico:
Chili Con Carne
Chili Con Carne is a beef stew containing beans and chili peppers, which immediately makes one think that this must be an authentic Mexican dish. That’s not true, though.
Translated, Chili Con Carne means ‘chili with meat.’ Settlers in Texas created this dish. The ingredients include ground beef, beans, spices, chili peppers, sour cream, tomatoes, and cheese.
The Mexican alternative to Chili Con Carne is a meaty stew called rebocado, and it’s made from ingredients like chili peppers, purslane leaves, and pork neck.
Fajitas come from 1930s Texas, where the Mexican ranch workers and cowboys were given spare cuts of cheap meat such as the skirt steak. These tough cuts were marinated with spices, grilled, and eaten with tortillas. The name comes from “faja” which means strip in Spanish. It wasn’t until decades later that fajitas were marketed and became mainstream around the US and Europe. They are now served with chicken strips regularly.
While you won’t find fajitas in Mexico, there is a similar dish there called alambre. Meat and onions are barbequed and served with tortillas, cheese, salsa, and avocado.
Hard-shell tacos are as Americanized as the hamburger. In general, the Mexicans’ tacos are much softer – using soft corn tortillas for tacos and flour tortillas for quesadillas.
The most common taco in the US is the hard shell taco and it was popularised by Taco Bell and other fast-food restaurants from the 1950s.
Are burritos Mexican or American? The origin of the burrito is unclear, but it is only popular in northern Mexico and remains unknown in most of the country. The popularity of the burrito is definitely down to California. Notably, the Mission district of San Francisco where the Mission-style burrito was created – this is filled deeply and wrapped in foil.
The name burrito translates to “little donkey” in Spanish. Why the name? No one knows for sure, but it could be because donkeys carry a lot of things on their back.
A chimichanga is similar to a burrito, but once it is wrapped up it is deep-fried. It’s popular in Southern US and is another member of Tex-Mex cuisine. It’s not found in Mexico and has potential origins in Arizona from a chef that dropped a burrito in the deep fat fryer.
The Taco Salad, a combination of hard-shell tacos, ground beef, beans, sour cream, and cheese, was created by the founder of Fritos, Elmer Doolin.
The Mexican version of the Americanized Taco is the handmade corn tortilla. Throughout Mexico, you can find these beautiful and delicious tortillas at any market, street vendor, or taqueria. They are usually filled with meat, fresh seafood, and an array of sauces and spices.
So, although Guacamole is very much Mexican, various varieties have been created all over the world. This nutty-flavored green dip has grown so much in popularity that Mexico can’t keep up with the export of avocados to various countries.
It’s interesting to learn that many so called Mexican dishes aren’t actually Mexican! Although I think I will pass on the fried grasshoppers with my guacamole.
Have any questions? Ask me in the comment section below and I’ll get back to you.
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