When you think of authentic Mexican food, tacos are probably the first thing to come to mind. Right?
Well, there’s much more to Mexican cuisine than tacos! In this guide, I’m sharing the best fun facts about food in Mexico.
Find your favorite Mexican dish by reading on.
Fun facts about Mexican food
1. Caesar Salad originated in Mexico
Here’s one of the most interesting facts about Mexican food:
Caesar salad was created in Mexico by Italian chef Caesar Cardini.
Cardini landed in Tijuana after leaving California, and on July 4th, 1924 he’s said to have come up with the Caesar Salad.
2. Mexican food is packed with fruits and veggies
In Mexican foods, you’ll find essentials like corn, beans, and chilli peppers, but also chayote and cactus.
Fruits play a big role, too.
Mangos in salads, and pomegranates in some special traditional dishes like chiles en nogada.
3. Tomatoes come from Mexico
The word “tomato” actually comes from the nahuatl word “tomatl,” which was spoken in the Aztec empire.
When the Spanish conquistadors returned to Europe in the early 16th century, they brough back this juicy fruit.
4. Nachos were invented by Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya
Nachos were invented by a guy named Ignacio Anaya Garcia.
Back in 1943, in Piedras Negras, Mexico, Nacho made this snack for some U.S. military wives visiting his place.
He just took some tortillas, added cheese and jalapeños, and called it “Nacho’s especiales.” And just like that, he made snack history.
Mexican food facts
5. Pozole soup symbolizes Mexican heritage
Pozole soup is more than just a dish in Mexico; it’s a symbol of their heritage.
Made with hominy, meat, and spices, it’s often served during celebrations. Pozole represents the blend of pre-Hispanic and Spanish cultures in Mexico.
6. Mexican avocados were once banned in the U.S.
Did you know Mexican avocados were banned in the U.S. for a long time?
This ban started in 1914 and lasted until 1997. The U.S. government was concerned about pest infestations.
It wasn’t until 1997 that they lifted this ban, but even then, it was only for avocados from certain Mexican farms.
By 2002, this restriction expanded, allowing Hass avocados from all over Mexico into all 50 states.
7. Beans and chilies are the heart of Mexican cuisine
Beans and chilies give traditional Mexican food its heart and soul.
Black, pinto, or kidney beans are in many dishes, from refried beans to burritos.
Then there are chilies, with over 150 types in Mexico. They vary in flavor and heat, adding depth to the cuisine.
8. Mexican cooking requires special tools
In authentic Mexican cuisine, you often need special cooking tools.
There’s the molcajete for grinding up salsa and spices. Then there’s the molinillo, a unique whisk perfect for making chocolate foam.
And finally the comal to cook tortillas – a heavy pan made of cast iron.
9. Tamales have existed for thousands of years
Tamales have been around for a really long time – they date back about 8,000 years.
The Aztecs, ancient Mayans, and other native peoples in Mexico and Central America made them.
Tamales were more than food; they were a part of rituals, celebrations, and special occasions, just like today.
What are tamales?
Tamales are a traditional Mexican dish made of masa (a dough usually made from corn) and filled with meats, cheeses, fruits, or chilies, then wrapped in a corn husk or banana leaf and steamed.
10. Corn was a sacred grain in Mexico
One of the best fun facts about Mexican food is that corn was considered sacred.
Ancient Mexicans believed it was a gift from the gods. And although it’s not considered sacred any more, it has remained a key part of Mexican cooking.
You’ll find corn in everything, from tortillas to tamales.
11. Mexican families eat lots of tortillas
Tortillas are one of the most popular Mexican dishes, and they’re a big deal in family meals.
It’s pretty common for families to eat a lot of them, like up to two pounds every day.
Tortillas, made from cornmeal, are used in all sorts of authentic Mexican dishes, so they’re a must-have in every home.
12. Tacos were created by Mexican silver miners
Tacos actually got their start with Mexican silver miners.
Back in the 18th century, these miners first created what we know as tacos. It wasn’t fancy – just a simple snack they could eat on the go.
This humble beginning in the mines laid the foundation for tacos to become a key part of Mexican cuisine and later, a worldwide favorite.
Fun fact about the word ‘taco’
Mexican silver miners wrapped gunpowder in a paper like a “taquito” and inserted it into rocks before detonation. That’s how the word taco originated.
13. Tacos are celebrated on special days in the U.S. and Mexico
Tacos are a big hit in Mexico and the U.S..
So much so that they’re celebrated on National Taco Day on October 4th in the U.S., and in Mexico, there’s Dia del Taco on March 31st.
These days are all about tacos – eating them, enjoying them with friends, and just celebrating how much everyone loves this dish.
14. Tacos were traditionally a lunch food
Traditionally, tacos in Mexico were mainly lunch food. The word “taco” translates to “light lunch” or “light meal.”
Even though people eat them anytime now, they used to be a midday thing.
15. Chocolate was a luxurious gift from ancient Mexico
Chocolate comes from ancient Mexico.
The Aztecs and Mayans were the first to make it, but they drank it spicy and hot, not like the chocolate we eat now.
Back then, it was a real luxury, something special.
16. Spanish influence on Mexican culinary history
The Spanish had a huge impact on Mexican food when they arrived.
They brought over foods like pork, beef, and dairy – things that weren’t in Mexico before.
This mix of Spanish ingredients with native Mexican ones created a whole new blend of flavors and shaped a lot of the Mexican dishes we know today.
17. Regional variations in Mexican cuisine
Mexican cuisine varies a lot by region. Up north, they’re big on meat-heavy dishes.
Down south, it’s more about chicken and veggies. And in places like Baja, you’ll find awesome fish dishes.
It’s not just one kind of food across the country – each area has its own flavors and specialties, which makes Mexican cuisine really diverse.
18. Guacamole originates from the Aztec
Guacamole goes way back to the Aztecs. They mashed up avocados, which were already growing in Mexico and Central America.
The name “guacamole” comes from the Aztec language, Nahuatl, where “āhuacamolli” combines “āhuacatl” (avocado) and “molli” (sauce).
19. Regional Taco Specialties Across Mexico
In Mexico, tacos vary a lot from region to region.
Like in Baja, you get these amazing fish tacos, crispy and fresh. But up in Northern Mexico, it’s all about carne asada tacos, stuffed with grilled beef.
5 regional taco specialties from across Mexico
- Tacos al Pastor – Central Mexico
- Tacos de Asador – Northern Mexico
- Baja Fish Tacos – Baja California
- Tacos de Carnitas – Michoacán
- Tacos de Guisados – Found all over Mexico
20. The Fajita trend began in the 1970s
The fajita trend in the U.S. really took off in the 1970s.
Before that, they were a simple meal for Texas cowboys in the 1930s – just grilled skirt steak with veggies in a tortilla.
The big break came when Ninfa’s restaurant in Houston put fajitas on their menu in 1975.
That’s when fajitas went from cowboy food to a popular dish everyone wanted.
FAQ – Fun fact about real Mexican food
What is a fun fact about Mexican food?
A fun fact about Mexican food is that the Caesar salad was actually invented in Mexico, not Italy or the U.S.
It was created by an Italian chef named Caesar Cardini in Tijuana during the 1920s.
What are Mexican foods known for?
Mexican foods are known for their bold flavors, use of fresh ingredients, and various spices, especially chili.
Staples include corn, beans, avocados, tomatoes, and a wide range of meats.
What are 5 facts about Mexico?
Here are five facts about Mexico:
- Mexico is the 11th most populous country in the world.
- It’s home to the world’s largest pyramid by volume, the Great Pyramid of Cholula.
- Mexico introduced chocolate, chilies, and corn to the world.
- The country has 34 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, reflecting its rich cultural and natural heritage.
- Mexico City is built over the ruins of a great Aztec city, Tenochtitlán.
What makes Mexican food special?
Mexican food is special because it’s a mix of rich flavors and fresh ingredients like corn, beans, and chili peppers.
It combines traditional Mexican and Spanish styles, giving you a huge variety of tastes. Plus, each dish often has a cool story behind it.