Portfolio of Janice Cheng (2018)
Culturally authentic meals are always a little hard to come by unless you’re in the place it’s originates from. I find this to be true with most foods and it’s the same with Mexican food. Some of the food I had in Mexico is similar to the food I’ve had in the Mexican restaurants in Madison in terms of flavor. The culturally authentic meals are, most of the time, more flavourful than the less culturally authentic ones. But then again, it still depends on how good of a chef the cook is. I also noticed that Mexicans tend to be able to tolerate more spicy foods. The salsa served at Mexican restaurants are always more spicy than what we’re used to having in America.
I think the bigger difference would be in terms of variation and options of food and ingredients in specific dishes. There is definitely more options on the menus in the restaurants in Mexico. They offer almost everything from mushrooms to liver while in the Mexican restaurants in Madison, they only offer chicken, beef, etc and do not have vegetarian options most of the time. The breakfast menus are entirely different from those in America whereby in Mexico, eggs, chilaquiles and hot cakes are the breakfast go-to items while in America, pancakes (same as hotcakes), bacon and potatoes are typically served.
Depending on which restaurant we go to, the quality of service differs. There are some restaurants in which the waiter or waitresses checks in on us at the table to see if we need anything throughout the meals while some others leave us alone to “eat in peace” like other parts of the world. Tipping is still a habit in Mexico and I think this is due to Mexico’s close proximity to the US. The customers eat at a comfortable pace in the US and are not hurried out by the waiters or waitresses but they do not take absolutely long to finish their meals either.
There are also quite a number of food vendors on motorcycles who sell food or snacks by the side of the road. These foods or snacks are usually sold for really cheap. This is not a common sight in America due to health and safety issues. Regardless, I appreciate having this commodity because it allows me to taste what typical, everyday Mexican food tastes like.