etiquette for eating at a mexican restaurant

Mexican Restaurant Etiquette: 12 Tips To Enjoy Mexican Venues

who this class is for

Restaurant guests

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About this micro-class

Mexican restaurant etiquette is crucial to ensure a pleasant dining experience for both guests and the restaurant staff.

Etiquette for Guests at a Mexican Restaurant

1. Key Characteristics of the Food

Mexican cuisine is known for its vibrant flavors, diverse ingredients, and rich culinary history.

Common ingredients include corn, beans, tomatoes, chili peppers, avocados, and various meats such as beef, pork, and chicken.

Spices like cumin, oregano, and cilantro are often used to add depth to dishes.

2. Cuisines

Mexican cuisine can be categorized into several regional styles, each with its own unique flavors and dishes. Some popular sub-cuisines include:

  • Northern Mexican cuisine: Influenced by cowboy culture, known for dishes like carne asada (grilled meat) and flour tortillas.
  • Oaxacan cuisine: Known for its moles (complex sauces), tlayudas (large tortillas topped with various ingredients), and chapulines (grasshoppers).
  • Yucatecan cuisine: Influenced by Mayan culture, known for dishes like cochinita pibil (slow-roasted pork) and papadzules (tortillas filled with egg and topped with pumpkin seed sauce).

3. Typical Foods at this Type of Establishment

Common dishes you may find at a Mexican restaurant include tacos, enchiladas, burritos, tamales, quesadillas, and fajitas.

Many restaurants also offer traditional appetizers like guacamole, salsa, and nachos.

4. Condiments That are Common

Common condiments include salsa (red or green), guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo, and pickled jalapeƱos.

5. Drinks That are Recommended or Not Recommended

Recommended drinks include traditional beverages like horchata (rice milk), agua fresca (fruit-infused water), and margaritas.

Avoid overly sweetened cocktails or heavy beers that might overpower the flavors of the food.

6. Dietary Restrictions and Options

Mexican cuisine offers plenty of options for vegetarians and vegans, including bean and vegetable tacos, enchiladas filled with spinach or mushrooms, and dishes like chiles rellenos (stuffed peppers).

For those with celiac disease, corn tortillas are typically gluten-free, but it’s essential to inquire about potential cross-contamination in the kitchen.

7. Table Etiquette

In Mexican culture, it’s common to eat with utensils, especially in more formal settings.

However, for certain dishes like tacos or finger foods, it’s acceptable to eat with your hands.

Remember to use napkins and avoid talking with your mouth full.

8. Meals in Day and Hours

Lunch is typically the main meal of the day in Mexico and is often eaten between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm. Dinner is usually served later, starting around 7:00 pm and lasting until 10:00 pm or later.

9. Structure of Meals & Duration

The duration of a meal can vary depending on the pace of service and the number of courses ordered.

A typical meal might start with appetizers like chips and salsa, followed by main courses such as tacos or enchiladas, and ending with dessert or coffee.

10. How to Order

People often order a variety of dishes to share at the table, allowing everyone to sample different flavors.

Start with appetizers or small plates and then move on to main courses. It’s common to order multiple dishes and share them family-style.

11. Sharing

Sharing food is not only acceptable but encouraged in Mexican culture. It fosters a sense of community and allows everyone to try a variety of dishes. Just be sure to ask before reaching for someone else’s plate.

12. Bad Manners to Avoid

Avoid wasting food, as it’s considered disrespectful. Additionally, don’t haggle over prices or complain excessively about the food or service. Show appreciation for the meal and the efforts of the staff.

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