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We have all turned our calendars to the November page and with that people’s favorite season has arrived. Everyone loves the holiday season and there are several reasons for that. The Christmas season is a time that bring families together, it’s a time where you can take a break from everyday stress, and give and receive presents. Who doesn’t love that feeling of receiving a gift from the people closest to us? But everyone can probably agree that the main reason we all look forward to the holiday season is the amazing food. This article delves into the 10 most popular Mexican Christmas foods you have to try.
There are so many holiday food classics that just take you back to the wonderful childhood years. But if you’re traveling south this holiday season, you will discover that each place has its own local traditional holiday meals. If your destination is Mexico, you don’t have to worry since down there you’ll find some of the best seasonal foods. Even if you’re not traveling, and just want to try something different this season, this list covers the most popular Mexican Christmas foods.
Mexican Christmas cuisine mixes the very best of its pre-Hispanic and Spanish roots, as well as some international classics, bringing to the table unique flavors that pair perfectly with the Mexican seasonal parties. Whether you enjoy salty and spicy or sweet and fragrant, this list will help you create a fabulous Mexican Christmas menu with some of the best foods in Mexico.
First on our list of popular Mexican Christmas foods is Pozole. This delicious classic Mexican dish is also commonly served during other festivities like on Mexican Independence Day or during Mexican Revolution Day. Pozole is the perfect dish to start off a celebration night. It may be red, green, or white, served with pork, beef, chicken, or even in some coastal cities shrimp, topped with oregano, chili flakes, radishes, and, of course, a lot of lime juice. It pairs great with carne asada. This dish will make you feel a Mexican holiday celebration as it is intended.
Bacalao is one of the most popular Mexican Christmas foods and without a doubt you will find it on any Mexican dinner table during Christmas. Bacalao is a Christmas meal that every Mexican family has its own secret recipe for that dates back many generations. Bacalao is a salted cod fish brought to Mexico by the Spanish and is prepared in many ways; it may be sweet or salty, either way, the preparation usually lasts for days since it takes a while to de-salt the fish. Its most famous preparation style is with a tomato sauce base with onions, olives, and peppers. In some households, the bacalao is used as a filling for tortas or sandwiches.
Also a meal that will likely be a part of any Christmas dinner celebration in Mexico. Romeritos in English means “little rosemary”, it is a plant that in fact looks like rosemary, it is usually served with some protein and black mole. This popular Mexican Christmas food combines the seasonal tradition with ancestral preparations. Romeritos can be steamed, boiled, or sautéed and then are tossed into a wide variety of dishes such as a creamy pasta, poultry stew, or a Christmas salad for the Noche Buena or Christmas Eve family dinner.
Turkey is very popular during the holiday season in many places around the world, but it being a bird native to Mexico, makes it extra special to enjoy during a Mexican Christmas Eve dinner. It is served roasted and topped with mole sauce making it extra juicy and with a unique kick to the palate. When the turkey is served stuffed, the filling is usually made with a base of other proteins such as ground beef or pork, mixed with vegetables, and a delicious sauce.
Pierna (Pork Leg)
Another popular Mexican Christmas food ideal for the main course and perfect for having a protein variety. This dish is oven baked slowly with an adobo glaze or a citrus coating. The best part of this Christmas Eve dinner dish is to try it on the Christmas “recalentado” or re-warming day, when the leftovers taste even better than they did on the first day because all the flavors have blended together and intensified. This is a must try Mexican traditional food for Christmas.
Probably the most iconic and typical Mexican food dating back to the year 5,000 B.C. One of the most fascinating things about tamales is that it still is a very loved and important dish after so many centuries. Tamales are made of corn dough, they may be sweet or salty and are usually filled with chicken, fruit, mole, green chile, corn, fruit, or sugar, among many other possible fillings. They are steamed and served wrapped inside a corn or banana leaf. Since it’s a complex preparation, time consuming, and needs multiple hands, tamales are commonly served only during special occasions. Not everyone knows how to make the perfect tamale, but when you find the perfect one and try it, with a topping of sour cream and salsa, the flavorful experience will be impossible to forget.
Continuing with the popular Mexican Christmas foods for the last part of the meal. The best way to finish an amazing Christmas feast is with a delicious dessert and this typical Mexican Christmas treat is the best choice. Buñuelos are a widely popular Mexican dessert commonly served after the Christmas Eve dinner or as a snack during the Posadas festivities. Buñuelos are sweet, golden fried fritters topped with brown sugar and cinnamon. The pre-Hispanic tradition of smashing a clay plate and making a wish right after enjoying the buñuelo is still a part of the Christmas tradition in some Mexican areas. Trying a buñuelo with a cup of Mexican hot chocolate is as Christmassy as it can get.
Besides popular Mexican Christmas foods, Mexico also has popular Christmas drinks. Ponche Navideño means “Christmas Punch” in English and has been associated with a typical “Christmas smell”. Mexico has a complete Mexican Christmas menu, not missing a thing. Ponche is a warm Christmas beverage… a Mexican fruit punch, made with a wide variety of fruits, some of them local to Mexico such as tejocotes. This warm beverage has a unique sweet scent that will instantly make you think of Christmas. But be careful, whenever you see ponche is being served, and ask what’s in it exactly because it is common to add some tequila or rum to the mix.
Also, one of the Mexican traditional drinks at Christmas, you could say it’s the Mexican equivalent to eggnog. Rompope is a delicious creamy vanilla liquor with a walnut accent perfect for an after-dinner drink or “digestivo”. Rompope is a drink traditionally made by nuns in convents in the state of Puebla. It may be low in alcohol, but high on the amazing sweet flavor.
Rosca De Reyes
Even though Rosca de Reyes or “Three Kings Bread” in English is not eaten on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, it is one of the most representative and popular Mexican Christmas foods since it is served on Día de Reyes or “Three Kings Day” celebrated on January 6th, marking the end of the holiday celebrations. Rosca de Reyes is a sweet bread topped with dry fruits and sugar, usually served with hot chocolate. It has multiple plastic figures of the Baby Jesus hidden inside of it and, whoever gets a slice of Rosca with the hidden figure, has to organize a tamales party on Día de la Candelaria or “Candlemass Day”, celebrated on February 2nd.
Now, whether you’re traveling or just planning a different Christmas experience with a Mexican-themed dinner, you will be surprised by these amazing flavors and will amaze your guests with these delicious popular Mexican Christmas foods. Once you try them, you will be tempted to repeat the same Christmas menu filled with Mexican traditional food every year!