If there is one country in the world I've always wanted to visit, it's Mexico. Donald Trump can stick his wall where the sun doesn't shine, because I've wanted to go there ever since I ate my first fajita (thanks, Mum). The home of some of our favourite spicy dishes, Mexico has undoubtedly stolen my heart, one portion of guacamole at a time.
But obviously, we don't know everything about Mexican cuisine - far from it in fact. If you thought that enchiladas and tostadas were the pinnacle, then I'm afraid to tell you that you're lagging behind. Mexico has so many untapped foodie delights to try that we decided to bring you some crackers that you may not have tried before. Enjoy.
Fancy a Mexican breakfast? Well look no further than Chilaquiles. Lightly fried corn tortillas cut into quarters and topped with green or red salsa, these little guys are often topped with scrambed (or fried) eggs, pulled chicken, cheese and cream. In short, Mexicans know that bran flakes aren't a proper morning meal.
Mexicans even know how to make soup better than we do! Made from hominy corn with plenty of herbs and spices, the dish is traditionally stewed overnight. Mainly made with chicken, pork or vegetables, this is one soup that thrives on its toppings. When ready to serve, lettuce, radish, onion, lime and chili are sprinkled on top for a big finale.
3. Tacos al pastor
We've all had tacos before, but these guys are the real deal. A historic dish, Tacos al pastor date back to the 1920s or 1930s and have Lebanese and Syrian influences. These bad boys are made by slicing thin strips of pork off a spit, placing them on a corn tortilla and serving with onions, cilantro leaves and pineapple. Juicy and flavorsome, these are tacos you have been looking for.
4. Chiles en nogada
Maybe not a dish for Donald Trump, this dish contains all the colors of the Mexican flag and is considered hugely patriotic. The green comes from poblano chillies filled with picadillo (a tasty mixture of chopped meat, fruits and spices), the walnut-based cream sauce is of course the white, while the red comes from pomegranate seeds. Coming with a trusty backstory, this dish was apparently first served to Don Agustin de Iturbide, who became the Emperor of Mexico.
The Mexican twist on corn on the cob, elote is serious stuff. The corn is boiled, then smothered with toppings. Salt, chili powder, lime, butter, cheese mayonnaise and sour cream are all thrown on top, and it makes for one of the best street foods in Mexico. Sign me up.
Time to get saucy, and introduce you to mole. Pronounced "mol-eh", this rich sauce is massive in Mexican cooking. Lots of places in Mexico claim to be the home of the delightful condiment, and recipes vary. Despite this however, most recipes contain around 20 ingredients, including a few varieties of chili pepper. Mole is at its best when poured generously over chicken or turkey. Personally, I quite fancy having a mole Christmas dinner this year!
Another dish with a bit of history, tamales were first created by the Aztec, Mayan and Inca tribes. Designed to be eaten on the go, these snacks consist of pockets of corn dough stuffed with either a sweet or savoury filling, wrapped in banana leaves or corn husks and steamed. Depending on how you like them, fillings vary from meats and cheeses to fruits, vegetables, chilies and even mole.
We've all sat down to a Tex-Mex feast, but these sumptuous dishes are the real deal. Obviously, we love a little bit of American-Mexican fusion, but I'm not sure there is anything I want more right now than a lovely fresh bowl of pozole for my lunch. I think it's finally time to bite the bullet, ditch that fajita kit and find yourself some of these authentic Mexican delights.