5@5 - Chef David Suarez
September 21st, 2010
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

If you think Mexican food is all chimichangas and chalupas, think again.

If anyone should know, it's chef David Suarez, the Culinary Director of Rosa Mexicano Restaurants - which has expanded from its New York City flagship to nine locations throughout the country.

Now, he's stopped by to bust some myths about the comida south of the border.

Five Myths about Mexican Food: David Suarez

1. It’s all about carbs, carbs, carbs
"The staples of Mexican cuisine do include corn and beans - which are full of fiber - but also vitamin-rich peppers, tomatoes and fruit. Authentic Mexican food incorporates seasonal produce, fresh cheeses, seafood, herbs and meats, as well as complex carbohydrates."

2. Mexican food is always spicy
"Chilies definitely play a vital role in Mexican food's robust and vibrant flavors, but there are scores of different types of chilies like ancho, guajillo, chipotle, etc. used in a myriad of ways, from traditional moles marinades and stews. The heat in these chilies can vary from sweet and smoky to rich and piquant."

3. Mexican meals are grande, muy grande
"Overstuffed burritos and enormous salads in a large fried taco shell are definitely not Mexican imports. In fact, throughout Mexico, antojitos, translated as "little cravings" or "whims," are among the most popular dishes for dinner. Available everywhere from street vendors to restaurants, authentic antojitos are small plates that offer variety so you can sample as much - or as little - of the menu as you like. Mexican tacos are actually small corn tortillas no bigger than the size of CD topped with a proportional amount of fresh filling."

4. A Chimichanga is Mexican food
"Oftentimes, Mexican food gets a much-maligned reputation because of Americanized or Tex-Mex interpretations of it that are mostly fried and covered with melted cheese. A massive platter of cheese and sour cream laden nachos is not common at all in Mexico and you would be hard-pressed to find any version of a chimichanga south of the border."

5. Mexican food is monotonous
"Mexican cuisine is extremely diverse and varies according to climate, geography and ethnic differences. Northern Mexico is known for its specialty meat dishes and braises, particularly the arrachera cut. Whereas the Veracruz province is famous for its fresh seafood - all beyond the typical tacos and big burritos."

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

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Filed under: 5@5 • Bite • Cuisines • Mexican • Think

soundoff (201 Responses)
  1. Vallartababy

    I, too, have lived in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco for seven years and nothing that is served in ANY american "mexican" restaurant should be considered "authentic mexican" unless there is an "authentic" (and legal) mexicano preparing it that speaks spanish only. I cringe when friends want to go out for "authentic" mexican and we end up at a Taco Bell or Taco John's (nothing but crap food) or any of the other purported "authentic" mexican neighborhood restaurants. I truly laugh when they order. You could put a plate of truly authentic mexican in front of a gringo and they would never know it. Mexican cooking only uses fresh ingredients, never canned, processed foods except for dairy and even mexican brand dairy products are better than ours and they taste better too. I have never eaten any thing that was drippig in fat. Nothing but fresh seafood (which is to die for) – pescado sarendeando (OMG). I miss fresh mexican food and can't wait to go back! I could eat it everyday and never get tired of it!

    August 25, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
  2. Jed

    Next he's going to say Taco Bell isn't really mexican food.

    September 23, 2010 at 8:55 am |
  3. Connnie

    I wonder why the fat content wasn't discussed. I love Mexican food and would eat it 6 days a week!

    September 23, 2010 at 7:39 am |
  4. roger canuck

    the last time i was down in LA i was shocked by the number of Latinos id seen, there must be a lot of Mexican restaurants to feed so many Mexicans, as far as quality even mediocre mexican food has to be better than some of the american crap i see people down there eating

    September 22, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  5. Stephen

    While I reallyy like 'authentic' Mexican food – Chimichangas are like cheeseburgers – if you love – they are a craving that you just gotta feed once in awhile.

    September 22, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  6. Elle

    Mexican food ... YUK!! Give me Italian any old time !!

    September 22, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
    • TOny

      You can thank Mexicans for that Italian food you like to eat. Without salsas (sauces) tomatoes, chiles, and corn gruel(Atolli) you wouldnt have polenta or pretty much any sauce.

      August 25, 2011 at 1:36 am |
  7. dumbcrap

    O dumb assh%%@ELS eat mexican crap food

    September 22, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
  8. Limer

    I love making authentic Mexican chow but man is it labor intensive to make. My favorite is a soup called pozole rojo and also chili rellenos.

    September 22, 2010 at 3:37 pm |
  9. Anita

    Does mexicans daily eat tacos and burritos at home?

    September 22, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
  10. Anita

    Does Mexicans eat Tacos and Burritos daily at home?

    September 22, 2010 at 2:40 pm |
  11. vato loco

    You all have missed the point. there is a big difference. Most all mexican food is TEX-MEX. all created in central and south Texas. most restaurants north of Texas serve americanized versions of TEX-MEX. come to Texas if you want great mexican food

    September 22, 2010 at 1:31 pm |
  12. Les

    we've lived in: TX, NM and CA... so my version is called: New Cal Tex Mex. and it is yummy

    September 22, 2010 at 10:44 am |
  13. Texas Vic

    Dang, I guess CNN pulled leafs post. I was curious to read what the moron said.

    September 22, 2010 at 10:13 am |
  14. andrew

    Unfortunately, a lot of Americans are exposed to the same ingredients (tortilla, beef, lettuce, tomatoe and cheese) in different formats and told it is mexican food.

    September 22, 2010 at 10:10 am |
  15. bailoutsos

    In case you did not know, Del Taco and Taco Bell are not real Mexican food.

    September 22, 2010 at 8:53 am |
  16. bailoutsos

    For flour tortillas, you need lard.

    September 22, 2010 at 8:52 am |
  17. bailoutsos

    Been growing ancho pablano chilies in containers. My son made some great chili rellenos.

    September 22, 2010 at 8:50 am |
  18. hary

    how about some article on Indian food?

    September 22, 2010 at 12:53 am |
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