Monterrey, Mexico is too often seen as solely an area for hot air balloon flights, a home to some of the best waterfalls in Mexico, or a launching point for a Matacanes tour, but it’s finally getting some props in the food department.
The city is an excellent food and beer locale, beginning to make name for itself as a place of diverse influences and flavors.
The variety of foodstuffs in the north is not as varied as in the south, because of the mostly desert climate. And much of the cuisine of this area is dependent on food preservation techniques, namely dehydration and canning.
Thanks to the dry, arid climate, the indigenous people preserved the meat of the animals they hunted by leaving it to dry in the sun. Nowadays dried meat has become a common dish in the homes of the people of Monterrey.
“Machaca con huevo” is dried, salted beef that is rehydrated, lightly roasted over fire, soaked in water to remove the salt and to soften, then pounded to pieces, traditionally over a mesquite trunk, by a mesquite pole. Then it’s put in water again to get out more salt, and finally squeezed and fried in a skillet. A salsa is made with onion, chili, tomato and oregano, the salsa is mixed into the fried beef and the whole thing is cooked for about five minutes. Most people expect to eat this with wheat tortillas, beans and coffee.
Ultimately, there are three major characteristics of the state’s cuisine; extensive orange orchards are found around Montemorelos, there’s plenty of meat and dairy products, and there’s also lots of processed food and articles made of wheat flour instead of cornmeal because of its proximity to the USA.
However, the specialty in Monterrey, is goat kid slow-cooked over a charcoal fire, giving it a unique, smoky taste. The locals say that if you haven’t tried “cabrito”, it’s like you haven’t really visited Monterrey. To ensure the meat is tender and juicy, the kid is normally still a suckling, and no more than 40 days old. The dish is traditionally accompanied by flour tortillas, “frijoles borrachos” (a bean stew cooked in beer), and “pico de gallo” salsa, all washed down with an ice-cold beer.
Mezcal, another cultural classic, is distilled from pulque, which is a mildly intoxicating drink made by fermenting the sap, or aguamiel, of the maguey agave. If you’re ever without ideas of what to do in Monterrey, a Mezcal tour is the perfect day filler.