Cinco de Mayo (the fifth of May) traditions date back to the Battle of Puebla in 1862, a battle between the invading French army and the indigenous Mexican people. The holiday commemorates their victory over the French and is widely celebrated in Mexico with parades, music, dancing, and food. In the US, Cinco de Mayo is typically a celebration of Mexican strength and heritage… and is the perfect excuse (like anyone needs one) to indulge in authentic Mexican fare. The cuisine of Mexico truly reflects the country’s diversity and uniqueness.
What are the most common traditional Cinco de Mayo foods?
- Tamales – made with a corn-based dough and stuffed with either savory (cheese, meat, etc) or sweet fillings, these treats are then wrapped in corn husks and steamed.
- Mole Poblano – Mole is a popular and traditional sauce made with roasted chilies and bitter chocolate.
- Chalupas – made with thick fried tortillas topped with sour cream, lettuce, tomato, cheese, meat, and salsa.
- Enchiladas – made with corn tortillas, filled with your choice of meats or vegetarian options, and swimming in a delicious sauce.
- Chiles en Nogada – plated to resemble the Mexican flag (red, white, and green), this dish consists of chilies stuffed with beef and vegetables then topped with a walnut sauce and pomegranate seeds.
- Pozole – a pork-based stew, also known as pozole rojo, filled with onions, garlic, hominy, and tender pork.
- Flan – also known as crème caramel, this is a creamy custard dessert topped with caramel.
- Churros – perfectly crisp on the outside and pillowy soft in the center, these delicious desserts are deep fried and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.
A few fun Cinco de Mayo facts:
- The battle of Puebla is reenacted every year in Mexico City.
- According the California Avocado Commission, over 81 million avocados are consumed during Cinco de Mayo celebrations.
- Enchiladas are the number one consumed food during Cinco de Mayo celebrations.
- Piñatas are frequently used to celebrate Cinco de Mayo however they were actually invented by the Chinese.
- Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexico’s Independence Day – that is September 16th.
- Cinco de Mayo is actually celebrated more fiercely in the United States than it is in Mexico.
- The largest Cinco de Mayo celebration, called Fiesta Broadway, takes place in Los Angeles, California.
- Cinco de Mayo is also celebrated in Canada, the Cayman Islands, Australia, Malta, Tokyo, Japan, and a few other places across the world.
Want to try a couple of authentic dishes this year? Try these:
Do you celebrate Cinco de Mayo? What are your favorite Mexican food dishes? Let us know in the comments below!