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The History of Mexican Food

Regardless of where you roam in the world, you will encounter history. That sidewalk you traverse to get to the bus stop, the house you call your home, the school you attend, or the office you work at (you guessed it) has its own history. Interestingly, the same can be said for the food we eat, which is why it’s unsurprising that Mexican food has its own unique history. 

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Mexican food has titillated the taste buds for hundreds of years and is always a feast for the eyes. The popularity of Mexican food has allowed a few incredible authentic Mexican food restaurants like Jalisco Mexican Grill to open doors to eager patrons. 

If you’re as eager to learn more about Mexican cuisine as you are to consume it, you have come to the right blog. We’re going to look at the wonderfully unique history of Mexican cuisine so that you know more about the meals you plan on ordering in the future. 

The Origins Of Mexican Food

As you now know, the history of Mexican food goes back hundreds of years. Yet, did you know that it’s believed Authentic Mexican cuisine could be derived from the Mayan Indians thousands of years ago and that many Mexican meals have Aztec and Spanish influences? 

The Mayan Indians were traditionally nomadic hunters and gatherers who lived off bean paste and corn tortillas, common ingredients across many Mexican dishes. In addition to these staple food items, the Mayans also often consumed tropical fruits, fish, and wild game.

By the mid-1300s, the Aztec Empire was at its peak, but the staples remained the same. Yet, many other ingredients were introduced to create new flavors. Ingredients like honey, salt, chocolate, and chili peppers made their way into many dishes. At this time, duck and turkey also began to be used. 

The Spanish ingredients influenced traditional Mexican meals when Spain invaded Mexico in 1521. Although the Mayan Indians influenced authentic Mexican cuisine, Spanish foods had the most influence on Mexican dishes. 

Within a short amount of time, Spanish ingredients like pork, beef, lamb, garlic, and multiple herbs and spices made their way into Mexican food. Additionally, during this time, other cultures also influenced Mexican cuisine. For example, ingredients and recipes from South America, West Africa, the Caribbean, and the Portuguese nations merged with Mexican recipes to become wholly unique. This is why there is nothing quite like Mexican cuisine!

A Brief History On Three Of Our Favorite Mexican Meals

Now that you know a broad history of how Mexican cuisine came to be, you might be interested in learning a brief history surrounding some of the more popular dishes. 


The first reference to the Mexican meal “Enchiladas” can be traced back to 1885 in the United States. Yet, the concept of tortillas being used as a meal wrap has been linked to the Aztecs. This popular meal is a fan favorite at restaurants because of how mouthwatering the many recipe variations are. Trust us. You need to try this meal at least once. 


Although it might be difficult to believe, approximately 4,000 years ago, the original form of salsa was sold in Aztec marketplaces. Modern salsas have many of the same core ingredients of the past, including red tomatoes, tomatillo, and chipotle. Unlike the original salsa recipes, modern Mexican meals have added avocado and other ingredients to create a masterfully delicious blend of the old and new. 


If you haven’t yet tried tamale, you need to consider it. This meal is made with corn dough and has many different filling options. The first reference of tamale can be traced back to Pre Columbus times when it was documented that Aztecs served Spaniard’s tamale during the 1550s. 

Mexican cuisine is colorful, flavorsome, and memorable. We have only touched on the histories of a few of the delicious Mexican meals you can still try today. If you want to enjoy an authentic Mexican meal, you should consider visiting us at the Jalisco Mexican Grill in Sarasota. 

We have an extensive menu offering the best Mexican foods, including a few vegetarian adaptations. To book a table, you can contact us at (941) 217-4536 or visit us in person at 8389 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, Florida.

Contact Us


    Monday12:00 PM — 9:00 PM
    Tuesday12:00 PM — 9:00 PM
    Wednesday12:00 PM — 9:00 PM
    Thursday12:00 PM — 9:00 PM
    Friday12:00 PM — 9:00 PM
    Saturday12:00 PM — 9:00 PM
    Sunday12:00 PM — 9:00 PM

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