|Torta de Tamal - or Guagaloto - Double Vitamins!|
Once, during my first months living in Mexico, in Cuernavaca, I was giving an English class in the Nissan plant there; the topic of the class was health food. A couple of the students mentioned different kinds of natural juices, vegetables, etc. Then the third student spoke:
"I follow the vitamin T diet," he said with a humorous little smile; "Tacos, Tortas and Tamales!"
|Tacos al Pastor - a Favorite|
Tacos. Most people know what these are, but in Mexico they tend to put more meat (greasier and tastier) and fewer vegetables, with only sprinkle of onions and coriander leaves. Tacos have many tasty variations, including "al Pastor" which has meat from a spit, like Doner Kebabs, but with Mexican spices. Tacos deserve several posts on their own. Around Mexico city small ones can be found for as low as 15 cents a piece (you'll need to order about 10), or larger ones with more expensive toppings like shrimp for up to $3 a piece; one of these could be an entire meal.
|A Classic Torta - Lots of Meat|
Tamales. Mexico City has it's favorite type of tamales, the kind wrapped in corn husk. These all have the same cake-like texture, but can have a large variety of flavors, from sweet with raisins, to chicken or hot peppers with cheese, or a spicy sauce called mole. You can even find "tortas de tamales" also called "guajalotos" which are tamales stuck inside of role. Outside of the central region, they make different varieties, often wrapped in banana leaves, almost inevitably with chicken. These have a smoother texture. These have many varieties, and this is a broad generalization. The Guatemalan variety which you can find in Toronto is very similar. People like to have a hot, sweet drink called "atole" with tamales, especially a variety called "champurado" which is chocolate flavored. In Mexico city a tamale is about 50 cents, and likewise atole. Here in Playa del Carmen, they're double that.
(I think there might be a bunch of other t-word foods that fall into this diet, but these are definitely among the favorites.)
If your diet avoids either fat or carbs, vitamin T might not do you much good. My guess is that this kind of diet has a very close connection to the fact that many Mexicans suffer from gastritis - a word that I can't really remember hearing before I moved here.
BUT all three are absolutely delicious! I also believe that in moderation, they're nothing wrong with eating this stuff, just not every day, every meal, like that student of mine back in Cuernavaca.