The One Thing You Should Never Say in Mexico, Ever

The archaeological complex of Teotihuacan
The archaeological complex of Teotihuacan | © aadrian_gcov / Pixabay
Stephen Woodman

In every country in the world there are at least a few no-go topics of conversation. As a foreigner, offering your opinion on the country’s political leaders and history is a pretty universal faux pas, for example. While Mexicans are famously welcoming and easy-going, there are definitely a few things you should avoid saying as a guest.

When it comes to language, you should remember that the Spanish word “estupido,” or stupid, is much stronger and should never be used lightly. It is also useful to remember that the verb “coger” (to take) has a sexual connotation.

When it comes to geography, you should bear in mind that Mexico is in North America, rather than Central or South America.

With regards to money, you should steer clear of asking how much people make – personal finances are a private matter in Mexico.

Mexican pesos

But there is one thing above all that you should avoid saying in Mexico, partly because it can offend and partly because it could result in you missing out on one of the country’s most celebrated selling-points:

“I don’t like Mexican food.”

People can be quite sensitive when it comes to the topic of Mexican food as the country’s culinary culture is an important source of national pride. Mexicans are not the only people to recognize the merits of their cuisine; UNESCO added Mexican food to its cultural heritage list in 2010.

So while you may be dismissive of Taco Bell’s greasy burritos, bear in mind that UNESCO has other ideas: “Traditional Mexican cuisine is a comprehensive cultural model comprising farming, ritual practices, age-old skills, culinary techniques and ancestral community customs and manners.”

Pozole rojo

Corn, beans and chili are staples in Mexican cuisine, and quality ingredients such as tomatoes and avocados are in ample supply.

What’s more, Mexico is a vast country, and this size is reflected in its culinary culture. Each of its diverse regions uses very different ingredients and cooking techniques, so it is best to avoid narrow-minded generalisations.

Mexican culinary cultures

There are a wide range of different culinary cultures and styles vying for the foodie’s attention in Mexico. Oaxacan Food is notably unique and delicious. Here you’ll find Mayan and Aztec recipes fused with Spanish ingredients, as well as unusual delicacies such as grasshoppers or flying ants.

The Baja Med movement from (Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula) has also been grabbing the international spotlight in recent years. It is a unique blend of influences including Asian, Mediterranean, and Mexican flavors, and is now available throughout Mexico in some of the main tourist destinations.

UNESCO focused much of its praise for Mexican cuisine on the “Michoacan Paradigm,” which involves the participation of the community in the entire food chain, from planting to eating. The organization said that Mexican cuisine was “elaborate and symbol-laden,” and the knowledge of locals cooks “express community identity, reinforce social bonds, and build stronger local, regional and national identities.”

Taco de chapulines (grasshoppers)

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

Culture Trip Summer Sale

Save up to $1,665 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

toast-message-image
close-ad
Edit article