The Mexican Foods That Don't Exist In The US, According To Rick Martínez - Exclusive

The United States is no stranger to Mexican cuisine. Taco Tuesdays and margaritas have quickly become America's favorite pastime, with burritos, quesadillas, and enchiladas being some fan-favorite foods. If you thought of Chipotle's famous bowls and salads, we did too. Although the country has endless options of Mexican-American dishes, there is so much more to the culture that may not be seen in the U.S. That's why it's important that chefs like Rick Martínez bring awareness to a cuisine that birthed a multitude of delicious meals.

In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Rick Martínez revealed all about his mole recipes and authentic Mexican food. The cookbook author traveled far and wide across Mexico to dig back into his cultural roots and reach the heart of the cuisine. Martínez mentioned that the United States doesn't necessarily offer traditional mole (a special sauce normally paired with a protein). So if America doesn't have authentic mole available, what else does the country not have? Martínez has two answers to that question.

Traditional tamales and tortas are hard to find

Mashed asked Rick Martínez to name an underrated Mexican food in the United States. According to the New York Times contributor, tamales and tortas don't "exist enough in the U.S." Martínez explained, "Americans are aware of tamales, but they probably only think of it as either pork, chicken, or a veg with cheese, and then that's it." He added, "There's 100 million different varieties of it." Martínez described tamales as his "favorite food in all of Mexico," as many of the communities, big or small, offer a variety of the meal.

The chef defined tamales as a "steamed dumpling" and said some cities "throw them on the grill and they crisp up the outer edges" or "fry them afterwards." Martínez feels that the Mexican dish is his main comfort food, as tamales are normally paired with corn masa or rice. He continued, "Sometimes they're super savory, sometimes they're sweet and used as a dessert." Types of tamales include tamales verdes, tamales de mole, tamales de raja, tamales dulces, and many more (per The Travel Current). Those tamales dulces are calling our name!

Martínez recently attended the New York Times Food Festival to display how he cooks mole coloradito. This is a reddish brown sauce that is featured in his cookbook, "Mi Cocina," and includes an unexpected ingredient — animal crackers. Sounds like we need to have Martínez over for dinner for some authentic mole and tamales.

Learn more about the New York Times Food Festival on its website. Check out Rick Martínez's website to keep up with his current projects.