Top 4 Mexican Foods and Where You Can Find Them in Chicago

Mexico, the neighbor of the United States, is not only famous for its landscape but is also loved for its cuisine. Mexican food has huge varieties and they have their own spices that give their food an especially unique flavor. Most Mexican food is made from corn, thus it is also called corny food. Several flavors of chilies and herbal spices are the others that make Mexican food different and mouth-watering.

The history of Mexicans in Chicago is just over 100 years. During the rise of twentieth-century, Mexicans started settling in Chicago and today there are over a million of Mexican origin residing there. Along with people, came the flavor and food of Mexico. Thus, one can find the best, authentic and tastiest Mexican food in Chicago than in any other part of the United States. These food are truly Mexican at heart.

 

Tacos

Antique Taco
Photo Credit: Antique Taco

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Mexican food is a tortilla. However, tortillas themselves are not food. Tortillas are the base of all the dishes required in most of the Mexican food thus tacos have found its place as the first dish in the list.

The traditional Mexican dish, the taco, which is made from fresh meat and vegetables along with toppings of fried onion, cabbage, and salsa, is really a treat. It serves both as the light appetizer and also as a lunch or dinner for some. Nowadays, tacos are easily available in any part of the United States, but the dedication and sincerity people put in the making of tacos here are not found anywhere else. This makes tacos in Chicago are a must have.

Here are a few prominent places that savor tacos:

  • Antique Taco in Wicker Park is synonymous to the best taco in Chicago. The tacos made here are from freshly made tortillas.
  • 5 Rabanitos in the Lower West Side makes a mean pibil taco. Roasting a whole suckling pig and rolling it in a tortilla brings a heavenly flavor to your tastebuds. 
  • L’Patron at Logan Square has grilled steak taco in their menu. In this taco, soft tenderly made steak is out in the tortilla. This is eaten with salsa, which relaxes your brain and just lets you dive into the flavor.

 

Tomato Salsa

Photo Credit: Yelp

Salsa is a very tasty sauce created at home. The tomato salsa is made from fresh tomatoes, jalapeno, serrano chilies, and onions. This is also a must-have Mexican dish. This is usually served as a side dish or as toppings to most Mexican food. Salsa is not only a portion of food, but a culture presented in a plate—always alive and fresh like tomatoes and spicy like the chilies used there.

Here are a few places where you can find amazing tomato salsa:

  • El Mariachi at W Roscoe St is best known for its tomato salsa and chips. The customers always complement its salsa as it is a tad spicy.
  • Maria’s Mexican Restaurant in W Foster Avenue is a must-visit for Mexican food lovers. Freshly made chips along with fresh salsa and a margarita will let you forget all of your tiredness and take you to a different world. Apart from eating salsa and chips, people opt for frozen strawberry margaritas whenever they visit this place.
  • Tortas Frontera has a chain of outlets all over Illinois and Chicago. Here, they make typical tomato salsa, which is delicious to the tastebuds. They make salsa from farm tomatoes and the chips are always warm.

 

Birrieria

Birrieria Zaragoza
Photo Credit: Birrieria Zaragoza

This Jalisco dish is Mexican at heart. It is a spicy stew made from mutton on most occasions and sometimes from chicken or beef. This is also called a celebratory dish as it is cooked at home when celebrations of success, birth, or marriage happen. There are two ways to enjoy this reddish dish. Some like it with tortillas and some others enjoy it as a soup. One can find a lot of stalls in Chicago where Birrieria is stewed. It is both healthy and tasty and made with pure Mexican flavor and spices.

Here are a few places where you can find the best Birrieria in Chicago:

  • Birrieria Zaragoza on Pulaski Road is often hailed as the best birrieria makers in Chicago. The chef makes the best mutton birrieria in this restaurant, putting in all the spices in just the right amount.
  • Birrieria Estilo Jalisco in Logan Square is another fine birrieria maker. Here, the goat is finely chopped and sits in a thick broth. It is well-stewed, making it ideal to eat in the winter, too.
  • Birrieria de la Torre in West Lawn make birrieria of fine flavor. It is not served in good quantity but its ingredients consist of creamy beans, bacon, and skirt steak.

 

Carnitas

Carnitas Uruapan
Photo Credit: Carnitas Uruapan

Many people think that carnitas is pulled pork. Pulled pork and carnitas are, in fact, two different foods. This special Mexican dish is crispy around edges, golden in color, and richly seasoned. Pulled pork is mushy and wet, which carnitas never are. Carnitas needs sincerity in making. They require the right amount of heat and spices. This is eaten with tortillas and salsa toppings. One can feel the taste of the pork and dedication of the person who has made it from the first bite.

Here are some important places where you get the best carnitas in the city:

  • Carnitas Uruapan in 18th Street serves one of the best carnitas in Chicago. To add to its famous carnitas, it also gives you free tacos dorados alluring more customers.
  • Don Pedro Carnitas in Carpenter Street serves delicious carnitas. They use white meat and, apart from carnitas, have eggy custard in a fried crust. These delicacies here leave you lost in the salsa. 
  • Taqueria Moran in Lyndale Street makes fine carnitas. The carnitas is made of salt, pepper, oregano, cumin, onion, garlic, lime juice, orange juice, coke, and bay leaves along with its main ingredient pork is just yummy. However, it is a little spicy, so savor it with a favorite beverage.

 

There are several Mexican foods that are available in Chicago; some places have even been serving customers since 1920. Every street and corner in Chicago smells of sweet spices, and, thanks to the richness of Mexican culture in Chicago, it is one of the most valued places for eating Mexican food in the whole United States.

 

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